The last Christmas that I believed in Santa, I wrote him a lengthy letter in crayon explaining how all I wanted for Christmas was a baby reindeer. This seemed like a terribly practical gift request to me, because surely with nine reindeer he must have at least one baby reindeer to spare; he’d probably even be happy for me to take one off his hands, and so I elaborated on how I would be such a good baby reindeer mama, feeding it carrots or candy canes or whatever baby reindeer ate, and training my collie to be nice and play with it. It didn’t even matter to me if it was Rudolph’s baby or not, it could be Blitzen’s for all I cared, because I was not some sort of reindeer famewhore; I just had some love to share, you know?
I presented this list to my mother, and asked her to mail it to Santa for me. She read it, and her eyebrows went up and she made sort of a funny sound, and then lightly suggested that maybe I should ask for something else, you know, just in addition to the baby reindeer, since that was the only thing on my list, and what if Santa couldn’t deliver a baby reindeer? I assured her that if there was anyone in the whole world that had access to baby reindeer as gifts, it would be Santa, and besides, I had been very good that year, so I wasn’t really sweating it.
Then my mother tried to play the sympathy card, because what if the baby reindeer didn’t want to leave their mommies? What if it made their reindeer mommies sad to lose their babies, like Dumbo’s mom? This was really a sneaky tactic, especially since she knew how I felt about Dumbo and his mother, and so she persuaded me to add a footnote to my letter, hurriedly, in black Bic pen: “P.S. Or a Cabbage Patch Kid.”
I’m sure you can guess what was under the tree Christmas morning, and while I can’t say I didn’t adore the Cabbage Patch Kid, I was no longer starry-eyed about Mr. Easy Way Out Claus.