As he chews first one, then another, he turns to Mrs. Claus, and a broad, joyful smile spreads across his face; it’s as if her presence has clicked something on inside him. A rosy hue returns to his cheeks, and the twinkle is back in his eyes.

 After downing a glass of milk, he all but leaps out of both his rocking chair and his contemplative mood.

Santa picks up a cell phone. “Do you have those Naughty and Nice lists updated?” he asks. “E-mail the latest versions to me. I need to be checking them twice, you know.”