Sitting at our weekly production meeting, with the elves in charge of each workshop, my thoughts kept drifting off. “Sorry Bernard, you were saying?”
“Is something bothering you Santa?” Bernard asked. “You seem to be someplace else today.”
“Talking about all the different toys and how many we need these days, got me thinking about how it all started. It was much simpler then,” I remarked shaking my head.
“You did all the work back then. How could that have been easier?” questioned Patches, head of the Doll Workshop.
“First of all, I was twelve when I first started giving gifts, so I had much more energy. But more importantly, I did not deliver toys to the entire world like I do now. Actually, I did not start delivering toys until much later.”
Confused, Clunker, manager of the Car and Truck Workshop, wondered aloud, “But if you didn’t give toys, what did you give the children?”
“Back then many people struggled to provide their families with a place to live and to put food on their tables. Having inherited a small fortune from my parents when they passed away three years earlier, I began to feel guilty.”
“I’m not sure why you would feel guilty for inheriting money from your family,” Patches stated as she looked around the table at the other elves who nodded in agreement.
“Seeing people walking around in old, dirty clothes while I wore nice, clean clothing made me feel uncomfortable. In addition, most families struggled to find food while I was eating three good meals a day.”
Sitting up suddenly in her seat, Needler, head of the Costume Workshop, understood my explanation. “So you saw their needs and started giving clothes and food to those families instead of toys.”
Smiling at the elf, I nodded in agreement adding, “True, but it wasn’t that easy. You see, back then, people were very proud and did not like accepting charity. I could not just give things to them. Instead, I would go out after midnight, sneak into homes in my home town of Patara, and leave money for those in need.”
Watching as the elves began talking among themselves, I heard Patches remark, “I thought you always gave things to children.”
“I did and still do, but it was different,” I explained. “Back then, I would always leave the money in the children’s stockings, that way the parents did not feel ashamed of accepting charity. Though things went smoothly for several months, I soon ran into a problem.””
Clunker shook his shoulders and gave me a strange look. “How could giving away money for food and clothing cause a problem?”
“When word spread of someone mysteriously leaving money for families,” I said, “the greedy people in town began staying up all night in an attempt to catch me, hoping that I would give money to them.”
“That’s unfair! They didn’t need it,” exclaimed Patches stamping her foot. “So how did you outsmart them and get into the houses without people seeing you?”
“I had to change my plan. Instead of going to the cottages in my home town, I traveled to nearby Myra and left gifts there, until the same thing happened. As time went on, I had to travel to many different towns in order not to be discovered.”
All the elves were now leaning forward around the table so they would not miss any details. “That must have been tiring to travel so far without your sleigh,” Needler remarked before the other elves had a chance. “What did you do?”
“The generosity of others took over. As word spread of the mysterious gifts, others decided to do the same thing. I was pleased to see the kindness of others” I said rubbing my hands together, “but then another form of greed showed up, and I again had change my gift giving.”
Holding the palms of her hands up with a quizzical look on her face Needler asked, “What was that Santa?”
“I began to notice that some of the parents were a bit greedy as well. While the well-being of the children was my primary concern, some parents decided to use the money I left for their own selfish reasons. That’s when I stopped giving money and started finding out what the children really needed, leaving those items next to the their beds instead of money. Seems that idea caught on even among my copy cats.”
“Didn’t that bother you?” Clunker began. “I’m wouldn’t like it.”
“Not in the least. It was never about me getting the credit; it was always about taking care of the children. With all the others doing the same thing, it meant I could expand into other cities.”
As Bernard nodded his head, remembering the old story, he spoke up. “That’s where the elves and fairy magic came into play. In order for Santa to deliver presents to more and more children, he required our help building the toys and other gifts. He also needed the magic of the Snow Fairies dust to get to homes all over the world.”
Clapping my hands together, I exclaimed, “That’s right! But the others did not stop giving their gifts either. It’s funny how things worked out though.”
With all the elves looking a bit confused, I continued, “These days parents like to add other presents to the ones I bring and do not tell the children. When they wake up and find all the presents, they believe all of them came from me, when in fact only some are from me and the others are from their parents.”
“That must make it even more rewarding for you,” Clunker stated.
“It is. Knowing how people give to others is rewarding. You see, many parents and adults do not stop with the extra presents for children. Just like in the old days, they give of themselves and donate clothes, toys, food, and other items to those in need.”
Watching the elves smile and nod their heads in agreement, I added. “Christmas is really about giving. My hope is that children will learn from the actions of their parents and give to those in need. Then as they grow into caring grownups, the world will become a kinder place to live.”
Notes From Santa
I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one in two weeks on Saturday October 1st. If you have any comments or if there is something you would like me to tell you about, please feel free to leave me a comment. Until next then . . .
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Illustration from Hill Sheperd