Attention, all parents and well-meaning children: Santa is a very old man. With senescence comes a weakened immune system, meaning that he is a member of a high-risk category of food-borne illnesses. Please, let’s not have a repeat of what happened last year! Here are a few tips to help keep Santa healthy:
- Wash your hands! Kids are germ factories (yes, even you!) Don’t share your germs with Santa. Wash your hands before making his plate of cookies.
- Milk should not be left at room temperature. It’s a well-known fact that Santa doesn’t come until everybody in the house is asleep, which with excitement running high on Christmas eve, could take a while. Therefore, if you opt to leave milk for Santa, leave it for him over an ice bath to help keep it cold until the old man arrives.
- Consider leaving an alternate snack for Santa. After all, with so many houses to visit, there’s a limit to how many cookies and how much milk Santa can consume. Perhaps you could leave him something to go? Consider a bottle of a nice ale that Santa could crack open and enjoy on Christmas morning after all of his rounds are completed; or maybe a sandwich wrapped in wax paper that he could eat during one of his long commutes over a body of water (the Pacific Ocean, in particular, tends to be a bit boring for him, and he could really use something to do while he crosses it).
- If you do decide to make him a sandwich, keep in mind not to use perishable ingredients that could sprout unhealthy levels of bacteria while you’re asleep/ before he eats it. Peanut butter and jelly, for instance, would be a good choice; cream cheese and lox would not be.
If you have any questions about whether your plan for Santa is going to be safe for his weakened immune system, consult your local department of health. They have trained epidemiologists on staff who can answer any of your questions.