In less than one week, the jolly old fellow with the white beard will be traversing the globe, hand delivering toys to all the good little girls and boys. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a full- time working mom or a part-time working mom, I think we can all agree that this guy has quite the taxing job. Traveling across the world in one evening is no small feat. I consider it a success when I make it to the grocery store and back during this time of the year; doing so in a color-coordinated outfit with a matching hat and swag and a custom-decorated vehicle is a pipe dream. Without a doubt, Santa’s accomplishments are definitely deserving of all the treats that are so generously left out for him on Christmas Eve.
But what does the big guy actually prefer to have in his cup of cheer? According to most American children, a glass of cold milk is the key to quenching Santa’s thirst. Although, if you were to ask my kids, the milk and cookies are merely a last-ditch effort to ensure they get all the toys on their lengthy wish lists. Call it a persuasion, if you will; they’re well-versed in the art of incentives, my kids. But as they set out those goodies for St. Nick, there’s a part of me that just wants to end the whole charade. “Cough, put out beer, cough,” I stop myself from saying. “Cough, what about a nip of vodka, cough,” I hold in. Who could bear to break their delighted little hearts, so convinced of Santa’s sobriety? Not I.
Personally, if I were chimney hopping my way around the world while lugging a heavy and bottomless sack of toys in and out of my sleigh, the last thing I’d want swirling around in my bowl full of jelly would be dairy. Well, I might make an exception for a little eggnog. But the truth is, I know exactly what a person stealthily shlepping toys back and forth from the store to the car to the bedroom to the tree would want to drink. I know with knife-like precision what Santa would want to find waiting for him after a long season of monitoring the behavior of little boys and girls and negotiating the competing imperatives of their wish lists (“A pony!” “A tank!” “A little sister!”) and my bank account. In fact, every parent knows exactly what Santa would want to drink, for the obvious reason. Or maybe I should say, every mom. Let’s be honest: 90 percent of the time, Santa is not Dad.
In truly contemplating this question, I realized that the Santa residing in my abode would love to find a glass of Merlot waiting on the table, smooth and supple to warm the insides. Since the children leave out their offerings before scampering off to anxiously await the sound of sleigh bells from their bedrooms, the wine would have ample time to breathe. Unlike that tall glass of milk that starts to turn funky after a couple of hours, a glass of wine will wait for you.
I propose we American moms band together and start a new tradition for the “man in red.” The children in Ireland leave out a pint of Guinness, the little lads and lasses in Britain leave a snifter of brandy. It’s proof that a tasty libation is what the proverbial Santas around the world actually want. Let’s think of it as a much-needed reward for all of that present wrapping, stocking stuffing and general craziness that ensues on Christmas Eve. Then, once the kiddies have drifted off to dreamland, the parental Santas can sink into their couches armed with a glass of wine, a frothy mug of beer or a cup of good ole nog as they zone out in front of their perfectly trimmed tree, relaxing in the calm before the storm that is Christmas Day.