For four decades I’ve been submitting an annual catalog of book-titles for your consideration. (And okay—some other, less-noble-sounding stuff as well. Thank you, by the way, for that Pink & Pretty Barbie in 1981: a fantastic exhibition on your part of compassionate acquiescence in the face of a petitioner’s truly horrendous personal taste.)
As the bookshelves will attest, you have been very good to me over the years, and I’ve always tried to do my best by you in return. I hope, for example, that you enjoyed the peanuts and beer I used to put out for you. It was Daddy who pointed out that you might be tired of milk and cookies (though I also hope you don’t mind the substitution of coffee once Daddy & I both got Sober). And I’m pretty confident (based on the hoofprints in the snow that Mommy pointed out to us one Christmas morning) that Rudolph & Co. enjoyed the carrots we put out, even if the water-bowl froze over and was kind of a bust.
Well, Santa, I know you haven’t had to do a whole lot of adapting over the centuries—so I thought I’d better give you a heads-up, before you gear up and hit the
road sky next week, that the world got wonky this year, and there are some new rules.
Note #1: Face Mask
Before you leave your lovely, safe, isolated and quarantined North Pole (are you SURE you want to venture out this year??) you will need a face mask. Perhaps for any accompanying elves as well—I don’t believe the science has thus far addressed this species-specific question, but as presumable primates they should probably play it safe.
If you’re not wild about the aesthetic of a surgical mask with your uniform, I recommend hitting up my mom and her sewing machine. (I mailed her a box of my husband’s used-and-abused KOA tshirts, and she sent a return packet of enough uniform-matching masks for our whole KOA staff! Comfy ones, too.)
Note #2: Social Distancing
Mask or no, it’s 2020 protocol to keep a distance of six feet between yourself and any person not from your own household. (Or your own “Bubble,” which is a Thing now. A Bubble being the circle of people with whom you have agreed to interact, on the understanding that none of you are interacting with any other people outside the Bubble. Not sure a “Bubble” is a practical proposal in your case, though.)
So this year when Cindy Lou Who creeps down the stairs, you’ll need to maintain an appropriate Social Distance while in her living room.
(Good luck with that, by the way. I personally recommend traveling with a six-foot stick. Makes it easy to assess the distance, and doubles as a prod if you need to fend someone off from your personal space. Maybe, St. Nick, it’s a good time to resurrect that old shepherd’s staff you used to carry in earlier iterations…)
Note #3: Zoom Conference
I’m assuming by now you’ve got the North Pole wired, and possibly an IT department among your elves, and I’m sure the little guys will be happy to help you with this next one. See, pretty much all the things we used to do For Real, out in the world, we now do while sitting at our computers and using Zoom. (Yup, that’s a Thing too. Lots of new terminology this year.)
There are definitely some pluses to this, like having a much richer array of A.A. options online than what used to be available in this small (one-Meeting-a-day) town. Or “attending” my sister’s Seattle-area church from my couch in Oregon. Or chatting face-to-face (sorta) with my mom, my godparents, my sister and her kiddos… In the absence of in-person contacts, I’m grateful for Zoom.
But Santa, I MISS HUGS. I miss hugs before church, I miss hugs after A.A. meetings, and I so badly want to squeeze my little niece Marian when she opines, using my mother’s and my family nicknames: “I miss Grandy and Aunt Sam!” I will admit to some amount of cumulative “Zoom Fatigue” (that, too, is a Thing now—as evidenced by its examination in venues such as Psychiatric Times) but it’s a tool to tide us over, and I’m sure your elf-staff can handle rescheduling your usual Mall Appearances to Zoom.
Note #4: Local Laws
Boy oh boy, do I hope you have a legal department, because the world is currently a crazy-quilt of different restrictions and regulations. From nation to nation, state to state, county to county, even sometimes town to town, there are different laws in place to clock and comply with. It’s tough enough for the travelers passing through our RV park, scouting ahead to see what’s open and what’s required and what’s forbidden, and they’re only crossing a couple jurisdictional boundaries a day.
I can at least make it easy for you here: Dining In is prohibited in our county, but I’ll have your snacks ready in a take-out bag!
And just a thought: you might want to consider using people’s porches instead of their chimneys this year… because if you come down with COVID, the Contract Tracing will be a bitch!