With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore, NPR's Scott Simon updates "A Visit from St. Nicholas" for 2020.



'Twas the night before Christmas, and all o'er the house stirred the clicking, most frantic, of every mouse. All the stockings were hung by the TV with flair, but children played on apps in their rooms without care, sneaking smartphones and laptops right into their beds while visions of going viral danced in their heads.

When out on the street there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter when what to my wandering eyes did appear an electric sleigh without any reindeer. Self-driving, said the driver, so lively and quick. I knew from his TikToks it must be St. Nick. I don't strew CO2, he said, on glaciers and meadows, so my polar bear friends can hang on to their ice floes. He had a snow-white goatee and a six-pack of a belly. I just couldn't go on like a bowl full of jelly. Now we eat fruits and veggies, meditate and do yoga and don't just watch esports - elf sports - on the sofa.

And after our chitchat, he went straight to work and filled all the stockings with candies and merch. Then laying his finger aside of his nose and giving a nod, he told me, Lord knows 2020 has been filled with sorrow and stresses with COVID, job loss and protesting injustice. We miss those we loved who are no longer here, handshakes, hugs, friendships and moments of cheer.

Santa's whole workshop is now work from home. I call elves for IT help, they ask, Safari or Chrome? I tell them of toys, and they say, you're on mute. I've got gray sweatpants on 'neath the top of my suit.

Family and friends can't gather this season. We miss their warm smiles, but we all know the reason. The year has been tough, but still, at each turn, people have become heroes and helped us to learn that even across social distance divides, we are all essential workers in each other's lives. So thanks to doctors, to nurses, delivery crews, farmers and pharmacists, bus drivers, too. Thanks to med techs and scientists and laboratories, those in clinical trials and the great Dr. Fauci.

Santa sprang to his sleigh, to the sky gave a whistle, and his autonomous vehicle took off like a missile. But I heard him exclaim as he zipped out of sight, look out for each other, and to all a good night.

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