“Dear Mister General Rossum,
Today at school Vick Turner told me that Santa Claus isn’t real. I told him that he is real, but he said my mom and dad are the ones who put presents under the tree and just say they’re from Santa. I know you wouldn’t lie, so I’ll ask you: is Santa Claus real?
There comes a point in every child’s life where they start to question what they’ve thought was true since they could think. Some of the realizations that come during that time can be heartbreaking, which is why I’m thrilled to be able to say that yes, Santa Claus exists.
But I’m afraid Vick is also right. Santa doesn’t place the presents under your tree. Your parents do. But just because he doesn’t give you presents doesn’t mean he isn’t real. You can see Santa’s handiwork in the joy on every face come this special time of year. You can see it in the giving of money to charity, in the giving of food and clothes to those less fortunate.
You also can see Santa chained to the waterheater in my basement. I don’t care if they’re putting candy in my stocking or turning my tighty whities to gold, no one breaks into Brady S. Rossum’s house in the dead of night. Way back in the day I put a bear trap in the fireplace, and would you know it, in the morning I had caught myself a big old fat man. I’ve kept him down there for years, trying to get all his secrets out of him. I also kept the reindeer for breeding purposes. Hopefully in a few years we’ll know their full military potential.
So remember Suzy, if you know where to look, you can always see Santa. Where to look just happens to be through my basement window. Merry Christmas.
“Dear General Rossum,
Every year our family gets the biggest tree we can find and spends the entire day decorating it. My children love it almost as much as Christmas morning. However, last month, a tree branch fell through our roof, and we don’t have a lot of extra spending money this year. I don’t want to disappoint my kids, but I don’t know what else to do.
Penniless in Poughkeepsie”
Your first problem is buying a tree from a lot. You think you can get a big one there? Walk through a park; those trees are huge. All it takes is a little ingenuity and a good chainsaw and you can have as jolly a holiday as ever.
It also sounds like you don’t even need to go looking for a sizeable tree; one fell right through your roof. Sure, it might not be the traditional fir tree, but it is obviously a mighty tree, one worthy of an American. And if you decorate it, it’s like humiliating your enemy. Imagine taking a burglar, putting him in your living room, and hanging baubles all over him for a month before dragging him to the curb to go to the city dump. Sure he got your money, but it hardly seems like he won in the end, right?
“Dear General Rossum” is a fictional weekly advice column written by Peter Williams.
Send your emails for General Rossum to firstname.lastname@example.org