Santa is kind of like FedEx

Thing 2 (who’s 7 now) is having doubts and asked me the other day whether Santa Claus is real.

I asked him what he thought, and he said he wasn’t sure but that he didn’t see any way that one man on one sleigh could deliver all those toys to every kid on the planet in just one night.

I said that’s not how it works.

I explained that Santa used to deliver all those toys personally. back in the old days, when the population was a lot smaller, but that he uses a lot of helpers these days.

Santa is kind of like FedEx, I said. One truck couldn’t possibly deliver all those packages to all those homes and businesses in all those countries in one 24-hour period, I said, but a fleet of trucks and planes certainly could.

I said Santa runs the operation. He’s like the CEO. The toys are made by the toy companies, not elves. These days, the elves run the warehouse and oversee distribution.

The toys are delivered first to Santa’s headquarters at the North Pole and then, on Christmas Eve, they’re flown on big cargo planes from the central warehouse to regional distribution centers all over the world and then to local distribution centers, where the toys are placed on trucks and driven to people’s homes.

That’s a lot easier and a lot more efficient than trying to pile all those toys on just one sleigh, I said. The delivery truck drivers drink the milk and cookies and send any leftovers to the North Pole, where Santa shares them with the elves.

Thing 2 thought about it for a moment or two. “I don’t get it,” he said.

That’s OK, I said.

In this 1927 photo, Santa Claus (left) receives his pilot’s license from William P. MacCracken (seated) and Clarence M. Young of the U.S. Department of Commerce. PHOTO: Library of Congress

Thanksgiving: The best sweet potato casserole recipe on the planet

Before you head out this weekend to get what you need for Thanksgiving dinner, I wanted you to see this. It’s from Maura, who used to blog at 36×37.

Maura gave herself 365 days to do 36 things she’d never done, all before her 37th birthday. No. 1 was start a blog. Once she’d accomplished Nos. 35 and 36 — planting a tree and death by chocolate — she retired. I wish she hadn’t, because she’s a good writer, and I miss reading her.

I was honored to serve as a guest blogger for Maura once, and she’s agreed to return the favor by letting me reprint her post about lucking into the best sweet potato casserole recipe on the planet

Seriously, you have to try this.


For the past four or so years, I’ve served the absolute best sweet potato casserole at holiday gatherings. It’s not an heirloom recipe like all the others in my rotation. And I didn’t cull it from the pages of a glossy gourmet cookbook. Instead, I kind of lucked into it in a way that almost makes me feel guilty (but not guilty enough to stop using it).

GB and I were enjoying our first evening out sans baby. To celebrate the occasion, we made reservations at a famous, rather upscale local restaurant. We’d visited this particular place once before for our annual Christmas dinner with GB’s boss. I wanted to go back because I remembered the potatoes.

Dear God, the potatoes.

Baked, buttery orange goodness topped with a thick pecan crust. Served so hot the server warned me to not touch the plate. As delectable and candy coated as pecan pie itself.

Not to get all Man Vs. Food on you, but oh my goodness, oh my goodness.

Our server was a young guy. He was very serious, and when people are too serious, I get nervous. I really just wanted him to loosen up, so I struck up a conversation.

“These sweet potatoes, I swear. They’re like candy. I would absolutely kill for this recipe.”

“I’m glad you enjoyed them,” he said gravely, then added, “I’ll see what I can do.”

As he marched back toward the kitchen, I looked at GB. “Did he just say he’d see what he could do?”

“I wonder what that means,” GB answered.

Five minutes later, the server returned with his grim face and a small slip of paper in his hand.


Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Mixture:

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
½ cup sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs (well beaten)
1 stick of butter

Crust Mixture:

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 stick of butter, melted


  1. Combine crust mixture in mixing bowl, then set aside.
  2. Combine sweet potato mixture into a mixing bowl in the order listed. Combine thoroughly.
  3. Pour mixture into buttered baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle the surface of the sweet potato mixture evenly with the crust mixture.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.


“Here you go, Miss,” he said. “The recipe you wanted.”

I stumbled through my shock enough to manage a quick, “Oh! Thanks!” I wanted to add, “Is there a charge for this? This isn’t like the Neiman-Marcus chocolate chip cookie recipe story is it?” But really, I didn’t want to be gauche.

We’ve been back to this restaurant every December since then. And we’re going back next weekend. It makes me wonder what would happen if I publicly doted on the garlic herb cheese-stuffed chicken breast…or the lyonnaise…or the crème brulee…

Staying apart, to prevent the snowman apocalypse

Starbucks says, “When we’re together snowmen come to life.”

Because of this, we can never be together.

Because if we’re together, even for a moment, snowmen would come to life.

Snowmen coming to life would not be wondrous. It would be terrifying. It would be like the zombie apocalypse, only colder and worse, because if snowmen can come to life, there’s no reason they couldn’t use their mittened stick arms to create more snowmen — a magical army of icy golems that would lumber down the streets of town. Thumpety-thump-thump. Thumpety-thump-thump.

We can write. We can call. We can Skype. But we can never be together.

It’s better this way.