Ask Aunt Chelsea, Dec. 18, 2013


Dear Readers:
I’ve been drafted to edit Santa’s “Naughty” list. Hopefully, I won’t end up on it for running these (slightly updated) letters from 2012. We’ll make a brand new start of it in the next issue. Until then, you can reach me at askauntchelsea@chelseanow.com. Toodles!

Dear Aunt Chelsea,
What is your take on this whole Santa thing with kids? At what age should they stop receiving presents from Santa? Personally, I grew up knowing there was no Santa.
Real Deal

Dear Deal:
Your letter doesn’t indicate how old you are, but clearly you’ve got some growing up to do. Why else would you question the very existence of a beloved holiday icon who brings joy to the little ones you’d have us disappoint come Christmas morning?

In one cynical swoop, you’ve robbed kids of presents and taken away the most precious gift of all: belief in the one and only Santa Claus. So, Deal, here’s my take on this “whole Santa thing.” He’s as real as I am, he’s been cc’d on this letter and he’s all set to put your name on his “Naughty” list through the good graces of a big red indelible marker (a gift from me).

Whew! Sorry if I went a little overboard with the tough love. I just hope yours isn’t another joke letter from those merry pranksters at Penn South — in which case, ignore everything I just said and have a wonderful holiday season (while Aunt Chelsea washes the egg, sans nog, off her face)!

Dear Aunt Chelsea,
I’m confused with this notion that regifting is a no-no. If so, what am I gonna do with all those fruitcakes and sausage platters?
Gifted in Chelsea

Dear Gifted:
Being a woman of a certain age, I bristle every time I hear the word “regifting.” In the frank and honest days of old, we called that “pawning off.” There’s nothing kind, or clever, about taking another person’s gesture of friendship and dumping it on an unsuspecting soul. That said, I won’t waste any further time shaming you — as Aunt Chelsea’s inside info (courtesy of a certain crimson-schnozzed reindeer) assures her that each and every act of 2013 regifting earns the thrifty giver a place on Santa’s 2014 “Naughty” list. Think about that, Gifted.

To make the coveted “Nice” list, round up all the presents you were lucky to get but feel are beneath you, donate them to charity and take their cash value as a deductible. Better yet, do what my good friends Adam and Karen used to do when they hosted their legendary New Year’s Eve parties: Instruct every guest to bring a gift they don’t want, and place it beneath the tree. Then, find one in the pile that’s to your liking and walk away with it. This is “regifting” in its most pure and noble form — because one person’s unwanted fruitcake is another’s tasty treasure.