Warning! Before you let your children send a letter to Santa Claus, you might want to protect yourself by prefacing his, her, or its letter with a Legal Disclaimer:
I wish I could claim credit for authoring the following disclaimer but I must give credit where it is due. It was written a couple years ago as a satirical piece for People's Weekly Brief by Mike Baker.
Mike served for more than 15 years as a covert field operations officer for the Central Intelligence Agency, specializing in counterterrorism, counternarcotics and counterinsurgency operations around the globe. Since leaving government service, he has been a principal in building and running several companies in the private intelligence, security and risk management sector, including most recently Prescience LLC, a global intelligence and strategy firm. He appears frequently in the media as an expert on such issues. Baker is also a partner in Classified Trash, a film and television production company. Baker serves as a script consultant and technical adviser within the entertainment industry, lending his expertise to such programs as the BBC's popular spy series "Spooks" as well as major motion pictures. In addition, Baker is a writer for a BBC drama to begin production in July 2007.
So here is Mike's suggested LEGAL DISCLAIMER:
The following letter to you in no way should imply that I believe in a mystical rotund man with a white beard who transports toys around the globe in one evening with the assistance of a team of flying reindeer.
Furthermore, the fact that I just referred to you as rotund should in no way imply that your weight is an issue. Everyone is unique and special, regardless of size. You could be thin for all I care. You might seem a bit less jolly, but never mind.
In reading the first paragraph of the legal disclaimer, it occurs to me that the reference to a white beard should be highlighted as merely a historical characteristic and is not indicative of any tendency toward ageism or in fact any prejudice toward hair color or indeed one’s preference to grow hair on one’s face.
The toys mentioned in the aforementioned paragraph one above may or may not have been manufactured in China, and I am not responsible for any stress, medical issues, or replacement costs in the event that you failed to properly test for lead content in said toys prior to transportation and delivery. It is important to note that the team of flying reindeer reportedly used by you are not harmed during the course of the one-night toy delivery operation. None of the reindeer employed by your corporation have been involved in animal testing, stunt work, or Pentagon-sponsored research and development.
The fact that I referred to you as “a man” in paragraph one of the disclaimer in no way diminishes the role of Mrs. (or Ms.) Claus in the overall enterprise. I certainly acknowledge the role of the woman in the development, maintenance, and performance of your work year in and year out. Should the two of you, at some point, decide to part ways, I wholeheartedly encourage her efforts to claim at least half of your property, assets, and future income.
In addition, the following letter is not to be interpreted as an endorsement of Santa, nor as a commercial or marketing vehicle from which you, your spouse, employees, service providers, subcontractors, or reindeer should in turn benefit financially. I maintain no financial interest in the corporate entity reportedly owned entirely by you. It is noted that there is a lack of transparency in the ownership structure and I cannot, at this time, confirm or deny the possibility of Russian shareholders.
It is not my intention to suggest that you are or are not magical, mystical, other-worldly, or bestowed with mojo, superpowers, or capabilities that make you any more special than I or any other shlump. As a public service, I remind all readers that, according to life as we know it, everyone’s special. Nobody’s average and there are certainly no losers. Even when we lose, we’re still special winners (Repeat daily and induce vomiting).
Finally, my reference to you in no way implies linkage to the holiday commonly referred to as Christmas. In the event a reader is offended by the reference to Christmas, Santa, Mrs. (or Ms.) Claus, toy delivery, reindeer, fir trees, ornaments, yule logs, Yul Brynner, chestnuts roasting by an open fire, glad tidings, or any other symbolic reference, I take no responsibility for said reader’s subsequent stress, anxiety, or inability to function normally.
Likewise, there are no indications that God endorses you, nor in fact created you in man’s image although you look a lot like Burl Ives. Nor am I suggesting that you are created in God's image. I don’t know what God looks like.
Disclaimer about the Disclaimer (or Secondary Disclaimer):
The previous paragraph is in no way an endorsement for any particular religious belief. In the event the reader is offended by the reference to God, please be assured I will probably suffer, if not in this life, then certainly the next. However, that does not imply a belief in Heaven or Hell, although it would seem wise to play the odds and be good for goodness sake.
With no malice of forethought, expectations of financial reward (toy or otherwise), and without any preexisting notions of what does or does not constitute the holiday season, the following letter makes no claim on Santa's future responsibilities or obligations. I exempt Santa from any future wishes and holds him, or possibly her, blameless in the event my child doesn't receive what he, she, or it would like this year or any other year in the future.