Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus, Even on Mars

DATE:    December 14, 2073, 7:38 PM (Mars Local Time)

TO:         Governor Aeneas Santini

FROM:  Virginia Hoefer

SUBJECT:             Santa

Dear Mr. Governor,

My friend Kara back on Earth told me that Santa won’t visit me because I live on Mars. Is that true? My mom and dad won’t tell me. Considering it’s so far from Earth and I don’t have a chimney, I don’t think he’s coming.

Thanks,

Ginny

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DATE:    December 15, 2073, 11:18 AM (Mars Local Time)

TO:         Virginia Hoefer

FROM:  Governor Aeneas Santini

SUBJECT:             RE: Santa

My dear Ginny,

Of course Santa will visit you on Mars. As I’m sure your friend Kara would agree, Santa can do anything. But let me tell you a few secrets that only I as the military governor of the first human colony on Mars know, and I’ll trust you to keep this between us.

Before the Earth Space Agency agreed to send me and your parents here ten years ago, I had a special meeting with Mr. Claus in Houston, Texas. Turns out, Santa really loves his barbecue. (I hope you get to try BBQ someday, seeing as how you can’t get it here on Mars yet.) Anyway, even though there were no kids coming with us on our trip from Earth, we all knew that eventually kids would arrive on Mars. I wanted to make absolutely sure, by talking to the man himself, that he would be able to bring presents to those kids. I’ll be honest, I had the exact same concerns you did. How could Santa possibly deliver presents to all the boys and girls on Earth as well as on Mars? It just didn’t seem possible, even for him.

Santa laughed that “HO HO HO” we all know and love when I told him this. He clasped my shoulder and said with his soft, deep voice, “Oh, my dear fellow, I’ve always been ready to visit kids on Mars. There just haven’t been any kids there yet, so I haven’t needed to go. I trust you and your team will have kids at some point, and when you do you tell them I’ll be there.”

Ginny, as you know you were the first child ever born on Mars, or any other planet other than Earth. Santa knew the minute you were born and started putting his plans in motion. You already know this since you’ve found presents under your holotree every year since you were born. But, it sounds like your friend has made you question that it was Santa who did that. Maybe she even suggested that your parents put the presents there.

But I know you, Ginny, and I’m sure you’re thinking, “But Governor, reindeer can’t fly through space or on Mars. How could Santa get to Mars and leave those presents for me?”

I wondered that same thing myself, so I asked him. He just laughed again, his belly shaking like a bowl full of barbeque sauce, and then the winked and left!  It turns out that Santa has a technology that we don’t.

Let me tell you what happened.  Your first Christmas on Mars, as you were sleeping, the security alarm went off in your quarters, and your parents and I ran to see just what was the matter. And there he was! Standing right in front of your holotree, giving you the thermoblanket that you still have today. He smiled, winked, and put a finger to his mouth to shush us. When he was finished, he pulled me into the hall and showed me how he did it.

Santa can make wormholes! Can you believe it? I couldn’t myself, so I told him. “Santa, there’s no way you can make wormholes!”

Well, he laughed again and touched a button on his coat. With a pop, just like the sound bubblegum bubbles make, he vanished! A second later he reappeared, right in front of me, holding a bag of olive tree seeds. Well, as you probably know I’m originally from Sicily, and he told me that he’d just come from there and gathered the seeds from my family’s farm. That’s where the olive trees that are growing in our hydroponics bay came from. It was my Christmas present from Santa that year.

Santa put his arm around me and told me something I’ll never forget, something I’ve never told anyone until now. He smiled at me and said, “Governor Santini, as long as there are good children in the universe, there will be a Santa Claus ready to bring them presents. Make sure Ginny and all the other children of Earth remember this, whatever planet they live on.” And with another deep laugh, he touched his button and popped away.

Every year of your nine years here on Mars, Santa has visited you and left you a present. I know most years it wasn’t exactly what you wanted, but just remember that lots of kids back on Earth (maybe even your friend) don’t always get what they ask for too. What’s important is that you continue to be the good, inquisitive, exceptional girl that you are. Santa knows if you’ve been bad or good, as the old song says, and it’s true even here, millions of miles from the North Pole of Earth.

Who knows, maybe a hundred years from now, when there are more kids on Mars, Santa will setup a new workshop on the Martian North Pole. If so I know you and your fellow scientists will go and visit him and make him and his elves feel welcome on our planet. Remember, he likes milk and cookies. I’m sure we’ll have figured out by then how to get him real milk.

I hope this answers your question. Merry Christmas, Virginia!

Sincerely,

Aeneas

P.S. I also asked Santa why he didn’t just use wormholes to visit kids on Earth. He told me there’s just something really amazing about flying a team of reindeer around the world in one night. I bet he’s right.