Coffee or tea, Santa?

What's in his cup?
What's in his cup?

Thanksgiving is over so I can officially say Merry Christmas! As I do annually, I spent Black Friday lugging my decorations out of the attic and transforming my house from a tidy, mature domain into a childlike wonderland overrun with yuletide tchotchkes and d├ęcor. Among the trimmings was the mug my brother and I left out for Santa Claus when we were children, always full to the brim with milk. As I carefully unwrapped this treasured family heirloom, it hit me: it's a mug. Let me repeat that: it's a mug. Mugs should contain hot beverages, not cold, so milk was not the intended contents! Wow, talk about missing the boat on that one. No wonder I never got that pony and Thomas never got that official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot Range Model air rifle! We missed Santa's cue and left him cold instead warm refreshments. D'oh.

I immediately began to consider how to correct my mistake this year. Which hot beverage would be most appropriate for old Saint Nick? What to offer, what to offer... Hot apple cider is nice, but considering all Santa has to accomplish on Christmas Eve, sugary beverages and holiday cheer will only get him so far. Hot cocoa was right out, as milk is a soporific, not a stimulant. There's no denying it: Santa needs caffeine. Tea or coffee would be best, then. But is Kris Kringle a tea or coffee drinker?

Let's consider this. I bet he is a tea drinker. When I think of a tea drinker, I think of someone who is pensive, calm, organized, and intuitive. That sounds like Santa, don't you think? He's definitely someone who has his ducks (or reindeer) in a row. I can see him sipping tea from dawn to dusk as he carefully mulls over options, accomplishes impossible feats, thaws from the cold North Pole, and finally unwinds. No-one drinks coffee to warm up or decompress! And don't forget that Santa subsists on a steady diet of confections, and I don't know about you but I think tea pairs with cookies and cakes better than coffee does. There are so many Christmasy tea choices to choose from, too, like mint teas, chai teas, and holiday-inspired flavored teas like cinnamon or gingerbread. While I can see him drinking those, I bet his favorite is Earl Grey. The powerful but pleasant (not to mention masculine) smell of bergamot in the air and on his clothes, warming the room as well as his tired bones. The relaxing feeling and the aromatherapy of a warm cup of tea being a perfect end to his busy day . . .yes, I can most definitely see Santa as a tea drinker.

But, you know, he could be a coffee drinker. He does have a lot to accomplish on a daily basis, like manage elves, brainstorm about what this year's Elmo will do to drive kids wild, and monitor who's naughty and nice. Being Santa is a high-pressure gig, and there may not be time for lengthy pontifications over pots of tea. He may need to get to the caffeinated bottom line ASAP. Therefore, I can see coffee being a necessity for surviving his day-to-day routine — especially as holiday deadlines approach. I can definitely see it being crucial on Christmas Eve. Santa has to pull the all-nighter of all-nighters, navigating thousands of miles in his sleigh in the dark and doling out toys to bzillions of children! Those tasks require a lot of focus on not a lot of sleep, so he'd probably want to cram as much artificial energy as possible into every sip of his choice beverage. Plus, he's a strong guy who could probably use a strong drink to make it through December 24, and while you can brew a strong cup of tea, it won't come close to a strong cup of joe. So, he could certainly be a coffee drinker.

I just don't know. . . Maybe he is both! I think this year my daughter and I will brew him both a pot of each and see which he chooses. Maybe, while he drinks tea and/or coffee for the majority of the year, for Christmas Eve he switches to Red Bull. . .

What do you think?