Listen: The Not-So-True Story Of Santa's Naughty-Or-Nice Division | KERA News

Listen: The Not-So-True Story Of Santa's Naughty-Or-Nice Division

Dec 24, 2014
Originally published on December 29, 2014 11:13 am

You can listen to our special audio holiday card here.

Santa sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake ... but how does he do it? Sure, the elves lend a hand — but, as it turns out, hours of surveillance video make the job a lot easier.

This year, we present an audio Christmas card to share the real* story on how the North Pole decides who's naughty or nice.

Our radio drama, "Naughty Or Nice," comes from the podcast The Truth. It's a story about Santa and his elves — but these aren't the elves or the jolly, bearded patriarch you know from children's stories. Let's just say they're a bit ... edgier.

So open our holiday card and listen as the elves grapple with office politics and the ethics of an imaginary Christmas industry. You can listen now, download it for your travels or tune in on Christmas Day to hear it live on All Things Considered.

* And by "real," we mean, "entirely fictional."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Now we're going to take a break from news, from facts, from reality in fact. We're going to hear an original story.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (Singing) You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout. I'm telling you why.

SIEGEL: It comes to us from a podcast ironically named The Truth. Producer Jonathan Mitchell makes audio fiction, what he calls movies for your ears. And our movie for your ears today is called "Naughty or Nice." It begins in an office where workers are poring over videotapes.


OLIVIA SIMONSON: (As Naughty child) You don't love me if you said no.

ELANA FISHBEIN: (As Bell) OK. So we're obviously seeing a class F temper tantrum.

SIMONSON: (As Naughty child) I hate mashed potatoes.

SETH LIND: (As Spark): F is?

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Food.

LIND: (As Spark) Right - food. Food related.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: (As Naughty child's dad) Ow.

LIND: (As Spark) OK.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) So let's go ahead and click naughty.

SIMONSON: (As Naughty child) No. You don't tell me what to do.

LIND: (As Spark) And how do they then - they'll associate that with a present.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Yeah. She gets a lump of coal and, you know, she learns from that experience.

LIND: (As Spark) OK.


FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Click naughty.

LIND: (As Spark) Just like that?

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Just like that.

LIND: (As Spark) OK.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Yeah (Laughing). So who do we have next?

LIND: (As Spark) Michael Simmons.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Michael Simmons.

LIND: (As Spark) Also age 8.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Great.

LIND: (As Spark) Tulsa, Oklahoma. Breakfast.

ASHER HERBSTMAN: (As Michael Simmons) Get out of here. Get out of here.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) All right, so I'm going to give this one to you.

LIND: (As Spark) OK.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Let's see how we do.

A. HERBSTMAN: (As Michael Simmons) Stop being annoying. You've just been a little, annoying brat.

LIND: (As Spark) Looks like he's agitated. He's mad at his sibling.

A. HERBSTMAN: (As Michael Simmons) I hate you.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) At 20:42...

LIND: (As Spark) 20:42...

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) That's an I hate you.

LIND: (As Spark) OK.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) You know, hate's a word that you can't take back.

A. HERBSTMAN: (As Michael Simmons) How did you get so annoying? What is wrong with you?

BEE HERBSTMAN: (As Michael's sister) I said I was...

A. HERBSTMAN: (As Michael Simmons) It's already bad. Don't make it worse.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Go up, and we're going to click naughty.

LIND: (As Spark) OK.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) All right.

LIND: (As Spark) But we have the tapes from the full year or more.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Yeah. If we looked at the tapes for the whole year, you know, we'd be sitting here for a full year.

LIND: (As Spark) So that's just naughty?

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Yeah. I would say so.

LIND: (As Spark) Great. Naughty.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) All right then.

LIND: (As Spark) Michael Simmons - naughty.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) You know, I've got a million cases to get through. So I should probably run.

LIND: (As Spark) Oh, sorry. Thank you so much for showing me this stuff.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Yeah. You got it. So you're all set?

LIND: (As Spark) I think I'm set.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Hey, you like eggnog?

LIND: (As Spark) Yeah.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Well, a bunch of the elves are going down to Red Nose at around 8, so maybe I'll see you there?

LIND: (As Spark) Oh, seriously? Thank you so much for including me.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Yeah. You got it. All right. Well, if you need anything let me know.

LIND: (As Spark) See you. OK. 8 clock, Red Nose.


LOUIS KORNFELD: (As 1st Elf in bar) This one who I was watching earlier today decided to feed all of his Ritalin to his Fox Terrier. And when the dog started flipping out, his mom had to take him over to the veterinarian's office. The kid tore all the way through his sister's bedroom. He took a leak in her toy chest.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Wow. That is layer upon layer.

KORNFELD: (As 1st Elf in bar) Well, we'll see how he feels on the morning of the 25. We'll see what's funny then.

ELI ITZKOWITZ: (As 2nd Elf in bar) Oh, yeah. Naughty stamp all the way.

KORNFELD: (As 1st Elf in bar) Yeah. I mean, that's early stage psychopathic behavior right there. I couldn't get over it.

LIND: (As Spark) I saw today a older brother, younger sister. And they were just nice the whole time. So, you know, I thought, phew, at any point they could have done something.

KORNFELD: (As 1st Elf in bar) Bartender. Are you milking down these eggnogs? (Laughing) Spark.

LIND: (As Spark) Yeah. No. But the point is I was relieved.

KORNFELD: (As 1st Elf in bar) You'll get a good one soon. Don't worry.

LIND: (As Spark) Well, here's the - do they - do the kids actually know we're watching them all the time?

ITZKOWITZ: (As 2nd Elf in bar) Oh, yeah. Right?

KORNFELD: (As 1st Elf in bar) 'Course they - it's in the song, right? He sees when you're sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He knows when you've been bad or good. It's right there.

LIND: (As Spark) Yeah. I just wonder what if we gave the parents more input. They are with these kids all the time. They can weigh in.

ITZKOWITZ: (As 2nd Elf in bar) Parents. The parents are naughtier than the kids half the time.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Yeah. They're not going to be objective, I'll tell you that - especially when they're getting free presents from Santa.

ITZKOWITZ: (As 2nd Elf in bar) No. Yeah.

LIND: (As Spark) But their input seems like it would be invaluable to make this, like, a slightly more scientific process.

KORNFELD: (As 1st Elf in bar) Spark. Spark. You want to make this job harder than it is? I mean, what are we talking...

LIND: (As Spark) No, not at all. I'm just surprised that the system...

KORNFELD: (As 1st Elf in bar) Do yourself a favor. Don't overthink this too much, all right? You got yourself a nice, cushy job over here. I mean, you want to sacrifice all that to go back to the toy factory?

LIND: (As Spark) No.

KORNFELD: (As 1st Elf in bar) You want to shovel Rudolph's dung?

LIND: (As Spark) No. Definitely not. No. Glad to be here.

KORNFELD: (As 1st Elf in bar) All right. So, hey, it's an honor for all of us to be here. Just relax, enjoy yourself. Huh? Let's raise a drink.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Welcome, welcome.

LIND: (As Spark) Cheers. Thanks.

KORNFELD: (As 1st Elf in bar) Oh, yeah. All right, everyone give me a dollar for the juke box.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) All right.

GREGORY C. JONES: (As Michael's dad) That's not funny. You think it's funny. You're not going to think it's funny in a second, mister, because you are an annoying, little kid who has nothing to do but annoy his dad when his dad is trying to do work.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Is that Michael Simmons? We watched that yesterday.

LIND: (As Spark) Yes. This is Michael Simmons. Thank you for stopping by because I was going to show this to you.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Yeah. We marked him naughty.

LIND: (As Spark) We did mark him naughty. But I went back, and I rewound the tape, and I watched footage from the morning before. And this is going to blow your mind. Watch this.

JONES: (As Michael's dad) Did you get annoying from my side or your mom's side?

LIND: (As Spark) OK, so this is the dad. What he says.

JONES: (As Michael's dad) Michael, what is wrong with you?

A. HERBSTMAN: (As Michael Simmons) It was an accident.

JONES: (As Michael's dad) Don't make it worse. It's already bad. Don't make it worse.

LIND: (As Spark) Do you hear what he said there? Does that ring a bell? Because...

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) It's not your job to be re-watching these. That's why we have the guys that check it twice next door.

LIND: (As Spark) Right.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) They check the list twice.

LIND: (As Spark) OK.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Between all of us, we're going to find out who's naughty and nice.

LIND: (As Spark) OK. But I just got worried because if they didn't rewind all the way and happen to catch that - like, with this way, I've marked, you know...

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) If we don't know by the 15 who's naughty or nice, there are going to be nice kids that are missing out on Christmas presents. And that's a problem.

LIND: (As Spark) OK. Right. I'm sorry.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) This is Christmas.

LIND: (As Spark) Yeah.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Enjoy yourself.

LIND: (As Spark) Thanks, Bell. Merry Christmas. Hey, Dad. It's Spark.

ED HERBSTMAN: (As Spark's dad) Spark. Hey, how are ya? How's my bigshot elf?

LIND: (As Spark) I'm good.

E. HERBSTMAN: (As Spark's dad) Sitting there making all your naughty, nice decisions, office down the hall from Santa himself?

LIND: (As Spark) Well, it's not like right next to Santa, but...

E. HERBSTMAN: (As Spark's dad) Well, you're up there. You're in an office, kiddo. You don't punch a clock, do you?

LIND: (As Spark) Salary man.

E. HERBSTMAN: (As Spark's dad) Well, I'm proud of you. What's going on?

LIND: (As Spark) I don't know. I - can I - Dad, can I ask a, like, a little bit of a weird question?

E. HERBSTMAN: (As Spark's dad) Yes.

LIND: (As Spark) When I was little I remember being, like, pretty bad.

E. HERBSTMAN: (As Spark's dad) Like a bad elf?

LIND: (As Spark) Yeah. I remember misbehaving.

E. HERBSTMAN: (As Spark's dad) Oh, yeah. Yeah, that was you. What a turnaround, huh?

LIND: (As Spark) I guess, but I remember getting Christmas presents every year.

E. HERBSTMAN: (As Spark's dad) Oh, well, you know, you were mostly good. I mean, even if you didn't deserve them, I still love ya.

LIND: (As Spark) See, this is - I don't want to complain about this job. But I'm sitting there all day, looking at like 30 seconds of video of a kid, and then they're breathing down my neck to make an instant decision, like, this kid's naughty; this kid's nice.

E. HERBSTMAN: (As Spark's dad) Yeah. You'll get good at it.

LIND: (As Spark) Listen. No, it's...

E. HERBSTMAN: (As Spark's dad) Somebody's got to make the call.

LIND: (As Spark) I don't know. I really don't think this is how Santa would want it to run.

E. HERBSTMAN: (As Spark's dad) OK. Yeah. Well, you need to talk to Santa.

LIND: (As Spark) Right. Oh, hey, Santa, just need an hour of your time.

E. HERBSTMAN: (As Spark's dad) No, no, no. You know, once he came to the toy factory, talked to every single worker.

LIND: (As Spark)Yeah?

E. HERBSTMAN: (As Spark's dad) That's not how he wants things where you can't say anything. He's a very jolly man, but he's very reasonable.

LIND: (As Spark) Dad, he has layers of managers. I've literally never run into him in the elevator.

E. HERBSTMAN: (As Spark's dad) Talk to Santa. He'll fix it.

LIND: (As Spark) Talk to Santa?

E. HERBSTMAN: (As Spark's dad) And when you talk to him...

LIND: (As Spark) Yeah?

E. HERBSTMAN: (As Spark's dad) ...You got to remember everything, and then I want you to tell me everything that he said.

LIND: (As Spark) (Laughter) OK.

Hi. I put in for a meeting with Santa today.

SHAINA FEINBERG: (As Santa's secretary) OK, great. And you are?

LIND: (As Spark) I'm Spark. Spark Elgooso (ph).

FEINBERG: (As Santa's secretary) Excellent. So what we're going to do is I'm going to alert your department as soon as there's an opening to meet with Santa.

LIND: (As Spark) I really need to meet with him today. So I don't mind waiting.

FEINBERG: (As Santa's secretary) I'm sure that Santa is dying to meet with you as well...

LIND: (As Spark) (Laughter) OK.

FEINBERG: (As Santa's secretary) ...He's just superduper busy with all the children's wish lists.

LIND: (As Spark) What if I just sit down on the couch, and as soon as he pops out, that's - oh.

TOM LIGON: (As Santa) Thanks for coming by.

KEVIN CRAGG: (As coal lobbyist) Remember the magic number is 2000 tons.

LIGON: (As Santa) And have a Merry Christmas.

CRAGG: (As coal lobbyist) If this works out we'll all have a Merry Christmas.

LIGON: (As Santa) Ho, ho, ho.

LIND: (As Spark) Excuse me, Santa?

Who was that with Santa?

FEINBERG: (As Santa's secretary) He happens to be the most influential lobbyist for the coal industry and a very, very good friend of Santa's.

LIND: (As Spark) Coal lobbyist?

FEINBERG: (As Santa's secretary) Oh, good news. I see an opening on Santa's calendar in July.

LIND: (As Spark) July?

FEINBERG: (As Santa's secretary) How does 5 am work for you, Spark?

LIND: (As Spark) It does not work for me. You know how many months away that is?

FEINBERG: (As Santa's secretary) If you want to get in here any earlier you're going to have to sit on Santa's lap.

LIND: (As Spark) Huh?

FEINBERG: (As Santa's secretary) Just kidding.

LIND: (As Spark) Huh.

WILLY APPELMAN: (As mall crew leader) Mall crew on sleigh 6. I need all of my mall elves on the sleigh now.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. What are you doing?

LIND: (As Spark) I'm just getting onto sleigh 6. I'm on the mall crew.

APPELMAN: (As mall crew leader) You're not on my mall crew.

LIND: (As Spark) Right. I'm just a - I'm a trainee.

APPELMAN: (As mall crew leader) There are no trainees on the mall crew.

LIND: (As Spark) They might just not have gotten the paperwork down to you, but...

APPELMAN: (As mall crew leader) Listen, you think this is a game, huh?

LIND: (As Spark) No.

APPELMAN: (As mall crew leader) You ever been to a mall with kids who are drinking hot cocoa, eating candy, and they're about to meet the most important man in the world?

LIND: (As Spark) Well, not in person, but I...

APPELMAN: (As mall crew leader) Then you have no idea what you are in for.

LIND: (As Spark) Listen. I've got a candy cane I don't need. And it can be your candy cane if I just get on that sleigh.

APPELMAN: (As mall crew leader) Got any chocolate?


APPELMAN: (As mall crew leader) Mall express. Sleigh number 6 to the mall. We're going to the mall, elves.


KATIE CORR: (As girl in department store) Mommy, there's an elf in front of us.

KERRY KASTIN: (As mom in department store) Hmm?

CORR: (As girl in department store) There's an elf.

KASTIN: (As mom in department store) I know. Are you excited to see Santa and tell him everything you want?

CORR: (As girl in department store) Right in front of us.

KASTIN: (As mom in department store) Shh. Katie, that's not very nice.

CORR: (As girl in department store) He has big ears.

KASTIN: (As mom in department store) That's very naughty.

LIND: (As Spark) Zip it, kid.

CORR: (As girl in department store) Where's your parents? Where's your parents?

LIND: (As Spark) I'm an orphan, OK? Are you happy now?

KASTIN: (As mom in department store) Katie, you say you're sorry.

CORR: (As girl in department store) Sorry.

LIGON: (As Santa) Where's the next one?

PHOEBE TYERS: (As Daisy) Next child.

LIND: (As Spark) Yeah. That's me.

TYERS: (As Daisy) Spark? Is that you? Spark Elgooso? What are you doing dressed like that?

LIND: (As Spark) Please just let me through.

TYERS: (As Daisy) Spark, you should be back at the North Pole. They need you.

LIND: (As Spark) I know. I wouldn't be here if it weren't important. Please just tell him it's a little boy.

TYERS: (As Daisy) Absolutely not, Spark. I cannot do that. I mean, this is Santa Claus. This is my job.

LIGON: (As Santa) Santa's got an empty lap here.

TYERS: (As Daisy) I have to keep this line moving.

LIND: (As Spark) Daisy, this is bigger than both of us, OK?

TYERS: (As Daisy) Santa. This is an elf. He's not supposed to be here, and he is leaving now.

LIGON: (As Santa) Oh, no, no, no. We've got an empty Santa lap here. Come on.

LIND: (As Spark) Thank you.

LIGON: (As Santa) Come on up here. You've been a nice, little elf all year long?

LIND: (As Spark) Guess I've tried to be good, but...

LIGON: (As Santa) Come on up here.

LIND: (As Spark) That's so comfy.

LIGON: (As Santa) Ho, ho, ho.

LIND: (As Spark) So Santa, this isn't actually about me or any present for me or anything.

LIGON: (As Santa) Oh?

LIND: (As Spark) I actually work in the Naughty or Nice Division.

LIGON: (As Santa) Ho, ho, ho.

LIND: (As Spark) I'm new and I just started learning the system. And I am so surprised and worried about how it works.

LIGON: (As Santa) Is there a problem with the new infrared cameras?

LIND: (As Spark) Those are just fine, actually. They work well, particularly at night. But the problem is not with the technology. The problem is the system itself.

LIGON: (As Santa) Oh?

LIND: (As Spark) You know, I and all the other elves in that division, we spend our whole day watching the surveillance videos of these kids.

LIGON: (As Santa) Of course.

LIND: (As Spark) Pushing the naughty button or the nice button.

LIGON: (As Santa) Ho, ho, ho.

LIND: (As Spark) Can I just ask, how do you tell?

LIGON: (As Santa) You have to look at the child, and the child is either naughty or nice.

LIND: (As Spark) But here's the thing. They are all nice and naughty. Every kid is both.

LIGON: (As Santa) I see.

LIND: (As Spark) Life is nuanced. Right? And we're reducing it to this yes or no thing. And what is that teaching kids?

LIGON: (As Santa) I see the problem here.

LIND: (As Spark) You do?

LIGON: (As Santa) Yes. And you are a very perceptive little elf.

LIND: (As Spark) Really?

LIGON: (As Santa) Bring me my mobile phone.

LIND: (As Spark) You can fix this?

LIGON: (As Santa) Yes, I can. Ho, ho, ho.

LIND: (As Spark) I knew that...

LIGON: (As Santa) Ho, ho, ho.

LIND: (As Spark) Santa, it's just an honor to even talk to you.

LIGON: (As Santa) Merry Christmas to you.

LIND: (As Spark) Merry Christmas, Santa.

LIGON: (As Santa) Merry Christmas.

LIND: (As Spark) Merry Christmas.

LIGON: (As Santa) Ho, ho, ho.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Hi, Spark. Can you have a seat? Thank you for coming in.

LIND: (As Spark) Sure, what's up?

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Well, we got a call from Santa yesterday

LIND: (As Spark) That doesn't surprise me because I met with Santa yesterday. And it turns out that he is not pleased with how the naughty or nice system is being implemented.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Tomorrow you are going to report to toy factory 19.

LIND: (As Spark) No, but I just - I met with Santa yesterday, and he said...

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) OK. Well, there are 50 million children in the United States alone. And if we spend all of our time poring over the nuances for each individual child, we'll never get through our list.

LIND: (As Spark) Of course we have to think about the nuances. How else could we make these judgments?

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) See, Spark, you don't trust your instincts. In this department, we need elves who can trust their instincts.

LIND: (As Spark) Trust? I trusted that the system was fair, and now I don't because I've seen inside it, and it's just a bunch of flawed elves watching a bunch of flawed people deciding who is actually flawed and who's...

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) We can't let kids go without consequences. If we do that, they'll grow up to be monsters. We are here to teach kids a lesson.

LIND: (As Spark) I saw Santa meet with a coal lobbyist.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) Well, Spark, that's his job. Do you - do you know how much cheaper a piece of coal is than a toy? Think about it. It's just the economics of Christmas.

LIND: (As Spark) Cheaper than a toy? That means...

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) I heard you sat on Santa's lap.

LIND: (As Spark) Yes, because he said I could, and he was nice. And it was soft.

FISHBEIN: (As Bell) I need you to hand in your access card. You'll have time to gather your personal items, your slippers, whatever you need. But tomorrow, you're going to report to toy factory 19.

PAT MAY: (As elf at the factory) Green, red, red, green, red, green, green, green, green. Spark, are you paying attention?

LIND: (As Spark) Yeah, I'm watching. Yeah.

MAY: (As elf at the factory) Take hold, buddy. It's up to you.

LIND: (As Spark) OK. All right. Red, red, red, red, green, red, red, red.

MAY: (As elf at the factory) Beautiful, beautiful. You're done. You're done. OK.

LIND: (As Spark) Thank you.

MAY: (As elf at the factory) See? Just let yourself get into a rhythm. And that's it. That's the whole job.

LIND: (As Spark) So just one question, I guess. What happens if I pull the wrong cable?

MAY: (As elf at the factory) Just pull the right cable. That's the whole job.

LIND: (As Spark) Yeah. I get that, but, I mean, just by accident.

MAY: (As elf at the factory) Remember, green cable, pre-assigned gifts. Red cable, coal.

LIND: (As Spark) Red cable, coal. Yeah.

MAY: (As elf at the factory) So just do the job.

LIND: (As Spark) I know, but if I accidentally were to pull the wrong one...

MAY: (As elf at the factory) A good kid would get a piece of coal.

LIND: (As Spark) Or a bad kid gets a present?

MAY: (As elf at the factory) Don't do that.

LIND: (As Spark) Right, right. I will not...

MAY: (As elf at the factory) Listen, you're the last line between the gifts and the kids, OK? You put in the wrong thing, the kids are going to feel it.

LIND: (As Spark) Right. I will not pull the wrong cable by accident. And these boxes are wide open. Anything could fall in there, right?

MAY: (As elf at the factory) Yeah. Just don't let that happen.

LIND: (As Spark) Right. I will...

MAY: (As elf at the factory) Just coal or a gift. That's it.

LIND: (As Spark) ...Certainly not let anything fall in by accident.

MAY: (As elf at the factory) Welcome aboard, Spark.

LIND: (As Spark) Thank you.

MAY: (As elf at the factory) Keep it up. Keep smiling.

LIND: (As Spark) Thank you.

MAY: (As elf at the factory) And stay away from the conveyor belt.

LIND: (As Spark) Yes.

MAY: (As elf at the factory) Elf jelly.

LIND: (As Spark) OK, thanks.


LIGON: (As Santa) Merry Christmas. Ho, ho, ho.

B. HERBSTMAN: (As Michael's sister) Eek. It's Michael turn.

MELANIE HOOPES: (As Michael's mom) Oh, honey, he doesn't have anything under the tree. It's all over.

A. HERBSTMAN: (As Michael Simmons) Here's one for me.

HOOPES: (As Michael's mom) What?

JONES: (As Michael's dad) What?

A. HERBSTMAN: (As Michael Simmons) It says from Santa.

JONES: (As Michael's dad) Huh.


JONES: (As Michael's dad) Wow.

B. HERBSTMAN: (As Michael's sister) What is it?

A. HERBSTMAN: (As Michael Simmons) Look, it's just what I wanted.

HOOPES: (As Michael's mom) What?

JONES: (As Michael's dad) Wow.

HOOPES: (As Michael's mom) Wow.

JONES: (As Michael's dad) That is...

A. HERBSTMAN: (As Michael Simmons) (Inaudible) 2.0. It's the newest one. It just came out.

B. HERBSTMAN: (As Michael's sister) Is it sparkly?

A. HERBSTMAN: (As Michael Simmons) Oh, my God. Yes, it's sparkly. Don't you see it? And it's blue. Oh, my gosh.

B. HERBSTMAN: (As Michael's sister) How do you work it?

HOOPES: (As Michael's mom)You did it.

JONES: (As Michael's dad) Are you kidding?

HOOPES: (As Michael's mom) You did it.

JONES: (As Michael's dad) Why would I do it?

HOOPES: (As Michael's mom) I have no idea. But it was very sweet.

JONES: (As Michael's dad) I didn't.

HOOPES: (As Michael's mom) He's so happy.

JONES: (As Michael's dad) I'm telling you.

HOOPES: (As Michael's mom) Look, you - I didn't...

JONES: (As Michael's dad) Honey, I didn't do it.

HOOPES: (As Michael's mom) OK, I didn't do it either.

JONES: (As Michael's dad) You didn't?

HOOPES: (As Michael's mom) Then, OK, now it's creepy.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (Singing) You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout. I'm telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town.

SIEGEL: That Christmas story, "Naughty Or Nice," it was produced by Jonathan Mitchell. He wrote it along with Seth Lind, who played the part of Spark the elf. The story came to us from the podcast "The Truth," which is part of the Radiotopia network from PRX. Happy holidays from all of us at ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.