Christmas Memories

Letter from Santa Claus – 2013

santaA Serious Note from Santa Claus

A few weekends ago a young lady of about nine hopped up onto Santa’s lap and when I asked her what she would like for Christmas, she replied, “I would like my family back together.”

Every year Santa and his many helpers get lots of requests for world peace, feeding the children and helping people in need, but this one hit Santa very deeply.

With all the things that a young lady of that age could ask for, to her this was the one and only thing that was important – important enough to be her only request to Santa.

People forget how difficult separation and divorce are on young children and this young lady spoke out loudly for all of them.

In all the anger and frustration that happens in these situations, remember the children. They are not pawns in an adult situation, they are the most important consideration and our future.

Remember to be kind to each other,

Love, your friend, Santa Claus

Letter from Santa Claus – 2011

santaThe Wonderfulness of Homemade Gifts

Well kids (of all ages, of course), it’s that time again. Up here at the North Pole, Santa was so busy making sure the elves were working, and at the same time having fun, that he almost forgot to write you his annual letter. And, as you know, if the elves are not both happy and busy, they can get into a lot of mischief and we don’t want that to happen again. As Santa said last year, it is a good thing I have the love of my life, Mrs. Claus, around to help and especially remind me to write my letters.

Things are a bit tough this year with so many parents and others out of work, so a lot of the presents people want to give each other might be too expensive to give this year. But remember, it is not the gift that matters, but the thought, and anything we get from someone as a gift is always special and wonderful. And, we should look on this as a great time to get back to making, not buying, gifts for the people we love.

As you know, the elves make a lot of the presents to be delivered on Christmas Eve. And, a lot of people also make presents for their family and friends each year. Homemade presents are always the best, and there are lots of things you can make that will be very special.

One year it turned especially cold just before Santa started to leave on his trip around the world. He needed a scarf to keep his neck extra warm and he couldn’t find one. Mrs. Claus got a piece of warm flannel cloth, cut it to size and then snipped the ends to make them look like fringe. Santa loved it, especially since the cloth had one of his favorite cartoon characters printed all over it. With mom or dad’s help you could do that, and pick out a special pattern for each person.

Grandmas and grandpas would love a silhouette picture of their grandchildren. They can be easily made by taking a picture of someone from the side and, after printing it, use it as a pattern to make the silhouette on black construction paper. Mount it on a piece of white paper and put it in a frame. You will be surprised how much they will be loved, and you too.

Bracelets and necklaces are another wonderful thing for parents, grandparents or friends. They can be made with heavy string and beads or colored string found at the stores that sell things for a dollar, a place where you can also find a lot of wonderful gifts and things to make gifts, like glue, tape, construction paper and frames. Make them personal using the person’s favorite colors or maybe their name in letter beads.

Find something from someone’s past. Flea markets and thrift stores have lots of things like toys or games your parents had when they were young, or you can make one. Maybe your father talks about the wooden top or yo-yo he had as a kid. See if you can find or make one and wrap it up for him. He will be delighted and Santa is sure he will teach you how to play with it.

Bake something for someone. With an adult’s help, bake cookies for your grandparents, teachers, friends or maybe someone who lives on your street and has nobody to share Christmas with. That would be really special.

Make a Christmas tree ornament. These can be made with construction paper – make sure you have permission to use the scissors and glue, and someone to help you. Ask an adult to show you how to fold paper to make a snowflake, something Santa still likes to do. Those are always wonderful as ornaments for the tree or to put on Christmas cards. You can also ask your parents about making ornaments from flour and water. After they are baked they can be decorated with paint, sparkles and lots of other things. Make sure to point out that they should not be put too low on the tree where the family dog can get to them.

Make a Christmas card for someone. These are easy using construction paper, glue and, if you have them, old Christmas cards. You can draw on them or write something special for the person receiving them. With an adults help you can even make a hand print on them and decorated it. To make them extra special, put in a recent picture of yourself.

Give someone a coupon book filled with things you will do for them. Maybe wash the dog or the car, sweep the patio or sidewalk, vacuum the carpet or even just give them a lot of hugs when they need them the most. If you are old enough, fix them breakfast in bed.

Fill a stocking with lots of little things, some useful and some that are silly. Then everyone can sit around on Christmas and open all the things in their stockings, one at a time. A lot of people do this and have a great time smiling and laughing at each other, something we need to do more often.

I hope these ideas help you make gifts for Christmas. There are books at your local library that can give you other ideas. Homemade gifts are always the best because them come from the heart and show you really care a lot.

Well, Santa has to go make sure things are running well and the elves are all working. Right now he can hear them singing, which makes them, Mrs. Claus and especially Santa feel good. It is when things are too quiet that Santa gets nervous.

More and more letters from you are arriving every day, and Santa and the elves are keeping up with them and filling every deserving request.

Even though Christmas Eve is still days away, the reindeer are ready to go. They are all fattened up, brushed down and waiting in their stalls full of energy.

Every year Santa takes a few of the elves that have been especially good on a practice flight. This year’s test run was perfect, so everything is ready to go for Christmas eve and, yes, Santa has the scarf Mrs. Claus made him hanging next to his suit.

Keep sending all those letters to Santa and, most of all, mind your manners, listen to your parents and teachers, be good, be kind and, especially, take good care of each other,

Love, your good friend, Santa Claus

Letter from Santa Claus – 2010

santaSanta’s Sleighs

Oh my goodness, it’s that time again. Santa was so busy doing other things that he almost forgot to write you his annual letter. It is a good thing I have Mrs. Claus around to remind me. Otherwise I would be lost.

Every year around this time Santa almost forgets lots of the things he has to do as his list of good children grows (yes, Santa does have a list and does check it – more than twice). Children realize that being good is important, but while being good just before Christmas is a wonderful idea, being good all year is even better and remember, Santa knows.

We really didn’t have much of a summer up here at the North Pole and I hear it was the same where you live. When it was warm Santa ran around in his Santa Shorts, even though Mrs. Claus says Santa’s legs are too hairy and knees too knobby to do that. The elves laugh when she says that to me and even laugh more when I tell her that the hair is what keeps my legs warm. We all have a good time here at the North Pole.

Every year children, and even some adults, ask me a lot of questions about my sleigh, like how I can get all the toys into it, how it can fly when loaded and what it looks like.

Well, Santa can easily clear up a couple of the questions. It flies the same way Santa and the reindeer fly, with a little bit of magic, and it is that same magic that allows Santa to get all the presents into it and get up and down chimneys.

Santa has had his sleigh for many, many years and it has served him well. It was custom made for him by some very talented sleigh makers out of the best hardwoods and the skis (often called runners) are shod with the best steel the builders could find.

Some might call it a freighting sleigh since it was specially made for Santa with a large box behind the driver’s seat to hold the huge bag of toys. Of course it is larger than the normal sleigh and takes eight (and often nine, with Rudolph) reindeer to pull it.

It is painted green and has beautiful decorations in gold leaf all over it. All the fittings that hold the reins are made from the best brass, which the elves keep brightly shined. And they polish all the wonderful bells on it and the reindeer even brighter.

Every year the elves and I check everything on it and make sure that it is in really good shape for its annual trip, since it gets a lot of bumps and scratches every Christmas Eve. It would be terrible if something on it broke.

Santa has a second identical sleigh in case that happens, but valuable time would be lost getting the backup sleigh to Santa, hooking up to the reindeer and getting all the toys moved from one sleigh to another. Getting all the toys delivered in one day is hard enough without a delay, so we are very careful when we check it.

Last year we gave both of the sleighs a real going-over. Santa and the elves scraped off all the old paint to look for cracks in the wood and fixed any that we found. Then we checked the skis for wear and rust and made sure they were still in good shape. After all the repair work was done, we repainted them with the best paint we could get, but instead of painting them both red, we painted one red and one green. Then Mrs. Claus, our family artist, redid all the gold leaf decorations.

Some of the elves wanted her to put things like “My other sleigh is also a sleigh,” and “Honk if you believe in Santa” on the back of the sleigh. She laughed and told them they were silly.

The elves like to do fun things, often without asking, so both she and Santa have to watch out all the time. Several times they have hid a squeaky toy under the seat for Santa to sit on and wonder where the noise was coming from, and once Santa found that they had attached red and green paper streamers to the back of the sleigh. They were pretty, but Santa was afraid they might break off and during the trip and Santa didn’t want to litter the earth with pieces of colored streamer.

We all know littering is bad, don’t we? That is one of the things Santa checks for when he makes up his good and bad lists.

Mrs. Claus also sewed some new covers for the sleigh’s seat. They get really dirty each year because of all the chimney soot Santa gets on his suits. She says if we keep the seats covered the original leather will last forever. Santa agrees, but sometimes she uses fabric with hearts or little ducks on it and Santa doesn’t discover it until Christmas Eve. She too has a great sense of humor, which is one more of the reasons Santa loves her so much.

Well, Santa better end this letter. I asked the elves to take the reindeer out for some walking exercise, but they like to trick the elves and fly. Santa just looked out the window and saw Prancer fly by with a couple of elves holding on to her antlers as tightly as they can, so Santa better go out and get them down before something bad happens.

Keep sending all those letters to Santa and, most of all, mind your manners, listen to your parents and teachers, be kind and, especially, take good care of each other.

Love, your good friend, Santa Claus

P.S. Remember, soft chocolate chip cookies and a glass of cold milk are Santa’s favorite treat and the reindeer especially like carrots.

Letter from Santa Claus – 2009

santaBuche de Noel for Dessert

Well kids, you know another Christmas Eve is coming up shortly and Santa is busily getting ready for the big day. Up here at the North Pole it is the busiest time of the year and the elves are working hard putting together presents for all of the good children, and Santa knows you are all trying to be good.

The weather at the North Pole has been really strange this year. The summer was cooler than normal, but there were a few weeks that were really warm so Santa put on his Santa shorts and went outside to enjoy the nice weather.

This year Mrs. Claus made Santa some new shorts with cartoon characters all over them. The elves and the reindeer all laughed when Santa wore them, but Santa really liked them, mostly because Santa really loves Mrs. Claus and she made them for him.

Speaking of Mrs. Claus, this year Santa decided he wanted to get a head start on Christmas and bake something very special that he, Mrs. Claus, all of the elves and the reindeer could have for Christmas dinner. Last year it was chocolate chip cookies, Santa’s favorite you know, but since Santa had a lot of time this year to watch cooking shows, Santa decided to try something a bit more difficult, the favorite French Christmas dessert, the Buche de Noel, that some of you might know as the Christmas or Yule log.

Christmas in France is a bit different from Christmas in California or, for that matter, the United States. The Christmas tree has never been really popular in France, and though the use of the huge Yule log to heat the house between Christmas and New Years, has faded, the French still make this traditional Yule log-shaped cake.

The cake is served at the grand feast of the season, which is called “Le Reveillon.” It is a very late supper for everyone held after midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Because of that, the French children can stay up late that night. And, before they go to bed they put out their shoes so Pere Noel (that’s what they call Santa in France) can put treats in them.

When I told Mrs. Claus what I wanted to do, she said, “In my kitchen? No way! Remember what happened last year with the cookies or the year before when you decided to bake special biscuits for the reindeer. We were half way through January before I was able to get the kitchen clean enough to see the counter tops and you were so covered from head to toe with flour, eggs and whatever else you could spill on yourself that I just put you and those mischievous, elves that were supposed to be helping you, clothes and all, into the shower. And remember that two days later I found one of the elves still hiding from me in the pantry. Santa,  I think you need to find somewhere else to test your baking skills.”

Yes, Santa remembers that and I think that Mrs. Claus may never forget it, so I better be really nice to her.

Well, Santa thought that he might need some help making the Yule log when one of the elves reminded me that I had really loved the cookies that had been left out for me at one house by a little girl in Placerville, California last Christmas. Then he said, “Remember, it was Robert Halabicky, the pastry chef who teaches culinary arts at San Joaquin Delta College who baked them.

“Say, since you have to be in Placerville for the Christmas Parade in early December, why don’t you take an extra day there and see if he can help you? Oh, by the way Santa, we should tell you that knowing that you might forget we made a quick call to Robert and set everything up for you.”

I’m sure glad that Robert was able to help me. Santa is good at delivering toys, but when it comes to baking, well, not so good. He showed Santa how to mix and stir, fold and roll and not get any fingers caught in the mixer. When it was through, Santa got to put the little decorations on the yule log using one of those fancy bags cake decorators use. Santa thought that would be fun, but it was hard. I think I will stick with delivering toys and leave the baking and decorating to the experts.

When Santa got back to the North Pole with the finished Yule log Mrs. Claus, the elves and even the reindeer were very impressed. Of course, Santa didn’t tell them the whole story about the mess he made and how Robert did most of the work (and please don’t tell her).

Santa decided that it should be saved for dessert at Christmas dinner after I get back from my rounds. But, it seems to be slowly disappearing (Mrs. Claus says it is not on her or my diet, but I think she is sneaking some tastes and I am not going to tell her that I am too). And, there are also a few marks where one or two of the reindeer have been nibbling (I keep telling everyone to keep the door closed so the reindeer, especially Dancer, don’t get in, but I think that pesky Dancer has figured out how to open the door). Actually, Santa doesn’t care, as long as everyone enjoys what Robert, with a little help from Santa, made.

Well, Santa thinks he better go into the kitchen and have another taste of the delicious Yule log before it is all gone. I think Mrs. Claus is out helping feed the reindeer, so it is a good time to do it.

Keep sending all those letters to Santa and, most of all, mind your manners, listen to your parents and teachers, be good, be kind and, especially, take good care of each other.

Love, your good friend, Santa Claus

P.S. Yes, the Yule log is wonderful, but Santa’s favorite snack is still chocolate chip cookies and a glass of cold milk.