Santa’s Troubles – The Source of His ‘Wonderful’ Economics
It had taken a lot of years for Santa to be … well Santa.
His parents named him and raised him. And called his name in glee and in sadness, in terror and pride. So he grew up thinking that Santa meant many things. But ultimately he became his own Santa. Complete with a good and bad Santa on his shoulders that guided his actions.
Because of the way his parents raised him, he thought authority was a good thing. Some kind of good and gentle force, that meant the best for him. That would help him if he was ever in need.
So when it was time for him to be his own man, this is who went forth.
Santa first went to the govt. And said, ‘I am Santa! I want a dollar from you and a place to do my work.’ The govt laughed and said ‘And who is Santa!’ Santa walked away in sadness.
Santa next went to the bank. And said, ‘I am Santa! I want a dollar from you and a place to do my work.’ The bank laughed and said ‘And who is Santa!’ Santa walked away in sadness.
Santa then went to the church. And said, ‘I am Santa! I want a dollar from you and a place to do my work.’ The church laughed and said ‘And who is Santa!’ Santa walked away in sadness.
Lastly Santa went to the union. And said, ‘I am Santa! I want a dollar from you and a place to do my work.’ The union laughed and said ‘And who is Santa!’ Santa walked away in sadness.
Saddened by all this rejection, Santa went into the woods and sat by the river. Throwing stones into the river, he kept muttering, ‘but I am Santa!’ to himself.
At first it was a whisper outside his own head, then the voice got louder, and there was no confusion or doubt any longer. So Santa looked around for this person or people who kept saying, ‘Yes, you are Santa!’ And he found a group of misfit elves. Then another group of uniformed elves. And a last group of elves that wore ties and tam hats.
Santa asked why they were dressed as they were. The misfits said they’d never been taught anything in school or in church and no one cared about them.
The uniformed elves said they had always done grunt work and no one cared for them. They had just been taught to follow orders.
The elves in tie and hat said they had been to the best of guilds and were brothers and sisters in practice and community. Only they cared about each other.
Santa asked them what they were doing in the woods. All of the elves said they had needs that were really very simple. Food, shelter, clothes and a purpose so they wanted to get out of bed everyday.
Santa said, ‘I have no money and no place, but I do have purpose! Maybe together we can come up with the rest.’
The woods were unclaimed, so the elves went to work clearing the land and building some huts and a work shed. They gathered the fruits and nuts and any loose twigs. They dug out any stumps that were not yet rotten. And Santa asked them to make toys and candy after they had eaten their fill and covered their bodies with leaves and spider webs.
The elves were happy to do this, since it meant they had a purpose. And they were free to come and go as they felt.
Soon the work shed was full and they started building storage sheds.
Santa found orphanages and poor houses where there were children in desperate need and left toys and candy behind for the children to share. When he told the elves about the children, they stopped working and went hunting for fruit and nuts to put in the children’s stockings so they’d have something to eat as well.
Soon the children and the elves were thriving.
Everything was going well, and Santa was starting to hear his name bandied about in the towns near the orphanages and work houses. He said, ‘Yes I am Santa! Now people besides my parents know my name.’
The govt, the bank, the union and the church came to their little camp and looked around. Asking for their share of the thriving industry. Santa said, ” I have no money. Not even the dollar I first asked you for. I’d have to borrow from you to pay you.’ Seeing that he had property, they each gave him a dollar.
The bank asked him what the toys were worth, and Santa said, ‘That pile over there take one elf with no training five minutes to make. This pile take two trained elves a day to make. It may be an elf doing these things, but I think their time is worth something.’
The bank laughed and said, ‘No we’re talking about the materials. What are they worth?’ Santa said, ‘We found them in the woods, so they were free.’ In that case the bank said they were worth nothing. Not even the smiles on the faces of the children. Not even Santa’s name. ‘Who was Santa?’
The poor elves and Santa were heart-broken over this assessment.
The govt assessed the land and the buildings and told Santa they were worth something and told him there were taxes owing, since it was in their state. And took back the dollar they had given.
The union counted the elves’ heads and told Santa that he needed to protect them. They outlined their needs for safety and respite, for insurance and pride, And took back the dollar they had given Santa. They gave the elves a dime of that dollar and wandered off, never to be heard from again.
And the church said, ‘Santa you must protect their souls! Tithe to us and we shall pray for them!’ And they took back the dollar they had given him. And went off to buy candles. Never to be heard from again.
Each year the bank and the govt came and gave Santa a dollar, only to take it back again.
And Santa and the elves kept making toys and candy and gathering nuts and fruit for the children at the orphanages and work houses. Their fame spreading around the world.
All that Santa and the elves ever saw of money was the day the bank and govt came and gave and took that dollar.
But they were happy and content. They had all their needs met, including a higher purpose and a community like no other. Maybe that is the true magic behind their reputation?
All that had changed for Santa’s soul was a knowledge that authority wasn’t always a good thing. Sometimes they practiced usury and offered nothing of value. He could live with that one day of the year.