Dec. 18 2013 10:55 AM

What everyone from Edward Snowden and Kathleen Sebelius to Bashar al-Assad and Nathan Fletcher want to see under the Christmas tree

Illustrations by Lindsey Voltoline

Apparently, people are just getting needier and needier every year, so Santa Claus asked CityBeat to conduct an initial vetting of the millions of letters sent to the North Pole in 2013. For our trouble, Santa has allowed us to print some of our favorites. Big thanks to my elves for their labor: Ryan Bradford, Seth Combs, Kelly Davis, Nathan Dinsdale, Nina Sachdev Hoffmann, Peter Holslin, John R. Lamb, Dave Maass, Joshua Emerson Smith and Jeff Terich.

—David Rolland

Dear Rent-a-Santa Inc.,

Regarding the allegations brought by the three Wise Men, I am humbled to admit that I need help. As someone who has spent a lifetime fighting for the rights of retail workers, I am embarrassed that I may not have fully respected the women who assisted me as the San Diego Mall Santa.

I understand that it was difficult for you to allow a convicted felon to don the beard and suit to fulfil his community-service obligation. I ask that you give me an opportunity to prove I am capable of change, so that the vision I have for the Winter Wonderland can be realized.

Bob Filner

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is asylum. All I want for Christmas is asylum I . All I want for Christmas is asylum. Allwant for Christmas is asylum. All I want for Christmas is asylum. All I wantChristmas is asylum. All I want fo for ris asylum. All I want for Christmas is asylum. All I want for Christmasasylum. All I want for C Christmas hristmas is asylum. A is ll I want for Christmas is asylum. All I want for Christmas is asylum. 

With my best regards,

Edward Snowden

Dear Santa, 

All I want for Christmas is for people to pronounce "GIF" correctly, joddamnit! Gesus Christ! Is it really that hard to understand? Think of it like the peanut-butter brand. I've jiven the Internet so much—pretty much ensured the stardom of cats—and all I jet for thanks is a mispronunciation of my creation. What a bunch of gerks!

Next on my list is a DVD copy of The Jreat Jatsby. Loved that movie! Had that actor Toby McJuire in it, who I always confuse with that other actor, Gake Jyllenhaal. And don't get me started on that bumping soundtrack by Gay Z and Ferjie. Jood jracious!

Finally, I would love a case of GIF, because I'm a huje fan of that peanut butter.

Steve Wilhite,
Creator of the GIF

From: To:
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 16:23:17 -0800 Subject: RE: Dinner?

Dude, I'm at a total loss. WHAT'S YOUR ANGLE!!?? You're freaking people out, man.

I dig that about you.


P.S. I'll bring cookies

Sent from my iPhone

----Original Message----
From: To:
Sent: Tue, Dec 10, 2013 11:51 am Subject: Dinner?

Nicholas, I just wanted to invite you to Rome for a celebratory feast I'm having on Dec. 26 for the Time "Person of the Year" finalists. It's a potluck. Right now I have Barry down for some deep dish, Miley's bringing chicken fingers, Hassan is cooking up chelo-kabab from his mom's recipe, Edith has something she's calling Righteous Rainbow Sherbet and then Bashar's got the hummus covered. Ted, Ed and Kathleen can't make it. Jeff is sending his regrets and some San Francisco chowder via "special delivery."

Can I put you down for dessert?

Humbly yours,

Papa Christmas

I would like one black light, a couple boxes of Nag Champa incense sticks, an LP of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, some Juicy Jays (grape), the Harold and Kumar trilogy and 35 large bags of Cool Ranch Doritos.

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis

Hey there, neighbor to the north, 

So in last year's letter, I asked you for an unlimited amount of crack and booze and, well, I'm thinking that might have been a bad move. I mean, I appreciate you coming through, and I know that may have led to some naughtiness on my part, but I think you'll find this year's list to be a bit more practical:

• A copy of Hockey for Dummies. My love of American football and the CFL, not to mention my behavior at games, has gotten some people angry. Need to figure out ASAP who exactly the Maple Leafs are and what the hell they're doing out on that ice (I mean, WTF is "icing"? Is that a rule?). I figure goin' to a couple hockey games will get me back in the locals' good graces, eh?

• Some coal to give all these know-nothing City Council members who are riding my ass with, "Oh, yah, hey Rob, you shouldn't smoke crack in the bathroom, eh" and "Oh, Mr. Mayor, you shouldn't tell women you want to eat their pussy in the workplace, doncha know?" Screw those guys. I do what I want!

• I figure you have some extra Santa costumes lying around. What size are you? I could use one so that people think I'm festively jolly as opposed to just fat and wasted.

That's about it. Maybe you could get Bob Filner and Anthony Weiner to start acting out so it takes a little of the spotlight off me, but I saw Filner at a strip club the other day and dude says he's trying to keep it "low key" these days. What a quitter. Anyway, I'd leave out some milk and cookies for you, but to paraphrase myself, I know you have plenty to eat at home with Mrs. Claus. LOL! Sorry, I had to go there. Plus, I ate the cookies. Had a mad case of the munchies.

Let it snow (no pun intended),
Mayor Rob Ford

Hi… Santa?

It's me, the "New Generation Republican."

Pffffffft. I'd rather chew on a cat turd than hear one more person say, "Hey, Carl, Pepsi called and they want their 1984 ad campaign back." Har, har, har.

It's time for me to bail on this place and I need your help. I'd like two Canadian passports, 20,000 pounds of German Butterball organic potato seeds, 40 acres of land in Saskatchewan and a one-year subscription to Off the Grid magazine. Do all that and there'll be a Shepard's Pie waiting for you next year.

In service, eh,
Carl DeMaio

Hi… Santa?

Hey. It's Kathleen. I'm leaving you a voicemail because, well, I've been too busy to send an actual letter because I'm spending, like, 19 hours a freaking day taking these damn HTML classes and I didn't want to send an email because, as you can probably guess, the Internet has totally been fucking with me for, God, it's been months. Literally, months. And it's just so… ergh… right?

Sorry. Listen to me, rambling. Anyway. I really, really need a pair of ruby slippers. Don't ask. Just go with me on this one.

Thanks. Please. Thanks. OK.

It's Kathleen. Sebelius.

Give my best to Mary. OK? Bye. There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place… [click]

Dear Rent-a-Santa Inc., 

I take very seriously the allegations made against me regarding the "Santa Squeeze" and the "Santa Sleigh Ride." I am committed to ensuring a full, complete and independent investigation into any complaint against me, which I'm sure will vindicate me. I will not sacrifice the Christmas cheer that San Diego's boys and girls deserve by bowing to the slander from eight anonymous reindeer.

Bob Filner

An open letter to Santa Claus, re: Christmas

I grew up worshipping you and your enormous sack of toys and your refusal to sign up to our bullshit Western standards of beauty. You let that big bowl of jelly swing freely and kept that white beard flowing, even after the Grizzly Adams trend was long out of fashion. You brought me my first Victrola and my Weimar Republic playset, and though I don't have any proof it was you, I'd like to thank you for making the ukulele popular again—I just KNEW somebody out there would want to hear me play Radiohead songs on a comically tiny Hawaiian guitar.

But I think it's TIME I spoke up about the "Naughty / Nice" list you've been keeping. I mean, I GET it—I make lists, too. Like the list of important and meaningful topics I spoke about at my TED Talk. Or the list of volunteer musicians I sent thank-you emails to after my last tour. But who are we to JUDGE what's naughty or nice? It's so stifling and patriarchal (I know you're "Father Christmas," though "SinterKlaas" just sounds so much cooler, doncha think?).

Look, I'm no stranger to controversy— I've been called naughty (that Dzokhar Tsarnaev poem didn't go over well, did it?), and it's a bummer. Don't be a TROLL, Santa. Children need to be FREE from this sanctimony and allowed to EXPRESS themselves without fear of PUNISHMENT.

We're all beautiful, IMPERFECT little creatures. Even those disgruntled elves of yours who don't realize the joy of making toys just to create.

With immense respect,
Amanda Palmer

PS: I'm running out of people to write open letters to, so any help on that would be great. That next Kickstarter isn't going to generate its own publicity.

PPS: Also, maybe bring something stuffy and English for Neil.

Hello Santa,

Wow, it's been a hectic year! Parts of Damascus are in ruins, the rebels aren't giving up and now I'm losing all of my precious chemical weapons because the U.N. decided to get all up in my biznatch. Eugh. International relations are such BS. Can you please fulfill this order for assorted compounds and equipment? I need them for—er, cleaning purposes.

• 5,000 gallons methylphosphonyl difluoride

• 5,000 gallons isopropyl alcohol (99.9- percent molecular-biology-grade, preferably)

• 5,000 gallons O-ethyl S-[2-(diisopropyl amino)ethyl] methylphosphonothioate

• 5,000 gallons Bis(2-chloroethyl) sulfide

• 500-gallon stainless steel mixing tank 

• Two Dupont-brand Tychem industrial garments

• 1 iPad Mini (for the wife!) Please deposit the materials via armored sleigh at the following address: Underground Bunker 2A, 34°55'5"N 38°42'34"E, Homs Governorate. Sergeant Youssef will wave you in.

Thank you, and Merry Christmas!
Bashar al-Assad
President, Syrian Arab Republic

Heya neighbor

Me again. I was just hopin' you could send that Martin Bashir guy a copy of the Ice-T movie Surviving the Game and just attach a cute little notecard with it that says "Run."

Sarah Palin

Hey Santa, 

Can you get me a whole bunch of bumper stickers and lawn signs? I'm thinking 10,000 each of "Fletcher: The Progressive Choice 2014," "Fletch Lives! Socialism

in San Diego 2015," "Nate, Like, Totally Gets It—OB Neighborhood Association 2016" and "Born Again: Fletcher Puts the ‘Fun' in Fundamentalism 2020."

Nathan Fletcher

Dear Santa,

What I want for Christmas is for you to think about your job. Hear me out.

I want you to think really hard about what you do. Making toys and delivering them to the Christian children of the world is no doubt a demanding task. I respect your hard work. But think about all that plastic. Think about the war and horror fought over the petroleum bubbling up cancerous out of the ground that's exploited to make the latest action figure. Then imagine some young child, completely unaware of the blood and treasure spilled and spent, the young lives ripped apart by machine guns and roadside bombs. Think about that young boy or girl playing with the toxic fruit of our capitalism. See the plastic figures now quickly discarded for next month's fad, helping to clog our landfills and choke our dolphins. I don't want to get you down. But think about it. If you ever want to leave your old life behind, call me. We'll do some transcendental meditation.

David Lynch

Mr. Claus, 

I want a solid gold chain with a matching diamond pendant that says "Like a Boss." You know, sometimes you gotta treat yourself.

Jerry Brown

Dear Rent-a-Santa Inc., 

Following the resignation of Rudolph, Bob Filner has temporarily appointed the Singing Fleece sheep from the San Diego County Taxpayers Association to assist with day-to-day management of Santa's Factory. Filner has entered an in-patient treatment facility, where he will receive daily updates on the naughty and nice lists.

Interim Communications Elf Office of the San Diego Mall Santa

Santa, Your Holiness, Sir, 

First off, let me apologize again for suggesting that the North Pole would be better off outsourcing your "Village" enterprise to private hands. Had I known you were nonunion and overseer of Santa's Shipyard Repair (who knew you had a harbor?)—well, let's just say, like some of my old PR clients, forgive and forget, right ol' Nickster? *wink* Now, I need your help. Could you put in a good word to your boss, Papa Doug Manchester, because I'm neck-deep in a mayor's race here, and I could use some serious coinage for negative ads and Spanish lessons. OK, mostly negative ads. Oh, and a respirator in case we schedule a debate in Barrio Logan. Cough cough, if you get my drift! Haha…

Staying positive,
Kevin Faulconer

Old Man, 

Got your memo, re: the request from Mr. Faulconer, or, as I like to call him, Mr. Not Papa's First Choice. Been a bit busy these days planning a wedding here. Reminds me—I need two of your reindeer (preferably Dancer and Vixen) for a few hours to serve as "ring bearers." Oh, and your costume— the fiancée insists on it for some reason.

Anyway, tell Mr. Not that, yes, the honey will soon arrive in the hive.Make it happen or I'll split your village in two and eliminate the cookies-and-milk tax you rely on. Capeesh? OK, gotta go. The little blue pill is kickin' in and the sauna's steamy.

Get on it,
Papa Doug Manchester

Oh Great White One, 

Received the check for Faulconer, although I'd thought I'd made it clear this was to be delivered via Santa-gram to state party offices in Sacramento. Now those California Republican Party snoots won't know about my exemplary fundraising skills (by knowing one multimillionaire). Thanks a lot, you arrogant, self-centered prick who sees himself as God's gift to Christmas!

Sorry to get prickly (love that word!), but it's not easy skippering a sinking ship, even if I do get free cigars out of the deal. BTW, was that book you sent me last year, The Power of Charm, a joke or something? This year, just give me the damn Hooters gift card, will ya?

Growing impatient,
San Diego Republican Party Chairman Tony Krvaric


No requests. Just wanted you to know that you're going to need an umbrella when we hit up Vegas in March because I'm totally gonna make it rain, son! You know how we do it, Fed-style. LOL.


Dear Santa,

Oh. My. God. Did you see that? Wasn't that awesome?! The look on Obama's face during that Syria chemical-weapons speech was priceless. Oh, no! A humanitarian crisis of historic proportions, and nobody in America wants to go to war again! What am I to do?!?!?! Don't worry, Pussy-Face, I'll get you out of this mess. I'll broker a deal with Syria to get rid of their chemical weapons, sure. And I'll look like a hero and get major brownie points with the international community doing it, too. Ha ha, fucker.

Santa, I just want one thing this Christmas, and that's to see Obama get caught up in another diplomatic crisis, ideally one that requires the help of good ol' Uncle Vladimir. That was just so much fun—it'll make my year to do it all over again. Maybe China can crush a Tibetan uprising? Or arms-control violations will surface in Kazakhstan? Ooh, ooh, how about some good old-fashioned nuclear testing!

Oh man, that would be so sweet. But you make the call, Santa. Surprise me.

Vladimir Putin
Russian President, Man of Action, Cool Guy 

Dear Santa,

Please disregard my last letter asking for a new name. I really could just use some new parents.

The son of God (at least my dad likes to call me that),
North West

Dear Santa,

I would love a solid, high-speed Internet connection. A recent discovery has led me to believe that this 56K modem just won't cut it. I mean, I'm not a beginner to surfin' the 'net by any means (I've been known to use the Electronic Bay every now and then). Plus, I've found myself with a lot of free time lately.

I was at the café, reading the classifieds, when I saw a person watching a movie on his handheld tablet. I asked where the DVD went and he told me about "streaming" movies.

"But where do I return it? And what are the late fees? How do I get a membership card to ‘streaming'?" 

After interrogating a few more patrons, I realized that the key to streaming is a high-speed Internet connection. So I want that, and then maybe some food. Oh, also a bed that's not made from discarded Bringing Down the House DVDs.

Sean "Be Kind Rewind" O'Shaunnaghssy
Blockbuster employee

Um Santa,

OK, clearly a few things are off the wish list for the coming year. No speakership (fine!). No Mayor / Governor / President Nathan Fletcher (your loss, world!). No slam-dunk opponent for my Stanford Cardinal in the Rose Bowl (what's a Spar tan?). But, hey, it's all good. I have this state Assembly gig. Great family. No more Filner (ick!). Warming up to David Alvarez and reconnecting with my old union pals. What else do I need? Well, I did see this pair of fabulous pumps…

Fashionably yours,
Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez

St. Nick,

So, hey, I don't think I ever wrote you a "Thank you" note to express my gratitude for your help on annulling that deal with Satan I made back in the '90s. I mean, sure, I never had another hit after "Achy Breaky Heart," but I made so much money off that one awful song that I was able to get my daughter some singing lessons (the voice coach said there was only so much that could be done) and I was able to pay off the right people to get her on a Disney show.

Thing is, though, uh—things have gotten a little out of hand. My evil wife cheated on me and took what was left of my money, and since my daughter turned 18, she just points at her crotch, sticks out her tongue and says, "Suck it, dad" whenever I ask for some emergency cash to make the mortgage payment on my mansions. What an ungrateful little brat! All the hand jobs I had to give at Disney just for them to finance her first album and this is how she treats me? She says all her money is tied up in her twerkfriendly fashion line at Walmart, but how much could that really cost? I fear she may have a drug problem, but I got my own issues.

Anyway, I was hoping that maybe you could help reinstate that deal with Beelzebub. I think the time is perfect for a comeback album. I have some great songs in mind: "My Heart Still Aches," "Please Don't Tell My Heart (Again)" or just "Achy Breaky Heart, Part 2." Plus, my hair-plug doctor says the pubes they used to regrow the hair on my head should support growth so I can regrow my mullet. I'll show that ungrateful, blunt-smoking, nobutt-having daughter who's boss again. I'M THE ORIGINAL CYRUS, MAN! That little pixie skank better recognize!

Your pal,
Billy Ray

Hey Santa,

Check out my attachment.


Carlos Danger

Dear Rent-a-Santa Inc.,

I hereby tender my resignation as mall Santa. There are well-organized interests who have run the Christmas racket for 2,000 years. They pointed the gun, and the grinches and humbugs pulled the trigger. Sometimes, my jolliness and hubris led to lap behavior some found offensive, but not one allegation has ever been proven in court. I have never sexually Christmassed anyone.

Bob Filner


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