Ho, ho, ho, Lagniappe readers! Santa here. I know you don’t really like hearing from me until the last leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwich has been gobbled up and the Iron Bowl has been decided, but I’ve heard a lot of grumbling about me in Mobile of late, so I just wanted to check in you with crazy people.

It seems Mobile’s Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Winter Solstice/Boxing Day and Holiday Parade has been canceled this year, as has the North Pole Stroll. Obviously, these were events the elves and I were prominently featured in and “my people” were told by “your people” there were not enough corporate sponsors willing to pony up the money for these events this year.

Don’t worry, my feelings aren’t hurt; there will still be plenty of places to find me in your area this holiday season. I’m always HUGE at the malls and for some strange reason, stores where you can find fishing lures and deer urine. Wait a second, now I get it. Rudolph is always the one who books that gig. Poor buddy doesn’t even get what that tee-tee is used for. Ha, ha, ha. Let’s just say his nose is about the brightest thing about him.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know it’s all going to be OK, and all of you nice folks will still have a wonderful holiday in the Port City. In fact, “your people” say it’s going to be the best holiday season ever, promising a whole December full of events. I guess y’all will have to be the judge of that.

But I do hope the NAUGHTY corporate grinches who withdrew their parade and stroll sponsorships will consider donating that money to some of our arts, civic and/or charitable organizations this year. That would be real, real NICE! Remember Santa is watching.

In addition to this news, I also received a few wish lists from your local leaders, and I wanted to share those with you. I have some handy tips for them so they may one day find their “gifts” under their “trees,” so to speak.

The first letter I received was from your mayor, Sandy Stimpson, who just marked his first year in office. His first wish was for Mobile to be “the safest, most business- and family-friendly city in America by 2020.” Good thing he gave the elves and me a few extra years on that tall order. But ambition is always NICE.

He then asked for a guillotine for Bienville Square to use on violators of the litter ordinance. I kid, I kid, but he does seem serious about this litter problem and that’s NICE. But dear mayor, please don’t let the enforcement officers be too NAUGHTY. Remember you should be targeting the disgusting pigs who throw trash out of their cars and derelict property owners, not people who roll their garbage carts out a little too early. Just make sure those guys are using good judgment, as you want the citizenry to stay behind this enforcement effort.

Prancer is with you though. He wants us to stop putting coal in all of the bad boy and girl stockings. Vixen suggested we go to all switches. Typical Vixen. Talk about NAUGHTY!

The second letter I received was from Commissioner Connie Hudson. She has big dreams of a soccer complex, but it comes with an equally big price tag. Again, Santa thinks ambition is always NICE and goodness knows all the soccer moms, dads and players around here have been asking for improved facilities in Mobile for a long, long time.

This is absolutely a discussion worth having. But I think some people are just worried it will not pay for itself and become another entity the city and/or county has to support. And they also look around and see all the existing roads and parks that definitely could really use more than just a little TLC and wonder if those shouldn’t be taken care of first. Also, absolutely a discussion worth having.

I’m sure there is a solution somewhere in the middle. And perhaps a referendum is the best way to go on this, so the people can truly be heard. You know I always like hearing what the people want.

But you guys on the commission can be NICE about it. Things have gotten a bit nasty and it’s hard to have a productive conversation when things devolve like they have. Vixen already has switches with your NAUGHTY names on it. Better straighten up and work together on this. I know that would probably require a Christmas miracle, but hey, that’s my business!

The final letter I received was from Councilman Fred Richardson. Seriously, Fred?

No, I cannot destroy the Times Square Crystal Ball, Atlanta Peach, Key West Ruby Slipper or Spencer, the stuffed possum dropped in Tallapoosa, Ga. The MoonPie Drop will have to become the “largest drop in the word” on its own.
NAUGHTY, NAUGHTY, NAUGHTY!

Vixen, you better grab some more switches.