Featured Column
Week of 12.6.2004
A letter to Santa Claus
Dear Santa,

           Although I am no longer a little kid I like to believe in the spirit of Christmas – you know, be nice to everyone, wear clean underwear, respect your parents and say thank you when you get a Christmas gift – whether you like the gift or not.
          After spending a lifetime of Christmas mornings opening gifts I’ve come to certain conclusions about gifts that I like and those I definitely don’t like.
          For so many years, as a child and a grown man, I’ve opened gifts, some of which I’ve enjoyed and thrilled at and others that left me with a dull-witted grin on my face, uttering a phony “Oh, thank you so much, just what I’ve been hoping for – a ceramic mug, shaped like a pineapple, with my name on it.!”
           I’m going to tell you something, Santa. Something that only one other person in the world knows. Santa, you have to promise me that you won’t tell anyone about this, not Mrs. Claus or any of your little elf helpers.
          Okay, here goes - I have a big closet in my house that holds dozens of gifts I’ve received over the years - gifts that I won’t use or don’t like. I’ve stacked this closet with gifts that have been given to me and go, almost immediately, into this now jammed closet. Every time there’s a birthday, anniversary, bar mitzvah or Christmas I check out my “Re-Gift Closet” and search for a gift I can give to someone else. Yes, Santa, I’m a “Re-Gifter.”
          So, Santa, from now on when you come to my house and slide down my chimney (by the way, Santa, how do you keep your jolly red suit so clean after you shimmy down those filthy, dirty chimneys? ) please don’t drop off any gifts that will wind up in the “Re-Gift Closet.” Give it some serious thought before you leave me another stadium blanket with Snoopy’s picture on it. Don’t even think about leaving me another Santa’s head candle holder (how would you like a candle holder that looks like my head?).
          You know, Santa, I appreciate a nice gift, really I do. Someone had to leave their comfortable home, fight for a parking space in the mall and whip out their credit card to pay for an aroma therapy kit, a fuzzy vibrating pillow or a cd of Neil Diamond’s Greatest Hits. I appreciate the effort and the thought, but my “Re-Gift” closet can’t hold any more presents.
          Maybe it would make your job a little easier if I listed some things I don’t want or need for Christmas. If, on your Christmas eve rounds, you spot any of these items with my address on them please keep them in your big gift bag and donate them to a worthy charity. Make someone else happy.
          Please don’t bring me any massage shower heads, cans of Almond Roca, packages of ten kinds of hot cocoa mix, boxes of eighteen different flavored crackers, fuzzy slippers, aroma pens with ink that smells like patchouli, reindeer antler candle holders, any fondue bowls, hand painted cookie jars that look like you, any candles, any bar ware sets, a copy of the South Beach Diet book, a ginger bread house filled with cookies, a leather covered journal, a nut cracker shaped like a little toy soldier and anything with assembly instructions of more than one page. Also, Santa, please don’t bring me anything that was baked or cooked more than six months ago, especially if it has dried fruit in it.
          As we get closer to Christmas day I would appreciate you alerting your helper elves to immediately take my name off of any gifts marked “fruit cake.” Same with any brass paper weights shaped like anvils or hockey pucks. Tell your favorite elf to keep for himself any after shave lotion that smells like the ocean.
          I don’t want anything made with the name SpongeBob SquarePants on it (by the way, what the heck has gotten into our kids!).
          I don’t want beef sticks or the new 6- foot sausage sticks. Give Mrs. Claus any boxes for me of “Howlin’ Hot Gourmet Hot Sauces.” Don’t deliver any “Mary Kate & Ashley or Dale Earnhardt Calendars.
          And Santa, while we’re at it, would you do me one more favor. Check any Christmas cards with my address on them and if they have those little, tiny doo-dads inside, you know, the ones that fall all over the floor when you pull out the card, please
return them to sender – marked “addressee unknown.”
          Well, Santa, that’s it. There’s probably more stuff, but I can’t think of them right now. I have to look into my “Re-Gift Closet” and do my Christmas shopping.

Yours truly,

Little Ronnie
      Ron was born in the Bronx, New York. He was raised in Southern California and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for three decades. He attended Inglewood High School and U.C.L.A.. His youthful goal was to become a major league baseball player. In Hawaii Ron played on a series of championship softball teams. He is an active tennis player.
      Ron’s career began at the Inglewood Daily News where as a youngster was enrolled in a publisher training program. He served as an advertising salesman, circulation manager, writer and layout and design staffer. He has been a newspaper publisher at the Oregon City Oregon Enterprise Courier, the Beloit Wisconsin Daily News, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Daily Journal and This Week Magazines (Hawaii).
      Ron lives with his wife, Marilyn, in San Diego, California. His two children, Douglas and Diane also live in the San Diego area. Ron’s interests range far and wide and are reflected in his columns diverse topics.
Ron Cruger