Look, you’re old enough to know this now, Brian. Santa Claus is a myth we made up to trick children into being good and not complaining that I spend eighty hours a week working overtime at a law firm and missing all your soccer games. There is no Santa. No flying reindeer, no elves, no sleigh full of presents.

Still, for some reason, every Christmas morning, we wake up and our house is teeming with gifts. We don’t question it, Brian; we just assume it’s something normal and non-supernatural.

So, you see, we haven’t bought a single Christmas present for you in years, because we haven’t needed to. Each Christmas morning, we wake up to find train sets, stuffed animals, and the latest gadgets you asked for under our mysteriously blinged-out tree. But there’s absolutely no way those gifts were brought to you by a man with a white beard who flies around the globe in one night, delivering gifts he had made in his workshop on an uninhabitable ice mass. I don’t care if he left you a magic snow globe. That’s likely just a normal snow globe you got from your holiday party this year at kindergarten.

What’s that? You’re nine? Well, how am I supposed to know how old you are when I haven’t attended a single one of your birthday parties since I always have a big deadline that day? The law doesn’t take a break, Brendan, just like you seem to think Santa Claus doesn’t take a break, except Santa Claus isn’t real even though we have not purchased any of your gifts ourselves, and every year I clean reindeer poop off the front steps, and I cannot explain where it came from.

Yes, Brandon, when I was young, I believed in the myth of Santa Claus too. Eventually, though, I decided it had to be my parents buying me all those presents. But when your mother and I became parents and bought presents that first year, we went downstairs on Christmas morning, and there were a bunch of other gifts under the tree that we didn’t buy. Plus, they were much better than the gifts we had bought. So, after that, we just stopped buying you things.

Also, I asked my parents if they’d been buying our presents as a kid, and they were like, “No, weirdly, they just kind of showed up, and we decided not to worry about it too much.”

Who eats the cookies we leave out? I used to assume it was your mother, but after she died when her car careered off a cliff on Christmas Eve, I’ve no longer been able to feel the magic of Christmas. So, I don’t know who eats the cookies. Maybe mice? Regardless, just because we can’t explain how your stockings are filled with toys unavailable in any local toy store and appear to be marked by tiny tools an elf might use, that’s no reason to believe in a magical myth about a clearly fictional man.

The point is I’m very important. I have a car phone. If Santa Claus existed, I’d know. You’re very naïve for thinking that, even though every year the town is trimmed with Christmas lights at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve and the town government says the amount and quality of decorations are definitely not within their budget and they have no idea who is doing this or why it all suddenly disappears on January 1 without a trace.

Listen, as you may have noticed, I am wearing a business suit and am carrying a briefcase, and I don’t have time to talk about this or play Hot Wheels with you because I have to go to work in my tall office building downtown. Yes, I know it’s Christmas Eve tonight, but my job is very important, and I don’t expect to have a change of heart about that any time soon, even with the understanding we must release an injured reindeer into the sky tonight to save Christmas like we did last year.

I’ve talked to other parents, and they agree it’s ridiculous to believe a man in a red suit broke into their house in the middle of the night and left everybody presents. In general, we are all very busy and don’t have time to figure out what exactly is going on, but it’s definitely not Santa Claus. None of us really considered when we decided to have children, we’d have to deal with the fact that accepting child-like innocence that shatters our core beliefs about what is and isn’t essential in life takes a lot of time away from our favorite activity, which is conference calls.

So to clarify, because I’m running out of time here before the big merger goes through and I have to yell loudly into my cell phone while shushing you trying to practice your solo from the school Christmas pageant that I will almost certainly miss, it’s not Santa that’s leaving you presents, because Santa does not exist. I am wearing loafers.