Characters of Christmas
● By Style
Illustration by Aaron Roseli. © Style Media Group
I was going to turn this column over to a guest for December, to someone who really knows a thing or two about Christmas.
My first choice was Blitzen, the alpha reindeer of Santa’s team. “Wait,” I hear you say. “Isn’t the leader of Santa’s team Rudolph?” No.
Yes, Rudolph is more high profile – the glamour boy, the face of the brand – but Blitzen’s the guy who gets it done. Rudolph? Surrounded by handlers: image managers, PR reps and assorted “people.” Each is like another level on a video game you have to beat before advancing to the next level, except if you make it all the way, you don’t get to unlock the Treasures of the Kingdom (or whatever happens at the end of a video game); instead, you get a smarmy, “We’ll get back to you...” and you know that unless you’re Conan, Dave or one of the Jimmys, you will not be gotten back to.
Blitzen’s no nonsense. He’s still listed in the North Pole phone book; he even answered himself when I called, but spoke reluctantly, “Who cares what I think about Christmas? Santa’s already busting my jingle bells to get the team ready by November.” This apparently is when they begin test flights. And, a little wearily Blitzen said, “Why don’t you call Rudolph?”
I pressed on, telling him Rudolph was out and that I wanted someone with a little more meat on their bones. Suddenly, he let out a throaty cackle. “Hope it’s not venison!” I knew he was in. A week later, his manuscript appeared in my inbox. Sadly, it was unusable. See, I’d overlooked one thing:
It’s tough to type on a keyboard when you have hooves instead of hands. Here were the first few sentences:
ladjajsdofijoeilwey95pjwe. Lp;aknvkn.dvap’wqeqa;rh. Lkao 34h\jad’/0.
Listen, Blitzen is a super nice gu…er…reindeer. I sincerely appreciated his efforts, but I couldn’t use his submission. Since Style isn’t available at the North Pole (yet), let’s just keep this between us, okay?
Next, I offered the column to Mrs. Claus, but she and Santa are empty nesters (their only son, Marvin, attends graduate school at Arizona State with plans to become a climatologist). So, with the Big Guy nearly always preoccupied by the Big Day, she’s parlayed her spare time into becoming something of an entrepreneur, managing a pint-sized party entertainer named Elve-is and developing a marketing strategy for her upcoming line of Mrs. Claus’ North Pole-ish Sausages (venison-free I hope).
I was left with one final option: the Little Drummer Boy. He’s all grown up now, drumming for a rock band called SkidmarXX. I reached him on tour in Belgium – which along with county fairs is where all bands end up touring when they run out of hits. Unlike many celebrities who gained famed as kids, he says he’s proud of his past. As he put it, “Hey man, I’ve been lucky enough to rock ‘n’ roll around the world. I’ve gotten tats with Keith Richards, went sunglasses shopping with Bono, wrecked a Maserati with Sammy Hagar. But I tell you what, playing that night, for that little baby...?
That will always be my biggest performance.” When I asked him why, he said simply: “He’s the King, man. Even though he was just this little bitty baby, you could tell, the dude had it goin’ on. Still does. Make sure everybody remembers that.” And with that, LDB (which is what he goes by now) had to go. The band was set to take the stage at the annual Brussels’ Brautwurst and Brewfest. “I hear they’re serving up Mrs. Claus’ new dogs,” he said. “Can’t wait to try ‘em. I sure hope they ain’t venison!”