A short story by Kat Dodd.
It happened every year. Every year, kids would write their letters to Santa. Most would get to him.
But every year some kids would misspell Santa and send the letters to Satan instead.
And every year Santa and Satan would fight over who should get to give the presents to the kids that sent those letters.
“Would you just hand me the letters already? You know that Timmy meant to address it to me,” Santa pleaded, already tired of the argument when it had just started. Or restarted, as the case may be, since they had the same argument every year.
Satan clutched the letters tighter. “No! They’re mine! They were sent to me and they’re mine! I just need to know if these kids were good or not, and what they got last year.”
“I’m not going to let you give them punishment presents! The last time you gave Oswald a snake!”
“That wasn’t punishment!”
Santa stopped and stared at him. “It wasn’t a punishment?”
“Of course not! He asked for a snake, I gave him a snake.”
“You gave him an anaconda!”
“Well how was I supposed to know that he didn’t want an anaconda?”
“Because it’s an anaconda! His parents had to call animal control!”
“They didn’t have to, they chose to, I included care instructions.”
And so it went, neither of them giving in, until Christmas Eve came, and saw Satan riding in his own sleigh pulled by hellhounds, dropping into children’s living rooms and giving them the presents that they’d asked for, carefully tagged as “From: Satan” which led to some consternation from the parents.
Unfortunately, as Oswald with the anaconda can attest, Satan is not very good at knowing what kind of presents little kids want. He read the letters, of course, but… well. Oswald had asked for a little snake, because he wanted a ball python or a Mexican Hognose. Instead he got a snake much bigger than himself that the bullies in his neighborhood were terrified of.
Lisa asked for a puppy. She got a hellhound puppy instead. But no child could ask for a better guardian, and that puppy kept her safe long after it was no longer a puppy, walking with her through parts of the city that no one else would go by themselves, because Lisa knew that she was safe with her dog.
But Nancy asked for a horse, and got a NightMare, its bat wings stretched out in the sunlight and scaring other kids away. But Nancy was convinced that no other horse was as fast or as loyal as hers, and when she rode she felt like she was flying.
It happened every year, and they argued every year, and the presents Satan gave the children that wrote letters to him were never quite right and yet turned out to be exactly what they needed even if not what they wanted. They argued every year, and Santa gave in every year because even Satan gets a Christmas Present.