Pole position

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

North Pole

December 25, 2008, late afternoon

Dear G.A.,

Please do not write any more letters asking why I hate you. Of course I've noticed, as your many postings inquire, that you always mail your Christmas lists out extremely early and they always arrive with "very specific" requests.

And I'm also fully aware that you still don't get everything you ask for. Why? Well, going back to your repeated pleas, between the ages of five and nine, for "a live Bengal tiger who will only bite people I want him to" through your persistent begging starting at age 14 and still continuing for a "mauve Maserati that responds to my vocal commands," too many of your elaborate demands have been astonishingly unrealistic.

Besides, given your consistently poor position on the naughty and nice scale, you might consider yourself lucky to get any gifts at all other than an old lump of coal. Still, rest assured, Santa loves you.

But with your latest outrageous and extravagant list, Santa finally had to put his boot down and write back. Do you realize, G.A., that the global economy is currently colder than a reindeer's nose? In fact, a couple of months ago, poor Santa had to lay off some of his oldest and most trusted elves, and - unlike some people I won't mention now - they'rehardworking and have families to support.

All this is Santa's way of saying that maybe next year you'll consider writing out a much more reasonable gift list - one that won't set you up for such disappointment. Or leave you -once again - passed out under the Xmas tree on Xmas Eve next to another half-composed nasty letter to Santa, an empty cookie dish (shame on you!) and a broken punch bowl emptied of all its eggnog (shamefully over-spiked-by-you).

Here are a few hints for next year's hopefully less ridiculous list. In the meantime, start working on that naughty and nice thing.



1. Of course having dinner at the great Taillevent in Paris is stupendous. But it costs a fortune, and besides, you've done it. So why not more often take advantage of the terrific French restaurant in Columbus - especially since the Refectory offers beautiful little three-course bistro meals for a stunningly cheap $24 (Monday thru Thursday in the lounge)? Now that's a doable gift! (therefectoryrestaurant.com)

2. Santa does not offer a "Santaland free dinner card" that permits you - or anyone - to eat anywhere they want without paying. But the Prestige Card is the next best thing. It entitles members to score two-for-one entrees at over 100 local restaurants - including G. Michaels, Sage, the Worthington Inn, Sedeo Caf and Handke's Cuisine. Users will easily recoup their $60 cost after only a few meals. (prestigediningclub.com)

3. Santa is not going to restock your liquor bar (shame again!) with all those fancy alcohols you drink. So maybe next year you'll wise up and ask for cheaper but still perfectly fine adult beverages - like Gordon's gin ($14 -it was good enough for James Bond and Kingsley Amis) and Salignac Cognac ($20 a bottle for the real thing).

4. It should be obvious now that Santa can't grant all your absurd requests for food tourism trips. But a visit to your wonderful North Market can get you delicious tastes of New York (Barry's Deli), Chicago (Pam's Popcorn), Amish Country (North Market Poultry and Game), the fiery Southwest (CaJohn's) plus a whole world of luscious cheeses (Curds & Whey) and truly world-class chocolates (Pure Imagination) and ice creams (Jeni's). (northmarket.com)