It's hard to find a pine tree in Southeast Asia, so we make due.

It’s hard to find a pine tree in Southeast Asia, so we use the materials available.

Dannie Elizabeth

Dear Kris,

If we’re not yet on a first name basis, please let me know…I can’t afford to be put on the naughty list.

Things you could pack on the sleigh for me, twitch your nose at, and make magically appear or Amazon Prime to my doorstep (I’m not sure how you run this operation anymore):

1. It’d be great to wake up to a new computer under the tree or at least a check in the amount of a new MacBook Pro in my stocking…Typing on this kindle is less than stellar in fact it’s already taken 20 minutes to type this.

2.  Now I know you’re a cookie guy, but after 27,568,532 houses I’m sure it gets a bit old. Plus, I’m no baker.  So instead I offer a trade. I’ll leave you some coffee and Bailey’s with a nice roti and in turn, you can pick me up a burger from Five Guys and a fribble from Friendly’s.  Rice just ain’t cutting it anymore.

In all honesty that’s all I need. My days of long lists and highlighted Toys ‘R’ Us magazines are over.  I just want to watch Netflix on my computer and eat a good burger. Damnit, can you add Netflix to the list? Or at least put them on the naughty list for not creating a global outreach business model.

Yours truly,


PS I wouldn’t object to a burrito if Five Guys is out of your way


Haley Barbarini

Dear Santa,

It’s been awhile since I last wrote you.  A girl can only take so much, you know?  I repeatedly asked you to wake me up for a midnight sleigh ride in my childhood letters.  I even swore that I wouldn’t tell anyone.  Apparently I wasn’t worthy of such an honor.  Even after all those cookies.  I was even considerate enough to leave carrots out for all the reindeer.  In order to compensate for you crushing my childhood dreams please send the following items to me:

  1. Water proof bubble suit:  Rainy season blows.  I already get stared at everywhere I go so I give zero fudgecicles what it looks like.  I have precious electronics to tote around and being damp all day is not ideal.
  2. A vat of Tiger Balm:  This mentholated sap of the Gods is the only thing that keeps me sane.  I’ll be needing a shit ton of this (unless you can eradicate all the mosquitoes from Thailand.  If so, then just do that instead.)
  3. Wine
  4. Coffee
  5. An Italian man (and let him pick the wine and the coffee while you’re at it. Grazie.)
  6. And last but not least, a timeturner and a roundtrip plane ticket home:  So I can spend the holidays with my loved ones and still get paid.

I will expect these things no later than December 25th.  Also, I no longer desire to be woken up and taken on a sleigh ride.  In the case that Tim Allen is actually Santa Clause, please disregard my previous statement.



Catty Tucker

Dear Santa,

For Chrismakwanzika, I would really enjoy having some direction in my life.  As my time ends in Thailand, many people ask the obligatory question, “So, what’s next?”  I reply with that I’m going home and will be heading back to Portland, OR, which is more direction than a lot of people I know, but what then?  What to do? What to do?

Should I stay in Portland?  Should I try out Australia for a bit?  I’m almost 30 (in a year and a half, eek!) so that boat is sailing fast.  Should I hunker down and start a “real life?”  Or, should I apply to Hogwarts and become a wizard?  These are all questions I have asked myself.

So Santa, would you do me a favor and figure it out for me?  Perhaps wrap the answer up in glittering Christmas wrapping paper with a big ole bow on top?  That would be just fantastic.

And while you’re at it, I’ll take some chocolate cake that doesn’t make you gain weight and you can eat all you’d like.

Best wishes,



Shannon Noni Selis

Dear Jewish Santa (or is it Hannukkah Harry?),

If there was one thing I could bring with me everywhere while I travel, it would be a Mary Poppins carpet bag. I don’t mean the old fashioned kind that smells like cats. I mean the actual Mary Poppins bag. That way I could fit anything I wanted into it (including my favorite paintings, clothing, boots, and food) without it weighing me down. I could literally fly anywhere with it. Come to think of it, Hannukkah Santa Harry Claus, can I get that sweet Mary Poppins umbrella too? The talking bird thing at the end would be amazing. And… it would be a cost efficient way to travel. Thank you for your consideration. Oh, and please leave some nasty disease-ridden coal for that punk who drove by jerking off on a scooter.




Gary Barbour

Heya Santa,

First, let’s negotiate the meaning of naughty and nice. It’s not that I’ve done anything, like, actually bad, but I’ve jaywalked a lot since I moved. If I lived in Singapore, I’d get caned a lot. So, let’s call a naughty moratorium and get to the list.

Could you find it in your big gift sack to bring snow? I don’t need a lot. Just a couple inches to get a day off work and to play a little bit. I saw pictures of the pyramids covered in icy cocaine, so I know you can do the same for Southeast Asia.

And a new coat because it’s been two years since I bought one. I’ve been having withdrawal symptoms whenever I go to the mall and see all the expensive Burberry coats. That’ll be great for when you make it snow.

Thanks, Fat Man!

Enjoy Christmas, wherever you might be celebrating!

Enjoy Christmas, wherever you might be celebrating!


Sonya Dubinina

Dear Santa,

Please grant me the ability to have fun and not feel the repercussions.

I should like to be able to imbibe vast quantities of coffee, beer, wine, and/or hard liquor and not feel any pain afterwards. I know there are people with this magical ability out there, and I need their secret power.

Secondly, please give me Buddha’s zen. Without having to search for it my whole life. The topic of roads chosen and ones not taken is just so tired.  The searching and scurrying for inner peace – can I just have it all the time? May I never experience another existential void, amen!

Zen, pokemon and wine. The next great world novel.

Zen, pokemon and wine. The next great world novel.

But really, Santa, I just want a handful of soul mates to surround me. Just a few fun-loving, witty, easy-going, clever, and warm souls surrounding me at all times. That’s not a terrible lot to ask, is it? Can I never stare into another abyss as long as I, one, shall live? Can I never reach out and be met with but a clammy handshake? Or better yet, just take all of the pokémons I’ve already collected, and plant them here – in the same city with me. In the same time and space continuum.

Oh, and please make my student loan debt magically disappear. I’ve got better things to do with my time and money!


One of your nicest.

PS: I’m sorry I don’t have a chimney, I’ll leave the balcony door open. Help yourself to the wine!


Jenny Burdin

Dear Saint Nicholas,

(Or former Bishop of Turkey if you’re from the Netherlands)

I know you’re usually pretty big on the whole materialistic thing. Unfortunately, I just got back from a particularly fruitful and shopping-productive trip to Seattle, so I can’t say there’s any one THING I desire. I even got a Star Trek car emblem magnet shaped simultaneously like the Enterprise and also a Darwin fish. I mean come on. My cup runneth over.

But if we’re sitting having a nice little fireside chat about what you could bring me, as long as we’re on the topic…

There is one thing you could do for me.

See, I love to travel. I love to feel the difference in atmosphere when I step off a plane. I love to walk really slowly down roads shaped in ways alien to my eye. I love that nervous excitement right before you put something mysterious and potentially delicious/disgusting/alive/poisonous into your mouth. I love the helpless laughter of getting drenched head to toe in a completely unexpected cloud burst of aggressive rain. I love seeing everyday colors and shapes in unexpected ways, familiar turned awesome and breathtaking.

I also love sitting on my bum with my cats.

gratuitous cat picture

gratuitous cat picture

At first I don't want to move. Then the cat farts, and I want to travel. Travel into the other room.

At first I don’t want to move. Then the cat farts, and I want to travel. Travel into the other room.

St. Nick, if you could just help me figure out how to get off my bum, pack up my cats, and leave behind my mediocre job for new and exciting lands, I would appreciate it. Look at all these other amazing people. They did it. Could you spare a little extra get-up-and-go gumption, or bravery, for me this Christmas?





4 thoughts on “Dear Santa, From All of Us

  1. Dear loveable, brave little traveling ex-pats, on this christmas eve from nyc, know that as much as you miss your families and homes on this holiday that we miss you just as much. But, what fabulous adventures you will all carry into your futire to share with future generations of whoever you are. Merry chrismahanikwanzica to you all, you wonderful people. Manhattan is all abuzz this evening with good wishes and holiday nods to all. Best wishes for a happy, healthy and safe new year wherever this finds you.

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