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Who needs Santa? Beleaguered parents, that's who.

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 23, 2010; 9:39 PM

I don't have the stamina for Santa. It takes way too much work to perpetuate the ever-evolving, increasingly elaborate myth of a fat man with unreasonable superpowers.

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Whether it's maintaining the David Copperfield-size illusions to keep the magic alive for kids or fulfilling the unfortunate Secret Santa draw of the creepy guy in the billing department, playing Saint Nick to the hilt is exhausting.

And it's not like technology has made this any easier.

We've had NORAD tracking Santa since 1958. Even before that, large-scale operations were in place to respond to the mountains of letters that children send to Santa.

And many of us remember our local TV weatherman, in his goldenrod suit and flaccid Santa hat, giving the weather report for Santa's ride on Christmas Eve.

Today, you can get e-mails from Santa or even get him to send your kids a text. If that's not enough, they can log into their Twitter account and get Santa's tweets.

It used to be that a trip to the shopping mall Santa and the portrait of an often screaming child on his lap was enough evidence to prove Santa's existence. (Take a look at some of the pictures of scared Santa kids online, both disturbing and hilarious).

One of the best new tools on the market, amid many highlighted recently in a Wall Street Journal piece about Santa iPhone apps, comes from a guy in Leesburg, who runs a Web site called Capture the Magic.

For $9.95, he will present your children with photographic evidence of Santa lurking in your own home. You upload a snap of your living room, roof or whatever. He'll digitally add Santa to the scene, choosing from one of at least 150 poses he shot of a Santa model (that had to be the best gig in town - $1,500 and no screaming kids).

There are the elaborate hiding of gifts, the special wrapping paper that you have to hide and make certain it doesn't make a reappearance covering Uncle Stan's Slanket and, of course, the cookies you must dispense with before dawn.

How many times has a parent who has been up all night wrapping, constructing and decorating scream "THE COOKIES!" at a spouse who forgot to take a bite and leave a mess of crumbs before the kids came downstairs.

My moment of stupid Santics was much more public last year. A couple walking along our sidewalk saw me frantically chewing and spitting carrots out all over our porch and steps at 8 a.m., when I realized I'd forgotten the blasted "reindeer ate the carrots and left a mess" ruse I short-sightedly concocted a couple of years ago.


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