Rejection Letters From Santa
colorful correspondence between area folks and the big, bearded guy
Dear Santa Claus,
I was cleaning out the junk drawer, and guess what I found? All the gift cards I still haven’t used from this spring, when we all bought a ton to support local businesses! Can you bring me a gift card organizer? I need three categories.
Places I’m pretty sure will reopen, right? Right?!? (Lakely, Pablo)
Places I still have hope for, even though I shouldn’t (Mega Foods, Shopko)
Places that I might as well hang onto, because you just never know (Chicken Unlimited, Mike’s Smokehouse)
Area Woman Trying to Clean a Few Things Up
You should see the closet on the toy production floor. It’s a flippin’ disaster: short-circuited model trains, reindeer bridles, extra laughter circuits from the Tickle Me Elmo year, and heaven knows what else. Point being, I have no business participating in anyone’s organizational projects.
Since it sounds like you’ve got the start of a pretty nice collection, I’ll drop off the gift certificates I have from The Pied Piper, Baker’s Dozen, and Cassidy’s Super Market. You can make a whole display.
Dear St. Nick,
This is a little awkward. I’m still pretty leery about getting too close to people, so I haven’t been to the dentist, eye doctor, chiropractor, massage therapist, hair stylist, waxer, nail technician, or physical therapist in months. If I chill next to my tree on Christmas eve with a mask on, can you handle all of my body care needs?
Hairy and Sore in Eau Claire
Dear Mr. Sore,
The last time I tried to wax anything was when Blitzen’s eyebrows got unruly. Let’s just say it didn’t go well. Blitzen’s still picking wax out of his fur, and his eyebrows look like he stuck his hoof in a light socket.
Dozens of local businesses have found ways to operate safely, following mask and distancing guidelines. And if that doesn’t work, I’ve got an old razor you can borrow.
Nice try, but we’ve got one word for you: yawn. We want BIGGER. A LOT BIGGER.
Please try harder,
Locals Who Aren’t All That Impressed with the Size of the River Prairie American Flag
You realize that almost a third of the entire elf population went naked this past year so we had enough fabric to make that flag, right? Have you ever watched an elf shiver as he tries to apply decals to the side of remote-control car? It’s pathetic, and the stickers are a total mess.
Best I can do is a Wisconsin flag of comparable size, made out of the pants no one wants for Christmas anymore because so many people are still working from home.
Word on the street is you’re redeeming gift certificates from long-closed businesses? I’ve got a whole shoe box full of free drink tokens from the Camaraderie, Tijuana Taxi Co., Caddy Shack, The Oar House, Chester’s, Fisher’s White House, the House of Rock, Wally’s Chalet, Stafne’s, Sweetwaters …
Long-Time Eau Claire Drinker
Dear Long-Time Eau Claire Drinker,
We get it. You’ve been to ALL the bars. And who told you that I’m in the antique gift certificate business? Social media? Mrs. Claus keeps trying to get me on Instagram, but my “bowl full of jelly” body type isn’t real selfie-friendly.
Anyway, your guess is as good as mine on the tokens. Maybe take a Sharpie, write “Olsen’s” on half of them, “Ramone’s” on the other half, and see who gives you some free ice cream?
Dear Holiday Elf,
2020 was our year. Everyone had to stay home, so we received TONS of additional care. People took more walks, which led to extra attention. Then the election rolled around, and the whole city went NUTS with the yard signs!
Let’s face it Santa – we can’t return to a life spent outside the limelight. We need something to keep us at the forefront. Any ideas?
Chippewa Valley Lawns
I too have experienced the icy grip of fame. One minute you’re sitting there, waiting for the next mowing, maybe fighting off some creeping charlie, and the next minute you’re shelling out for a top-of-the-line in-ground sprinkler system and a three-story tall inflatable light-up snowman just so people will notice.
How about this: We’ll come up with something else people can get mad about and fight over. What about “Snow Sucks!” versus “Snow is Awesome!” Or maybe, “Cheese curds are good with ranch!” versus “Cheese curds are good with ketchup!” People could get new signs, make displays, trash the other side’s signs. What do you say to that?
I’ve tried to be good this year. I was nice to my sister, I did all my chores, and I only want one thing. I want someone to explain to me why people who’ve lived in the Chippewa Valley for a long time get such a big kick out of talking about businesses that have closed. Can you help me, Santa?
Timmy, Who Has No Idea What “The Oar House” or “Stafne’s” Are
It’s an interesting phenomenon. Maybe as people get older, the increasing pace of change makes them yearn for the familiar places of their pasts? Or maybe, now that every other “new” business in town is another Kwik Trip, locals miss the variety of unique, locally owned places that used to fill the city?
Have no fear, Timmy. Someday you’ll be able to reminisce about what has come and gone. Like the mighty Chippewa River, Eau Claire is always evolving. The only constant is change.
Sleep well, little Timmy. And it’s never a bad idea to spend gift certificates pretty quickly after you get them.