Christmas Memories

Letter from Santa Claus – 2005

santaVintage Childhood Toys

Boy, another strange year. For a while the weather couldn’t decide if it was summer of winter. Just like last year, one day I was in my Santa Shorts and the next day I had to put on long pants and a sweater.

The reindeer are a bit anxious every year, and especially when the weather is so changeable. But, no matter what the weather, they always come through and take Santa everywhere to visit the children of the world.

Speaking of children, I find that most people are children all of their lives. Now, that doesn’t mean that they don’t grow up, it just means that deep inside of everyone, no matter what their age, is the delight and wonder of a small child that they never lose. Even Santa, with all of the years he has lived, has that feeling inside of him. Often I spend hours and hours playing with the toys that the elves are making. It makes them laugh, but it sure makes Santa feel wonderful.

Each year Santa gets letters from people who are grown up asking for toys – not always this year’s toys, but sometimes toys they played with when they were young. I think just playing with them brings back wonderful childhood memories that have been stored way in the back of the brain, pushed there by the hustle and bustle of daily life and the stress that comes from simply growing up.

Well, Santa tries every year to fill as many of these requests as he can, but it is getting harder and harder each year to find some of these toys stored away in the back room, or to get the elves to dig out the plans for them and make more. Besides that, a few of them turned out to be a bit dangerous for little people and Santa decided that they shouldn’t be given away any more.

If you want to help Santa, look around at flea markets and in antique stores to see if you can find something that might bring back good childhood memories to someone you love, or pass on those memories to someone young.

How about Lincoln Logs. Don’t you remember how much fun they were to play with, building little brown cabins with green roofs? Or maybe Tinker Toys. You could build the strangest things with those, and they never looked the same twice. Of course, then there was the giant of construction toys: the Erector Set. Those came in many sizes from ones that would build just a few wagons and such to ones with which you could build an electric motor powered parachute drop, like the one they had at the World’s Fair in New York.

Then there were the card games, like Risk, Authors, Old Maid, Rook, UNO, Flinch, Mille Bornes, Touring, Cowboys and Indians, Rack-O, Make-a-Million and Pit. You could spend hours and hours having fun playing these games with friends or family until the cards actually wore out. Some of them are still available, but many are just a fond memory, hiding away in someone’s attic.

Now we shouldn’t forget the board and box games. Santa and Mrs. Claus still spend hours on winter nights, drinking cocoa with marshmallows, while playing some of these. Santa’s favorites are Chutes and Ladders and Operation, but Mrs. Claus really likes Scrabble. I don’t know where she gets those words she spells. Just between you and me, sometimes I think she makes them up (but don’t tell her I said that).

Of course, in Santa’s big game box there are other old games such as Sorry!, Clue, Battleship, The Game of Life, Stratego, Hungry, Hungry Hippos and the classic Monopoly, which has been around for almost as long as Santa (HO, HO, HO).

So, if you want to surprise someone on Christmas with a real memory-maker, see if you can’t find one of these to give them. And then get ready for some great family time, with cocoa and marshmallows, for sure.

Well, every time Santa sits down to write one of these letters, the elves seem to get into some kind of mischief that makes me have to check on them. Usually it is a large bang or crash, but this year it is way too quiet in the toy factory. I know they are up to something, I can just feel it. But, I better be careful. Sometimes they turn out all of the lights and when Santa walks in they all jump out at me.

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. And, remember, Santa’s favorite cookie is Chocolate Chip.

Love,your good friend, Santa Claus

Letter from Santa Claus – 2004

santaThe Baby and the Silver Bell

Boy, did winter come on fast. One day I was in my Santa Shorts and the next day I had to put on long pants and a sweater. But, that isn’t too bad. Mrs. Claus cooks up some great soups when it gets cold and Santa loves her soup. And, she also bakes fresh bread to go with the soup. Santa loves that too. I better quit talking about food, it is making me hungry and Santa has to watch his weight – HO, HO, HO.

Santa understands that you got a lot of rain, while up here at the North Pole we got a lot of snow. My elves tell me there is even a bit of early snow on the Sierra Nevada range in California.

Sometimes people worry that if there is too much snow, Santa won’t be able to make it to their house. No problem, as they say. Santa and the reindeer can travel in all kinds of weather and can find your house no matter what. The only problem Santa has is when he is asked to be somewhere before Christmas and doesn’t travel by sleigh. Now and then there is too much snow.

The one problem that Santa is having is that while the elves are trying to get everything ready for the big day, they are still waiting for letters from some of you telling Santa what you want and how good you have been. Of course, there are some people that don’t have to write letters to Santa telling what they want. They are the little babies.

Santa really loves the very little ones and, if you don’t know it, Santa understands what they are saying, no matter the language. Babies are so pure and ask Santa for something soft or fun, if anything at all. What is most important to them is that Santa brings something special for their mother or father, big brother or sister, or someone else who has been taking care of them. In spite of the fact that you might not be able to understand what they are saying, they do love and care a lot about all the people who take care of them, so remember that the next time they need to be held, hugged, watched or cared for.

One time, many, many years ago, Santa dropped down a chimney and while putting the presents under the tree, felt like someone was watching.

I turned around and found a baby looking at me from a crib right next to the still warm fireplace. Apparently I accidently woke the baby, who looked up and didn’t cry, but just smiled.

That baby knew who Santa was, all babies do. I gently tucked the baby back in, and checked the list. What did I find? Somehow, that one and only time, someone was missing from Santa’s list – that one little baby. I was very lucky that the baby had been put there by the fireplace.

Well, everyone who has been good gets a present from Santa, and all babies have been good. That is one thing Santa knows for sure. There weren’t any extra presents in the sleigh, but in my pocket was a shiny silver bell from Prancer’s harness. It had been loose and I was supposed to give to Mrs. Claus, so that she could sew it back on. But, in the rush of Christmas, I had forgotten to do that. (Mrs. Claus sometimes asks me how I can always remember which children have been good or bad, but forget simple chores, like having a bell sewed back on.)

I knew the bell was too big for the baby to swallow and didn’t have any sharp edges that might hurt the baby, so I took the bell from my pocket and gently put it in the crib, next to the baby. The baby smiled and reaching over, bumped the bell, making it ring. The baby laughed and Santa smiled. Then, up the chimney I went.

Santa has wondered ever since what happened to that bell. Maybe the baby went on to be a famous musician or even a collector of bells. Or, maybe the bell has been passed down for many generations to each new baby when it is born. Whatever has happened, I am sure that bell has made many people happy. I know that Mrs. Claus, Prancer and all the other reindeer were happy when they found out what Santa had done with it.

Well, Santa has to go check on the elves to make sure that everything is on schedule. A few minutes ago I heard a loud crash from the workshop, and better go check on it. The elves love to play silly tricks on Santa, so I better be careful.

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

Letter from Santa Claus – 2003

santa

Sweaters for the Reindeer

I hope all of you enjoyed the unusually warm weather we had in the month of October. Up here at the North Pole, it was really warm and I got to walk around in my Santa Shorts for an extra month or so. For a while Mrs. Claus and I were not even sure winter was ever going to happen, but it did.

Mrs. Claus was very worried that because we had so much warm weather, the reindeer might not be ready for the cold weather on Christmas Eve. So she started knitting woolen sweaters for them to keep them warm and toasty. Santa tried to tell her that they would be okay, because reindeer have special hairs that trap air to keep them warm. It is kind of like the insulation in your house or the filling in your coat. But, once Mrs. Claus has her mind set to do something, even Santa can’t stop her.

Well, if you don’t know it, my special reindeer are very particular about how they look and when she had finished the first couple of sweaters and taken them into the barn, the reindeer all ran and hid in the hay. They didn’t want any part of wearing sweaters, no matter how pretty and nice they were.

I had to get a group of the elves to stop working on toys for a couple of hours (don’t worry, they always catch up on their work) and go searching for the reindeer.

We finally rounded up Dasher and Dancer, the first two for which Mrs. Claus had made sweaters. They were nothing but trouble, running all over the barn and jumping up and down, but finally the elves got them into their sweaters.

Mrs. Claus thought they were just beautiful in their new, multi-colored sweaters, each with the their name in large block letters on the side.

At first the reindeer were probably as unhappy as Mrs. Claus was happy and then everyone, including the reindeer, started laughing. Dasher had on Dancer’s sweater and Dancer had on Dasher’s sweater. All that trouble we went through and didn’t even get the right sweater on the right reindeer. Sometimes I think the elves did it on purpose, just to be silly. It wouldn’t surprise me at all.

Well, kids, once it started getting cold and the days started getting shorter, Santa noticed that the reindeer were doing just fine, standing around in the open air and even enjoying the snow falling on them. I don’t think they will need the sweaters Mrs. Claus was knitting. In fact, she didn’t even complain when I told her they should be okay without the sweaters on Christmas Eve.

Now she is knitting something else out of the yarn she got for the reindeer sweaters. But, she won’t tell me what it is. She says it is a “surprise,” and Santa is really worried when she says that. So, if you happen to catch a glimpse of me on Christmas Eve, you might see me wearing a bright, multi-colored sweater with my name on the front. That’s if Mrs. Claus can catch me. Maybe I can hide with the reindeer so she can’t find me. But, knowing them, they will tell her where I am, especially Rudolph who uses his bright red nose to point me out when I try to hide.

So, in spite of the warm weather, sweaters and the reindeer hiding from us, everything is back on schedule. In fact, the elves have been working so hard lately that they are actually ahead of schedule. There should be plenty of toys for all of the good boys and girls.

Don’t forget: mind your manners, listen to your parents and teachers, be kind to each other and especially, be good. And, don’t forget that Santa likes to find cookies and milk and maybe something for the reindeer (they love a dog biscuit) when he comes down the chimney. Yes, Santa’s favorite cookie is still Chocolate Chip. Yum!

Love,your friend, Santa Claus

Letter from Santa Claus – 2002

santaSanta Meets Mr. Dickens

Hi there again. So you want to know more about the man in the red suit this year. Well, I’ll call Cal Worthington and ask him (just kidding – HO, HO, HO).

Last year Santa told you about some interesting things that happened to him during all the years he has been delivering presents and now you would like to know if Santa has ever met a famous person on Christmas Eve. Added to that, you also want to know what Santa does the other 364 days of the year when he is not delivering presents. I don’t know, that is a lot of information and Santa is busy. But, I guess I can take the time to tell you a little bit more. First Santa will tell you what he does after Christmas.

For a few weeks after Christmas, Santa and the elves work on designing the next year’s toys and making sure that all the equipment in the toy factory is working perfectly. But first the elves have to fix any toys that Santa broke during his Christmas Eve deliveries. Like Santa, the reindeer seem to be getting spryer each year and like to make loops when Santa wants they to fly straight. Each time they do some fancy flying a few toys get broken, but if Santa and his helper elves didn’t always fasten their seat belts and tie the load of toys down real good, there would be toys, elves and Santa all over everywhere.

Santa thinks it is Blitzen who is causing all the problems. The elves tell me he wants to be called Fred instead. Somehow “On Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder and Fred” isn’t real poetic. Oh well, we’ll see.

So, with all the chores done it is time for Santa, and Mrs. Claus, to head south for a bit of sunshine. No, we don’t take the sleigh and the reindeer, they can only fly on Christmas Eve. So, we drive over to the airport and fly out, like everyone else.

I am sure you are wondering why the other people on the airplane don’t recognize Santa. Well, as I told you last year, Santa himself is a “jolly old elf” who can change his size (how else would Santa get down a small chimney). But, without the Santa Suit and with the beard trimmed and maybe colored a bit, Santa looks just like a normal person who likes to eat.

Both Santa and Mrs. Claus love spending some time on the beach right after Christmas. We have to go somewhere where it is warm in January, like South America or Australia, but it is worth the trip.

Of course, Santa always takes along a lot of sunblock so that he doesn’t get sunburned (I know, then I wouldn’t need a red suit – HO, HO, HO). A sunburn always ruins a vacation, don’t you think?. But, before going to the beach,  Santa has to take care of the wind burn he gets from flying around the world in his sleigh.

Some of Santa’s elves think he should wear a ski mask to keep the wind from drying out his skin, but if you came down the stairs on Christmas Eve and saw a man in a ski mask, you might think it was a robber and call the police. Then Santa would end up in jail.

No, Santa will endure the wind on his face rather than miss Christmas. After all, that is what gives him the red cheeks and red nose that he always has in pictures (Mrs. Claus thinks that makes me cute). Besides, when he is on vacation, Santa gets to have a facial to take care of the dry skin and Santa loves to be pampered.

After some time on the beach, Santa heads back to the North Pole to check on the elves and see how things are going. Then, in the early summer, Santa plants a garden so that he and Mrs. Claus can have fresh vegetables  (Santa has a greenhouse at the North Pole so the plants don’t freeze). With that done, Santa and Mrs. Claus usually head out to visit a fair or a theme park.

Did you know that a few years ago, Santa actually visited several county fairs?

Mrs. Claus really loved the quilts and spent quite a bit of time looking at them and other handmade goods. Santa sneaked away and rode on the Tilt-a-Whirl. Santa loves carnival rides, and also ate his fill of tacos, hamburgers, corn dogs and cotton candy.

Santa didn’t try any of the carnival games, because someone who can go up a chimney with a “nod and a wink” can easily knock over milk bottles without throwing the balls and that wouldn’t be fair. Besides, Santa has a factory full of stuffed animals and Mrs. Claus would probably be very unhappy if he brought more home.

Well, from mid-summer on Santa has to start getting ready for Christmas Eve. In fact that is why Santa is so busy right now. There are lots of things to do, but I think Santa has just enough time to tell you one story about a Christmas Eve many years ago when Santa met someone famous.

If Santa recalls correctly, it was in London, England on Christmas Eve 1842. Hurrying from house to house as Father Christmas  and covered with soot from the coal fires that the Londoners used to keep warm, Santa happened into the home of the Dickens family.

Leaving the presents, Santa was about to depart when he spied a candle burning on a desk in the corner of the room. Now, unattended fire of any kind is bad, so Santa carefully tiptoed over to put the candle out. As Santa got close he saw a man with his head on the desk. He seemed to be sleeping so Santa tried not to wake him, but he tripped over a toy left lying on the floor and made quite a crash.

The man awoke with a start and Santa froze, hoping not to be seen. It was Mr. Dickens himself, who was working on a new story. He looked at Santa and said, “Father Christmas, you are probably the only one who can help me. I am writing a story about a man who hated Christmas and I am stuck.

“How do I convince someone to believe in Christmas and all the joy it brings to everyone, especially since Christmas seems to be losing its meaning to everyone?”  “Well,” Santa said, “since I am a few minutes ahead of schedule,  maybe I can help you.”

Mr. Dickens was delighted and he told Santa all about “A Christmas Carol” his new story with Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim. Mr. Dickens and Santa talked about all kinds of ways to make people believe in Christmas, but it was Dickens who came up with the idea of Scrooge being shown Christmas past, present and future to make him believe.

The next year, what did Santa find when he visited the Dickens’ house but a copy of Dickens’ new book set beside some cookies and milk. Santa loves presents too.

Speaking of cookies and milk, as Santa said last year, he gets lots and lots of treats left for him by the children and he loves all of them. And, sometimes children even leave something for the reindeer, like dog biscuits, carrots or maybe some oats, and, believe me, they appreciate it.

However, if you get up on Christmas morning and find that Santa or the reindeer did not take what you left, don’t feel bad. Santa cannot eat all of the cookies and things that are left, and often just grabs one now and then. The same goes for the reindeer or the elves that often accompany Santa. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop leaving them. Whether or not Santa or the reindeer eat what you have left for them, he still feels the love that left them there.

Whoops, there is a problem with the toy train assembly line, the freight cars are smoking and the engines are all running backward. So I have to finish now and go make sure that all of the toys are ready on Christmas Eve. But, I am glad that I was able to answer you questions and share some of my memories with you.

Remember, love each other, take care of each other and be good. Oh, also remember its soft chocolate chip cookies and milk that Santa likes.

Have a Merry Christmas……

Love, your friend, Santa Claus