This article originally appeared in the War on Christmas Issue.


This is a cry for help. Please let this madness end. I am only a man. An old, old man who has a small workshop in the North Pole. I made gifts for a few children in local Scandinavian towns and now things have gotten deeply out of hand. I receive letter after letter and I do not want to let anyone down, but please, a man can only take so much.

I cannot make any of the things that you want. I can only make basic wooden toys. Sleds, whistles, simple dollhouses—these I can make for you from the plentiful wood around my home. But you want none of these. Instead you wish for so very many Legos and iPhones and Nintendo 3DSs and Bratz. My god, the nightmares I have had about your beloved Bratz.

You must understand that these are all mass-produced, high-tech, branded products. I cannot make them. I must purchase them online and distribute them at a massive personal cost. Even with Amazon Prime this is not cost effective. I am in enormous legal, financial, and personal jeopardy. Doctors say I have six months to live, or at least that is what I imagine they would say if I could afford healthcare.

I have no natural income at all. I have taken out incredible loans to purchase the oil from OPEC necessary to fuel my deliveries. You might have thought my sleigh runs on “Christmas Spirit,” but crude petroleum burns longer and is easier to find on the black market. In order to pay for fuel, I have become the kingpin of a massive criminal empire. I have sold so many drugs and murdered so many law enforcement agents so that I may get you your precious Webkinz.

There are no elves. The elves are a lie. There is only me, Mrs. Claus, and a single toy-making dwarf we keep on as an unpaid intern. I am a husk of a man who is begging you to cease this endless torture. I am so tired. I beg of you, wake me from this endless nightmare.


—A. Chase