Chocolate chip cookies at Ms. Johnson's house, 3/5 stars
Ms. Johnson was on the nice list, mostly because there's not much you can do to appear on the naughty list when all of your conversations are with your three cats. It's a little unsettling when someone without children leaves cookies out for me, especially when they definitely did it for the cats' sake. How do I know she did this? The thank-you note was from Whiskers, Sam Meowliot, and Purrt Russell. They also showed their gratitude by leaving some fur in the cookies. I'm giving the cookies three stars, though, so that their rating is high enough for Ms. Johnson to get visitors. She desperately needs them.
Gluten-free snickerdoodles at the Ramirez house, 3/5 stars
Two of the Ramirez children have gluten intolerance, so I got some rice flour-based snickerdoodles from them. The note apologized for not having normal baked goods, and it offered me some cardboard if I found that more appetizing. I appreciated the humor. I also appreciated the way the cookies tasted, but only because after taking a bite I just licked the cinnamon off.
I left extra toys for the Ramirez kids because I felt bad for their malfunctioning digestive systems. I also packed some cardboard for the road.
Vegan peanut butter cookies at the Jones house, 5/5 stars
The cookies at the Jones house were delicious. You'd never know they were dairy and egg-free. I admit that I went into the kitchen to get a few more because I liked them so much. Hey, I flew all the way from the North Pole. I'd earned a few extra cookies.
This was a bad idea, though, because I took extra time before getting back to the sleigh. When I returned, the family was filming my reindeer and listing their poor living conditions, forced midnight flying, and the excess weight they had to carry. I instinctively hid the extra cookies I had packed. Yes, those were my reindeer on your 6 p.m. news. I have no comment on the accusations.
Edibles at the Sorensen house, 8/5 stars
These cookies were sooooo good. I can't entirely remember what they tasted like, which presents I left, or where I even was, but 15 minutes after we finished the cookies, the residents and I ended up taking my sleigh through the Taco Bell drive-thru and ordering 27 tacos. Got me a little off schedule, but I had no idea Taco Bell was so good and am pushing to operate a franchise in the North Pole now. I also may have misplaced a few toys and left some Gorditas for some toddlers at the next few houses.
Cake box cookies at the Remington household, 2/5 stars
I'm not sure what these cookies tasted like before I went to eat them, but the father of the household was riding a Peloton when I showed up. Sweat was flying all over the cookies. I tried to eat them, but the man kept judging me while he continued sculpting his physique. Then after trying a sweat cookie, I was suddenly guilted into getting on the bike myself. The rest was a blur, but I do remember hearing one of the kids ask his father why the bicycle was yelling at Santa and why Santa was crying.
Half-eaten Oreos at the Lee household, 4/5 stars
When I arrived at the Lee household, Mr. Lee was drinking tequila and stress-eating Oreos, mumbling about his mother-in-law and lamenting not marrying someone named Christine whose mother actually liked him. I could hear his mother-in-law complaining audibly in the other room about why the heat couldn't be turned up a bit. It wasn't surprising that they needed help with the heating bill, she said. If her daughter had only married Matthew the doctor, it wouldn't be a problem. When one of the children came out and asked why Dad was eating all of Santa's cookies, I told the child that we had been sharing them and ate one to prove it.
As I flew off in the sleigh, I had snow magically dumped into the guest room.