Santa’s Excellent Return Policy

Santa and little girl

Photo: Jacob Windham (Wikimedia | CC Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Last month, Julia helped Anna put together her Christmas list. They looked through toy store ads to find the things she wanted, cut out the pictures, and glue-sticked them on a sheet of paper. She had four pictures on her list: a toddler Tiana doll, a set of fairies, an electronic toy dog named Cookie, and a new Curious George video. Underneath the pictures, Julia typed out some other gift ideas:

I like princesses.
I like fairies.
I like Pumba from the Lion King.
Surprise me!

A couple of weeks before Christmas, we visited Santa at our local mall. She walked right up and handed him her list—very business like. They chatted about what she wanted and she reassured Santa that she had been a good girl this year—for the most part. Then one of the elves scanned Anna’s list so she could keep her original for posterity.

On Christmas Eve, we set out a few cookies in a small container, an empty glass, and a note directing Santa to the milk and a couple of carrots (for the reindeer) in the refrigerator. When Anna awoke Christmas morning, the cookies and carrots were gone, the glass had the tiniest drop of milk left in it, and a “thank you” from Santa was written on the back of our note. A large stack of presents sat in front of our tree wrapped in Santa paper.

Anna got everything she wanted: the four gifts on her list plus a flying Tinkerbell, a set of Princess lip glosses, and a talking, burping, and farting Pumba. There was one problem: Cookie didn’t work.

Would Christmas be ruined? No, because Santa Claus has an excellent return policy.

Julia went online and found Santa’s website. There she entered Anna’s name and got a receipt for her gifts. She took the receipt to our local Toys-R-Us along with our malfunctioning Cookie. Unfortunately, they were out of Cookies—she was very popular this year—but they tracked one down at their Salem store.

They offered to ship the new Cookie to us, but since Julia and Anna were taking a mommy and daughter trip to the Northwest Kids Club the next day, Julia decided she’d pick it up at the store. So she took our malfunctioning Cookie with her and exchanged it.

And if you’re wondering what Santa does with returned toys, he has a Elf Repair Shop set up on the former Island of Misfit Toys. You see, the elves don’t make all the toys like they used to. Demand is way too high, and since kids ask for toys that are already in stores, the elves spend most of their time on a special computer network that connects Santa’s workshop with toy manufacturers around the world. A lot has changed since we were kids, and while the process is more efficient, the workmanship isn’t what it used to be. You’ll also be happy to know that the elves are union and—thanks to Hermey—they have an excellent dental plan.

Unlike the Oompa Loompas. They’re non-union and work long hours at minimum wage with no overtime pay. That Wonka was always a cold-hearted jerk.

Anyway . . .

Would you believe the Cookie in Salem didn’t work either? Bad wiring—it only worked in demo mode. The elves tracked down another one, and—to be sure there weren’t any more problems—personally checked it and then delivered it to our door.

I was quite surprised when it arrived. I can’t say for sure that the delivery guy was an elf. He was average height, but had pointed ears.

Maybe he didn’t eat his green vegetables.

So when Anna returned yesterday following an overnight stay with Julia and a trip to the Portland Children’s Museum, she found Cookie waiting for her in her room.

Great work, Santa!

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