I remember when getting in touch with Santa Claus meant sitting down with a piece of paper and a pencil, or maybe a crayon. It meant writing out a list in your best handwriting (lest the big guy get confused), folding it up, putting it in an envelop marked “North Pole” and handing it off to Mom. She would ensure it made it in the mail.
These days, the guy is nothing but accessible. You can reach him via email, Skype, Google Voice and Twitter (there are several accounts, none verified). While I’ve long since given up writing to Santa (one too many pairs of socks), I’ve made a tradition of reaching out to local artist, entrepreneur and community types to find out what they’d like to see jolly old St. Nick bring to Fresno in the new year. That’s assuming the city is on the nice list.
I’m not sure if he reads this column, but Santa knows when I’m awake, so anything is possible.
• “I’m asking Santa to bring more ‘mo’ for Fresno — continued momentum to help us build on all our good news from 2014. We not only survived some tough economic times, we’re enjoying a steady recovery, and if Santa can help us kick it up a notch with a General Plan Update, a new water reliability plan and the start of a revitalized downtown with the Fulton Mall project, Fresno will get some much-deserved attention as a city on the move. And it’ll keep us off those weird lists, like Worst Cities for Alien Abductions.”— Mark Standriff, director of Communications and Public Affairs for the city of Fresno
• “I guess if I could have Santa magically deliver anything to Fresno’s arts scene, it would be a performing arts complex with several flexible and affordable spaces for theater and dance between 75 and 300 seats, a gallery, rehearsal spaces and a ballroom with a bandstand. No biggie! Mostly I wish that Fresnans could see how much we already have here in terms of art, culture and a ‘scene.’ We don’t really need Santa. A lot of us are making things happen here with a sort of DIY approach. And making it work. We’re doing it with a distinctly hard-working, no-nonsense Fresno attitude, and we do it for our community’s enjoyment. We just need a few more people to seek it out and take a chance on us to keep it moving. That’s what’s on my Fresno Christmas list.”— Heather Parish, founding director of The New Ensemble Theater Group
• “I hope Santa brings Fresno a year of optimism. From the Fulton Mall to the zoo, to the rise of the technology industry, to a bold new era at Fresno State, there’s a heck of a lot to be excited about in our ’burgh!”— Jake A. Soberal, chief executive officer, Bitwise Industries
• “Dear Santa: Please deliver a movie-loving investor to our fair city, a benefactor who’s willing to give us a full-time, independent art house cinema, equipped with the latest Digital Cinema Projection and sound. And popcorn for all.”
• “I wish for Santa to bring Fresno self-esteem, a chin up, the courage to say to the rest of the world that ‘We are proud to be Fresnans.’ ”— Chuck Leonard, host of Central Valley Buzz
• “More craft beer options (breweries, bars, etc.). It may sound silly, but beer tourism is a real thing these days. Fresno is starting to become something, but we are very behind. We need help. You of all people, Santa, know Fresno needs more tourist attractions. Let’s give that Southern California couple traveling to Yosemite a reason to stop in Fresno for the day.”— Mike Seay, craft beer snob and co-host of “The Perfect Pour” podcast