The Gingerbread Girl

Doheny’s face gleamed with excitement. She had worked hard to create the batter for gingerbread girl and boy cookies. Just then the buzzer went off. Slipping on an oven mitt, she took out the cookie sheet and proudly examined the girl cookies.

“Don’t eat me,” a voice whispered.

After glancing around the kitchen, she decided it was her imagination and slipped a tray of boy gingerbread cookies into the oven.

When the girl cookies were cool enough, Doheny decorated them. Using white icing, she gave each cookie eyes, a nose and mouth. Yellow icing was used for their hair, and pink icing for their dresses. Red hearts were placed down the front as buttons, and mini M&Ms adorned the bottom of every dress.

The timer buzzed as Doheny finished decorating the girl cookies. Removing the next batch, she heard, “No one will eat me!”

Turning, Doheny saw one of the gingerbread girls jump off the cookie sheet, land on the floor and run toward the door.

“STOP! COME BACK!” Doheny yelled and darted after the cookie.

The Gingerbread Girl looked at the baker, laughed, and said:

“Run as fast as you can!
I’m much faster than you
You’ll never catch me
I’m the Gingerbread girl
For sure, I am!”

And Doheny could not catch her.

So, the Gingerbread Girl jogged through the courtyard where Lyra and her dogs were playing.

“Yummy,” Lyra said, catching a whiff of gingerbread. “Stop little cookie, you’ve made me hungry, and I’d like to eat you!”

The Gingerbread Girl giggled:

“I’ve run away from Doheny,
And I can run away from you.”

Lyra and her dogs took off after the cookie who shouted back at her:

“Run as fast as you can!
I’m much faster than you
You’ll never catch me
I’m the Gingerbread girl
For sure, I am!”

And Lyra and her dogs could not catch her.

So, the Gingerbread cookie ran on and on.

Soon she sprinted by the corral where Highstep and Blitzen were.

“Stop little cookie,” Highstep shouted. “You look delicious, and I want to eat you!”

The Gingerbread Girl chuckled:

“I’ve run away from Doheny,
I’ve run away from Lyra and her dogs,
And I can run away from you.”

So, Highstep and Blitzen darted after her. As the cookie ran away, she looked back and exclaimed:

“Run as fast as you can!
I’m much faster than you
You’ll never catch me
I’m the Gingerbread girl
For sure, I am!”

And neither Blitzen nor Highstep could catch her.

When the Gingerbread Girl arrived at the toy workshop, she noticed Bernard and Fizzlepop working.

The elves saw her running and thought they could corner the cookie. Bernard called out, “Come here little Gingerbread Girl. You smell so good. Don’t run so fast, you were made to be eaten.”

The Gingerbread Girl snorted:

“I’ve run away from Doheny,
I’ve run away from Lyra and her dogs,
I’ve run away from Highstep and Blitzen,
And I can run away from you.”

So, the elves scampered after her as the Gingerbread Girl roared:

“Run as fast as you can!
I’m much faster than you
You’ll never catch me
I’m the Gingerbread girl
For sure, I am!”

And the elves could not catch her.

The little Gingerbread Girl scurried faster than ever. Soon she saw a tall building and decided to enter. Rushing down the hall, she heard Doheny, Lyra and her dogs, Highstep, Blitzen, Bernard, and Fizzlepop shouting and hurried inside another room.

The Gingerbread Girl leaned against the door to listen. Suddenly, a deep voice behind her announced, “Ho Ho Ho, did Doheny send you?”

The Gingerbread Girl stared at Santa and nodded her head. She knew there was no place to go.

“How did she get you to run?” I asked.

“I’m not sure. I think maybe she used some of your Magic Fairy Dust instead of sprinkles by mistake. You’re not going to eat me, are you?”

“NO! As much as I love cookies, I would never do that.”

“Why not? Every elf I passed tried to catch me so they could eat me,” the Gingerbread Girl stated.

“They just saw a yummy cookie. I see something special in you.” Smiling, I opened the door so we could step into the hall.

All the elves who had been chasing the Gingerbread Girl stood silent with their mouths wide open. “Santa don’t you want to eat that cookie?” asked Bernard.

“And why would I want to do that?” I replied. Giving Doheny a pat on the back, I continued, “You outdid yourself this time. I don’t know how, but making a gingerbread cookie that can run and talk is something special.”

Walking away with the Gingerbread Girl, I smiled. “Let’s visit Ms. Claus,” I suggested.

The elves looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders, and shook their heads. Finally, Highstep said, “Leave it to Santa to turn an ordeal with a runaway cookie into something special!”

“Yeah,” Lyra laughed. “But I’d love to see the surprised look on Ms. Claus’s face. Who knew that Santa could resist the temptation of a yummy cookie.”

Notes From Santa

I hope you enjoyed today’s fractured fairy tale story. Stories are posted on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, except December. My next story will post on Saturday February 4, 2023. 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 the next time . . .

To read more about the North Pole Kitchen please check out:

With a Little Help From My Friends – July 1, 2019
Not All Candy Canes Are The Same – July 22, 2019
The Great Cookie Bakeoff – July 6, 2020
Elf Secrets – November 30, 2020
Cookie Problems – December 1, 2021
Wearing The Green – March 15, 2022
The Scent of Christmas – October 1, 2022

Find Cincy Santa (@CincySanta) on:

 – Twitter – Instagram

Where’s Santa

Quinten, manager of research and development, knocked on Santa’s office door. When he didn’t answer, the elf hesitated and then opened the door. “Santa, are you in there?” he called, sticking his head inside. Finding the office dark, he closed the door. “Strange Santa isn’t here this time of day.”

Noticing that Bernard’s office was open, Quentin walked over. “Afternoon Bernard.”

The head elf smiled and pushed aside piles of papers. “Quinten, have a seat. What can I do for you?”

“I was hoping you could tell me where I might find Santa. I’ve been working on a project for him and need more information.”

Bernard began tapping his pencil on the desk like a drummer. “Hmm. I haven’t seen him since this morning. Did you try the Mail Room? He likes to check it more often the closer we get to Christmas.”

“Yeah, why didn’t I think of that,” Quentin said lightly slapping the side of his head. “Thanks.”

“You got it. I’ll let Santa know you’re looking for him.” Bernard answered, returning to his stack of papers.

Quinten strolled toward the Mail Room. Entering, he asked the workers if they had seen Santa. All of them shrugged their shoulders except Babble. “Sorry, he was here earlier to ask me to translate some letters. Try the List Vault,” Babble responded, pointing to the door on the side of the room.

Quinten nodded and walked over to read the sign above the door: Nice & Naughty List Vault. Under it was posted a warning: Do Not Enter. To speak to someone, use the intercom below.

Pressing the red button, Quinten heard, “May I help you?”

“Booker this is Quinten. I was wondering if Santa was in there with you.”

“Earlier this morning, but I haven’t seen him for several hours now.”

“If he returns, tell Santa I’m looking for him.”

“You betcha.”

Before leaving the Mail Room, he heard Babble ask, “What time is it?”

“It’s almost 2 o’clock. Why?”

“Afternoon snack time for the big guy. Check the kitchen.”

“Thanks, I’ll give that a try.”

Quinten exited the mail room and strode over to the dining hall. As he approached the kitchen door, Blanch came out. Startled by the elf’s appearance, she looked concerned. “Quinten, lunch is over, but I could make you a sandwich if . . . “

“No, no, no,” Quinten chuckled. “I was here for lunch. I’m looking for Santa and thought he might be here.”

“He was a while ago.” She laughed and started to explain. “He didn’t think I saw him when he swiped about a half dozen cookies, but after all these years, I know exactly what he’s up to. I’m not sure where he goes, but it has to be a place where Ms. Claus can’t catch him.”

Quentin howled as he thought about Santa and his love of cookies. “Thanks Blanch. I have no idea where that might be. Guess I’ll try to find him later.”

Leaving the dining hall, he wandered outside. “Afternoon Ms. Claus,” he said as he noticed her quick steps across the courtyard. “Are you in a hurry?”

“Well good afternoon, Quinten. Not really, just need to get back to the Mail Room. Lots to do.” She was about to enter the door closest to the dining hall and turned. “Why the glum face?”

“I’ve been looking for Santa and can’t find him.”

“Did you check his office?”

“I’ve searched everywhere,” he said rubbing his hands anxiously, “but no luck. I have some concerns about this project he wanted me to develop, so I need to talk with him before I work any further on it.”

Anya grabbed Quinten’s hand saying, “Come with me. I think I can help you.”

Returning to Santa’s office, she opened the door.

“See? It’s dark in there, just like before.”

Smiling, Ms. Claus reached in the room and flicked the lights on, and pushed the door all the way open. When she stepped to the side, there was Santa, sitting on the couch with an empty plate.

I looked up at my wife’s bemused face. “I Love Blanche’s cookies. No one can top her.” Smiling, I finished my last cookie

Anya rolled her eyes and chuckled, “You see Quinten, Santa has this routine where after lunch he sneaks into the kitchen and helps himself to some cookies. He thinks nobody sees him, but all the kitchen elves know what he’s doing. Then he comes back to his office to eat them in the dark.”

With a quizzical look, Quinten asked, “Why in the dark?”

“Well, you see, Santa thinks if he eats his cookies in the dark, I won’t find out. And if I don’t find out, I won’t put him on a diet.”

My face reddened as I stood up and brushed the crumbs from my beard. “I’m just trying to get into shape for Christmas.”

“I think your Santa figure is just fine!” Quentin said as he patted my belly. “But Ms. Claus has a point. Too much of a good thing isn’t always the right thing to do,” chuckled Quentin.

I giggled and shook my head. “Never thought my elves would side with Ms. Claus like this.”

Notes From Santa

I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one on Tuesday November 15th. 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 the next time . . .

To read more about Santa please check out

With A Little Help From My Friends – July 1, 2019
Santa’s Improved Sleigh – March 16, 2020
Pie Day – March 15, 2021
Is Santa Retiring – April 26, 2021
Sad Santa – January 15, 2022
Goofing Off – April 1, 2022

Find Cincy Santa (@CincySanta) on:

Facebook – Twitter – Instagram 

Illustration from My City My Choice

Christmas Goat

Sitting on a bench in the courtyard with Anya, it felt like someone was staring at me. As I looked around, I heard an elf behind me say, “See, I told you he doesn’t look like a goat.”

I turned to see Rose, an Elf University professor, standing there with Ryllae, one of our newest elves. “Someone thinks I look like a goat?” I asked as Ms. Claus laughed.

“Uh, sorry Santa,” Rose began. “I did not mean for you to hear me. Tomorrow we are talking about the traditions of different countries in school, and being from Ireland, Ryllae wondered if the stories she heard about you being Joulupukki (joulu-puk-ki), the Christmas Goat, were true”

“Many people in Finland believe that; however, there’s more to the story,” I responded.

“The elves moved in front of Anya and me as Ryllae said, “I’ve been told that Joulupukki was scary and demanded gifts from people, instead of giving gifts out.”

“That’s right, but when they began adopting a lot of the traditions from the United States, Joulupukki became Santa Claus,” Ms. Claus informed Ryllae.

“They also call me Father Christmas, and many still call me Joulupukki,” I insisted.

“The Finnish have not adopted all of the U.S. traditions though,” Rose warned Ryllae as she shook her finger in the air. “They still believe Santa lives in Korvatunturi Mountain, not the North Pole.”

Ryllae shook her head in confusion. “Isn’t that where most of your elves come from, Santa?”

“It is. Many believe that when I met the elves at Korvatunturi Mountain, I just stayed there. They also think I live there so I wouldn’t have far to go in order to leave gifts for them, which I do early on Christmas Eve.”

Scratching her head, Ryllae gave me a strange look and finally asked, “Wouldn’t the children still be awake and see you?”

“That’s part of their tradition. Christmas Eve is bigger than Christmas Day for the people in Finland.” I motioned to the elves to take a seat on the bench across from us. “It all starts with a traditional breakfast of rice porridge, topped with sugar and cinnamon, and plum fruit juice. Oh, and they place a single almond inside the porridge.”

“Just one almond?”

“Just one. Whoever gets the almond will enjoy good luck for the next year.” I could see the excitement building in the eyes of the elves. “After breakfast they decorate their Christmas tree, and around 5:00 they settle in for their Christmas dinner.”

“Wait a minute,” Ryllae interrupted puzzled. “You said this was Christmas Eve. How could they eat Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve?”

“For them that is when they celebrate with family. As I said, Christmas Eve is the most important day for them.”

“Do they have their turkey dinner then?” the young elf asked.

“It is when they have their big meal, but it’s not turkey. Christmas dinner for the Finnish is usually a leg of pork, ham, or cured salmon served with root vegetable casseroles and a mixed beetroot salad.”

Starting to squirm in her seat, Ryllae asked, “Do the children go to bed after dinner so that you can deliver their gifts?”

“As Joulupukki, or Santa, I visit children in their homes after dinner. When I enter, I will ask if any children live there. When they reply loudly, I then ask if they have been good throughout the year. Upon hearing their reply, I will hand out gifts directly to the children.” Pausing, I looked at Ryllae’s stunned face.

“You see each child in Finland to give them their presents?!” the new elf exclaimed, her eyes growing larger.

“Not all of them. I choose different families each year to visit. I leave the presents for the other children under their Christmas trees.”

“That’s so different. It’s not like other countries,” Ryllae muttered.

I smiled at the confused elf. “You’re right. The beauty of Christmas is that each country can celebrate based on its own traditions.”

Beginning to realize how unique Christmas was, Ryllae nodded as she began to understand. “But if Christmas Eve is such a big day, what do they do on Christmas?” the student elf wondered aloud.

“Christmas Day is really important to the Finnish families as well,” Rose added. “Everyone tries to be home for Christmas.”

“There really is no better way to celebrate Christmas than with family,” Ms. Claus added. “One tradition I love is that since Finland gets dark around 3:00 in the afternoon in most areas on Christmas, families will visit those who are no longer with them and place a lantern at their graves. It makes such a beautiful Winter Wonderland of love!” Ms. Claus explained as she gave me a hug.

“That’s right!” I exclaimed. “Christmas Day is a time for rest and relaxation with the family. In addition to visiting the cemetery, they like reading books and eating leftovers from Christmas Eve.”

Ryllae wanted to know more, and asked, “I thought Christmas was also a time to be with friends. When do they celebrate with friends?”

“They do that the day after Christmas, which is called Boxing Day in many parts of the world. But there is more to that day,” Ms. Claus added smiling.

“What else do they do on Boxing Day?”

“Sports and outdoor activities like skiing are a big part,” Ms. Claus explained.  “For many, it is also time to share their good fortune with those less blessed. The Finns make donations to charitable organizations, or they may choose to help feed families. It’s all about being a gift giver, just like Santa.”

Ryllae’s face beamed with understanding. “So even though some traditions vary from country to country, one thing remains the same. It’s not about getting something,” the elf continued as she gleefully took Santa’s hand. “It’s about giving to those who do not have as much as we do. I like that!”

“I think you have it Ryllae. It’s not just the nourishment or gifts you are giving them. You are also showing others that someone loves and cares about them,” I responded.

“You see,” Rose began looking directly at Ryllae. “It does not matter if you are a plump, jolly old elf, or a scary- looking goat. It is how you treat others that really counts in the end.”

Notes From Santa

I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one on Saturday November 5th. 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 the next time . . .

Find Cincy Santa (@CincySanta) on:
Twitter – Instagram

Illustration of Santa Goat from Vivian Acres 

Picture of Finnish cemetery from Anne Livia 

The Scent of Christmas Magic

“What’s that aroma?!” I exclaimed. “It reminds me of …”

“Christmas,” my wife answered as we made our way towards our room. “It’s that time of year when the kitchen elves polish their baking skills in preparation for the season.”

“Then it must be October,” I replied again inhaling that wonderful smell. Grabbing Anya’s hand, I steered her toward the kitchen. The fragrance of baking cookies and pastries spread the closer Ms. Claus and I came to the dining area.

“Why Santa and Ms. Claus, it’s so nice to see you this time of night,” greeted Blanch who managed the kitchen and dining room. “I can’t imagine what caught your attention.” She winked and opened the kitchen door.

“AMAZING!” I exclaimed as my eyes scanned the room. Elves were everywhere wearing aprons and mixing ingredients. “I don’t think we have ever witnessed such a flurry of baking skills.”

“I never realized how many elves got involved in this activity,” remarked Ms. Claus.

“For ages my staff created new recipes for Christmas cookies, pies, and cakes,” Blanche described. “This year, I decided to open it up to all elves as long as they signed up for baking time. I was shocked to see how many were interested. Now I keep the kitchen open late into the evening.”

Skimming my eyes around the kitchen, I chuckled. “Aren’t those the twin elves, Scotty and Bryan, who make wooden toys?” I asked pointing in their direction.

Nodding, Blanche led us to them. Weaving our way through all the work stations, Anya and I noticed the concentration on the faces of the elves. However, they paid no attention to the amount of flour and sugar that powdered the floor. Nor did they mind the culinary clutter of butter, eggs, and a variety of spices that littered the tables.

Soon whispers of “Santa and Ms. Claus are in the kitchen” slipped through the room as many elves stopped to watch us. Arriving at Scotty and Bryan’s table, we remained quiet as they cracked three eggs and added them to the batter. “Santa! Ms. Claus! We didn’t see you standing there. Sorry.”

“No problem,” I said. “Ms. Claus and I wondered what you two were making. I can see the cup of raisins and a cup of walnuts you intend to add. What is the name of your creation.”

“Granny’s Surprise,” Scotty announced proudly. “It’s a coffee cake recipe our Gram gave us ages ago, but I’m not sure if we remember it correctly. It tasted awful the first time we made it.” Embarrassed, the twins dropped their eyes to avoid looking at us.

Blanche nodded. “It was pretty bad. No one liked it, so I encouraged them to try again. This time,” she explained, “it even smells better,” and patted both of them on the back.

As I stuck my finger into the bowl to get a taste of the batter, Ms. Claus slapped my hand. “Santa! What do you think you are doing?”

“I just wanted to see if it was as good as it smelled. Every baker needs a taster, and I consider myself one of the best,” I answered and licked the batter from my finger. “Wow! “I exclaimed, “I’m glad you didn’t give up.  I can’t wait to sample your coffee cake.”

Blushing, Bryan raised his head and grinned. “Thanks Santa. We’ll be sure to save you and Ms. Claus a piece.”

“We appreciate that,” Anya replied, “especially since we are looking forward to tasting Granny’s Surprise.” Then glaring at me, she added, “When it’s finished.”

Winding our way through the room, Anya spotted Wanda, a new elf who worked in the doll-making workshop. As soon as she pulled out a sheet of cookies from the oven, the scent was overpowering. “It feels like Christmas,” my wife whispered.

Wanda smiled, “I agree Ms. Claus. My mom would make a batch of these when a family member became sad.”

“Ho! Ho! Ho! I can see why, Wanda. Even a scent of Christmas can bring joy to those who believe,” I remarked.

“Wait till you taste them,” the elf announced. Lifting two of them from the tray, she gave one to my wife and me.

“Oh my!” murmured Anya as her eyes closed after taking a bite.

“Fantastic!” I shouted while the vision of a decorated pine tree flashed into my head.

“I’m not only smelling Christmas, but feeling it as well,” Anya explained. “How did you do that?”

“In the old country, we take Christmas to another level. We use the five senses – sight, taste, smell, touch and hearing- and merge them into everything we make. By combining taste and smell, my mom enabled those who ate one of her cookies to see Christmas in their minds and find joy in their hearts. Pretty special,” she ended. Nibbling one of her cookies, she smiled.

“Do you mind sharing your mom’s recipe?” I asked.

“Do you mind sharing how you have been able to spread so much joy for hundreds of years?” Wanda replied with a twinkle in her eye.

I shook my head and sighed. “You’re right, some things have to remain a secret. Looks like I will have to wait for you to make these cookies to enjoy them. Thank you, Wanda, for this magical gift.”

Notes From Santa

I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one on Saturday October 15th. 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 the next time . . .

To read more about the North Pole Kitchen please check out:

With a Little Help From My Friends – July 1, 2019
Not All Candy Canes Are The Same – July 22, 2019
The Great Cookie Bakeoff – July 6, 2020
Elf Secrets – November 30, 2020
Cookie Problems – December 1, 2021
Wearing The Green – March 15, 2022

Find Cincy Santa (@CincySanta) on:

Facebook – Twitter – Instagram

Illustration by Fife Today

When It All Began

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 . . .

To read more about Snow Fairies please check out:

Lost Fairy Dust – May 11, 2020
Meeting Queen Gwendolen – May 25, 2020

To read more about Elves please check out:

The Story of Elves – May 4, 2020
Workshop Improvement – August 23, 2021

Find Cincy Santa (@CincySanta) on:

Facebook – Twitter – Instagram

Illustration from Hill Sheperd 

Paradise Island

Walking hand in hand, Ms. Claus and I crossed the parking lot to the loud noises and brash sights of an unusual place. Twisted metal tubes painted red, blue, green, and yellow dazzled our eyes as we strolled through the entrance “Isn’t it amazing?” I asked Ms. Claus.

With a look of concern, Anya responded, “I thought we were going to Mason, Ohio. How did we end up in Paris? What is all that stuff around the Eiffel Tower?”

“HO HO HO, we are at Kings Island in Mason. That’s their 1/3 scale model of the Eiffel Tower, and all those curved strips of metal are coaster rides.”

“Interesting,” remarked Ms. Claus. “I’ve never seen anything like this place.”

“I know,” I responded. “Some of my J.A.T.S. (Jolly Assistants to Santa) from Cincinnati told me we should see the live shows and fireworks celebrating Kings Island’s 50th Anniversary. Now that we have arrived, I think we should begin our day at the theater.”

“What fun!!” my wife responded as I grabbed her hand.

Hurrying towards the show house, we arrived in time to find our seats before the hall darkened. An odd-looking usher with no legs began floating around and began talking. “Welcome to Kings Island Theater,” he announced. “Phantom Theater was once a popular dark ride where they mimicked the end of live theater and the rise of movie theaters. Tonight, we have brought the characters from the ride to life for this show. So, sit back and enjoy the performance.”

When the curtain rose, Ms. Claus and I watched as the characters danced and sang. “I wish I could get you to dance with me like that,” Anya whispered.

Patting her hand, I spoke softly in her ear. “That will never happen, my dear. Instead, you’ll have to be happy with sleigh rides.”

“That’s one thing I’ll never get tired of doing,” Anya replied giving me a kiss on the cheek.

As the show continued, we were impressed with the costumes, the music, and the comic routines. When the show ended, we stood up and clapped. “What a performance!” I exclaimed.

“I agree, excellent. What’s next?” Anya asked, impatient to keep going.

“I’d like to see the ‘Off the Rails show’,” I answered. “If we hurry, I think we can make the next performance.”

By jogging, we arrived on time. Out of breath, we took our seats in the stands before the stage exploded with activity. Gymnasts bounced on trampolines. Other performers rode bikes or scooters, and some even skated. Startled, we watched them jump from one half pipe to another over part of the stage.

When one of the bicyclists did a complete flip in the air between pipes, I looked at Anya and exclaimed, “Did you see that? I never thought someone could do what he did on a bike.”

Before Ms. Claus could reply, a rider took off on his scooter and in mid-air, spun it around in a complete circle. Then he managed to get his feet back on it before landing smoothly on the next half pipe.

Excited, Ms. Claus pointed to the guys on skates. “They make it look so easy gliding down one runway and up another.” We continued to watch as an eight member drum corps stunned the audience with their skillful drum stick movements. “They never missed a beat,” I said shaking my head. “Fantastic!” When the show concluded, the crowd gave all the performers a standing ovation.

“I wish the elves could see how these youngsters and 20 somethings are using the bikes, scooters, and skates they make,” I told Anya as we exited the grandstand.

“I think we might be better off if they didn’t.” Looking at my surprised face, she continued, “If they saw them perform, the elves would not stop until they got their own bike-skate park. You would never get any work out of them.”

“You’re probably right. But I believe if they saw their skills, it might challenge them to be more creative when making future bikes, scooters, and skates,” I explained.

While wandering further into the park, we rode the swings, the Carrousel, the dodgems and even took a ride on the train. When I spotted Mystic Timbers, however, I was intrigued. “How about going on that coaster with me before the fireworks begin?” I asked Mrs. Claus.

“Humm, I’m not sure,” Anya replied when we entered the line. “I might live to regret this.”

Giving her a hug, I smiled. “Maybe, but if you don’t try it, you’ll never know what it feels like to ride a wooden coaster at 53 MPH. Where’s your spirit of adventure?”

Thirty minutes later, we climbed into our seat. Struggling to get the bar in place, I heard the attendant laugh. “Better suck it in Santa, or give up eating all those cookies,” he teased as he pushed the lap bar down which clicked and locked.

“I’ll remind him about that around Christmas,” Anya called out as the rollercoaster started to move.

Climbing to the top of the track was quick. Then the coaster sped down a huge curved hill before going up a second one. Heading into the thick woods at a constant speed, the coaster twisted from side to side on a banked, curved track. When the ride abruptly stopped, the train was sitting in front of a shed. As it crept inside the shadowy darkness, many people on the ride began to scream, and I felt Anya grab my arm. What came next was straight out of a haunted house.

“What did you think? FUN! I can’t wait to tell the elves.”

Giving me a strange look, my wife sighed. “Fun for you, yes; for me, not so much. I kept shutting my eyes, especially at the end. But I am betting the elves would have a blast.”

Suddenly a crackle of an announcement came over the park’s speakers. Kings Island Fireworks will begin in 15 minutes. “Come on Santa,” Ms. Claus yelled, “This is what I love. Let’s find a good place to watch.”

After a brisk walk, we ended up by the fountain on International Street where Anya sat at one of the tables. “Settle down Santa and stop being so fidgety?” she said as I kept looking up at the sky.

Just then a loud bang from the first starburst echoed. “There! Behind the Eiffel Tower!” I exclaimed Snatching Anya’s hand, we moved to an open space for a good view.

Suddenly, to the right of the fireworks, dozens of blue lights appeared. Darting through the sky, they spelled out ‘Kings Island.’ Moving again and changing colors, the drones formed a gold ‘50’ with a blue Eiffel Tower between the numbers.

Shifting our eyes from the fireworks to the drones, Anya and I watched as the image of a giant Snoopy walked to the left and turned into another Snoopy atop his dog house flying to fight the Red Baron.

When the entire display ended, I stood there staring at the dark sky. After a few minutes Ms. Claus nudged me. “Dear, I think the show is over.”

“I’ve never seen anything like this, before. What Kings Island did with those drones was astonishing. I can’t wait to show the elves the video I took of them. I bet they never thought anyone would be able to do that with the gadgets they create.”

Strolling to the exit, I slipped my arm over Anya’s shoulder. “I’m glad there are places like Kings Island. It has a bit of magic to it where the child in grown-ups has a place to get out and play for a day.”

“Just like you did today,” my wife said with a broad smile.

Notes From Santa

I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one in two weeks on Thursday  September 15th. 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 . . .

To read more about Santas Summer visits please check out:

Just Part of the Family – August 26, 2019
Santa’s Waterpark Adventure – September 9, 2019
Stories From Santa & Ms. Claus on Vacation (Part 1) – September 23, 2019
Stories From Santa & Ms. Claus on Vacation (Part 2) – September 30, 2019
Stories From Santa & Ms. Claus on Vacation (Part 3) – October 7, 2019
Amusement Park Adventure – July 27, 2020
The Adventure Begins – July 5, 2021
Camping With JATS – August 15, 2022

Find Cincy Santa (@CincySanta) on:

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Camping With JATS

“Are you ready Anya?” I asked as she closed the door to our apartment.

“You bet, Santa. I would never have dreamed that some of your JATS (Jolly Assistants To Santa). would invite us to go camping with them and their wives. I’m so excited to begin our next adventure,” my wife answered.

Grabbing our bags, we strolled to the reindeer barn where Highstep had the Dulcet, Ms. Claus’s sleigh, ready. “Are you sure you know how to handle this, Highstep,” I teased while my wife and I settled into our seats.

“Who do you think has to test-drive these sleighs after they have been repaired?” Highstep laughed. “So, settle back and enjoy the ride.”

Directing the team of reindeer to take to the sky, Highstep turned on the guiding compass and set the course for southeastern Kentucky where we would pick up our camper and drive to Carter Caves. “It will be unusual to go camping with others,” I remarked, watching the sun rise.

Anya nodded. “True, but it will be fun to have company and learn more about these jolly assistants called the Kentucky Santas.”

“I think this will be a lively group of people,” I responded. “But I’m beginning to wonder what the rest of the campers at the park will think of a bunch of guys with white beards.”

“Look at it this way,” chuckled Anya while slipping her arm through mine. “You will blend right in, and no one will know that the real Santa is camping just like they are!”

When we arrived at Carter Caves, the Kentucky Santas and their wives greeted us with cheers. “So glad you could make it!” Terrance exclaimed and directed me to #34 where Anya and I parked our camper. Joining in to help, my assistants soon had us set up in time for lunch.

“This is so kind of you to invite us,” Anya remarked sitting down at the picnic table.

“Well….” Terrance’s wife, Tina began, “we were shocked that you accepted our invitation.”

“Why would you feel that way,” Anya responded. “Santa and I love to camp, and sharing it with some of his JATS and their wives makes it even more exciting.”

Relieved, Tina smiled. “Well…. I think you’re going to love what we have planned. Today we intend to relax, enjoy one another’s company, and have a campfire tonight. Tomorrow we’ll go on a tour of one of the caves and then hike the following day. I also think that we…”

Before Tina could finish, I spotted seven children walking our way. “Which one of you is really Santa?” the tallest boy asked as they carefully looked at the five of us in beards.

“Well, that depends on how you see them,” Kasey, one of the wives explained

‘All children know Santa when they see him,” Andy, another Kentucky Santa, remarked as he walked over towards the children. “It’s something special that children recognize about the jolly, old elf.”

“Well, then,” the youngest girl answered, “I think it’s you,” and pointed in my direction.

“Greta, how can you tell? They all have beards,” another girl said shaking her head.

“His eyes twinkle, just like it says in my Christmas book,” she answered, stamping her foot.

“Kids!” a loud voice announced, “enough of this. These people came to camp and have fun, not be badgered with a bunch of questions. I’m sorry,” the young woman apologized turning in our direction, “but my son and daughter and their cousins have been pestering my husband and me since all of you arrived and set up camp. Then they formed this posse and came over to check for themselves who you really were,” she finished throwing up her hands. Grinning the mom added, “Hope you don’t mind.”

Laughing and talking at the same time, my JATS. and their wives walked over to the children as Ernie, the JAT with the longest beard, began to explain why all of us were there.

I was about to join them when I noticed Greta standing beside my camp chair. “Are you really Santa,” she whispered.

Looking at her, I replied in a low voice, “What does your heart say?”

Pondering my question, Greta smiled. “I think you are, but why are YOU here?”

“Can’t Santa have a vacation with friends?” I asked. “After all, I do work hard and so do my elves. And I believe that if you have done everything to help make Christmas special, your efforts should be rewarded, don’t you?”

Greta again thought about what I had said and gave a solemn nod of her head. “You’re right Santa, and I’m glad that you came here to have fun and relax. But did Ms. Claus come with you?”

Looking at her worried face, I grinned. “She certainly did. She’s over there,” and pointed in Anya’s direction.

“Ms. Claus looks kind and happy.”

“I’ll tell her that. She’ll appreciate what you said,” I replied and motioned for her to come closer. “Now tell me, what do you want for Christmas?”

Greta clapped her hands and jumped in my lap, “Santa…. I didn’t think you’d ever ask me!!”

Notes From Santa

I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one September 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 then . . .

To read more about Santa camping please check out:

RV Camping – May 24, 2021
The Adventure Begins – July 5, 2021

To read more about J.A.T.S. please check out:

Santa’s Summer Exploration – August 5, 2019;
 J.A.T.S. Training – March 2, 2020;
The White Feather – May 18, 2020;
The Real Santa – August 17, 2020;
Is Santa Retiring? – April 26, 2021

Find Cincy Santa (@CincySanta) on:

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Sweet Treats

A full moon hung over the village fire pit, while the elves engaged in their favorite past time: making S’mores. “They eat so many that I’m surprised they haven’t turned into one,” I told Ms. Claus, laughing.

“I think they love toasting marshmallows, and the S’mores provide a reason to do it. But as for me!”  she exclaimed throwing her hands up in the air, “my sweet craving has to be ice cream, especially chocolate ice cream with chocolate chips. How about you?”

“Humm,” I responded, “now that you mention it, ice cream does sound tempting. Remember when we visited Ben & Jerry’s in Vermont?”

As Anya nodded, I began licking my lips. “What a tasty adventure that was. Now I can’t get Chunky Monkey out of my mind.”

Suddenly, the elves started gathering around us. “Did you say we’re going to Ben & Jerry’s?” one of them shouted. Then, several of them began yelling out their favorite flavors. ‘Cherry Garcia,’ ‘Half Baked,’ and ‘Phish Food’ seemed to be the most popular. Then all the elves broke out singing: “I scream – You scream – we all scream for ice cream!”

“What’s your favorite, Santa?” Quentin yelled from the back once the elves finished.

“That would have to be ‘Chunky Monkey’.”

“Yuk, bananas in ice cream,” another elf shouted.

“You bet!” I exclaimed. “With chunks of fudge and walnut – there’s nothing better. What about you Ms. Claus?”

“I could go for some ‘Chocolate Therapy.’ Chocolate ice cream with chocolate cookies & swirls of chocolate pudding.”

“Ho Ho Ho – what a surprise,” I responded. “You are a chocolate lover for sure!”

“I’d like some ice cream that tasted just like the S’mores we make,” Lyra told all the elves.

“You’re in luck then,” Duffer informed her. “Ben & Jerry’s make a toasted marshmallow ice cream with chocolate cookie and graham cracker swirls and fudge flakes. They call it ‘Gimme S’more’”

“Do they make one with white chocolate and maple caramel swirl,” Hanna began. “Where the swirl is nice and chewy, but smooth like maple syrup when you pour it over snow.”

“That is interesting,” I said. “What would you call it?”

“Why, Sugar on Snow, of course!”

“That sounds good,” Sledge chimed in, “but what about vanilla ice cream with maple syrup swirls and bacon bits? We could call it Wake and Bacon!”

“You just gave me a great idea for a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream!” exclaimed Smokey, my oldest elf.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Well, I really like breakfast, so what would you think about maple ice cream that had fluffy pancake chunks, salty bacon bits and a chocolate syrup swirl? I’d call it Breakfast in Bed!”

“I think you’d have to stay in bed after eating something like that in the morning!” Bernard responded shaking his head.

“All of you are just being silly, now!” Anya cried. “Who would eat any of your crazy mixtures?”

“I don’t know,” I began as I rubbed my tummy. “Ben & Jerry’s might like these blends. They have always been ingenious with their ice cream flavors.”

“I’m sure they would have to draw a line with these ideas,” Ms. Claus remarked as she pretended to gag.

“I think we should let the elves be inventive and come up with creations for the Vermont kings of ice cream. Let’s make tomorrow night the Creamy Concoction Contest and take all the suggestions the elves have and submit them to Ben & Jerry’s.”

Fizzlepop raised his hand and yelled, “Are you offering a prize for the best idea?”

I rubbed my chin for a few seconds thinking, then said, “We will submit all the ideas and if Ben & Jerry’s decide to make any of them, I will give that elf a month off to visit his or her family in Korvatuntori Mountain.”

Cheering, all the elves started jumping up and down. As they went back to making their S’mores, I heard one say “Macaroni ice cream – I’ll call it Mac and Freeze!” while another shouted, “candied pepperoni chunks in vanilla ice cream- Pepperilla Ice Cream!”

Anya grabbed my hand and locked her fingers around mine. “Look at what you started now Santa!” Pausing for a moment she added, “Are you really going to give an elf an entire month off? You do realize the season will be here soon and you always wish you had more help.”

“Ho Ho Ho” I chuckled. “Do you think the Ben and Jerry’s Company will take any of these concoctions? Seriously!”

Laughing, Anya finally replied, “You never know! Remember when we went back to walk through the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream graveyard? Some of those weird creations had a short life and ended up buried there. What a hoot it was to read the descriptions of ice creams that had met their fate.”

“Whether the elves produce a winner doesn’t matter, but their creativity does. I bet one of them will succeed,” I responded grinning. “If they do, that means we will have to make another trip to Vermont to do more ice cream tasting. I like that!”

“Should have known that you had another motive for challenging the elves. Aren’t you the sly one Mr. Claus!” Anya exclaimed punching my shoulder. “Never a dull moment with you.”

Notes From Santa

I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one on August 15th. 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. 

Find Cincy Santa (@CincySanta) on:

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Be sure to check out Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream 

False Alarm

After our meeting, Carter, the mailroom manager, and I headed outside to check on the sleighs and reindeer that transport the mail. As we walked past the paddock, I stopped. “Do you smell that?” I asked tilting my head back to get a better whiff.

Carter sniffed several times as he turned his head in various directions. “All I smell is the scent of reindeer manure and hay.”

Shaking my head I said, “It’s probably nothing. Let’s head over to the barn.”

Coming close to the entrance, I stopped for a second time. “There it is again! Surely you can smell it now.”

“I do!” Carter exclaimed. Pinching his nose to avoid the smell, he added, “That’s horrible! What is it, Santa?”

“The smell of spoiled dirt and sulfur can only mean one thing!” I paused as I turned, sniffing in all directions to see where the scent was strongest. “Malodor!”

“Malodor, the Gremlin?”

“It has to be him. His scent is a sure give away. Ever since I chose elves to help me instead of Gremlins, he only comes around to cause trouble for us.”

While nervously searching the area with his eyes, Carter asked, “What should we do, Santa?”

“Run back to the administration building and tell Bernard to get over here pronto and to bring Fizzlepop and Quentin with him,” I instructed the elf.

Waiting for the team to arrive, I looked around the pasture to see if I could find any signs of the little Gremlin.  It wasn’t long before I noticed the elves running along the fence line on the other side and turned around to meet them.

As I approached, Quentin began asking, “Santa, are you . . .”

“I’m sure. I can smell that varmint anywhere! Malodor is here somewhere,” I insisted. “When checking the corral, I noticed that his foul stench increased the closer I got to the barn. He has to be in there!”

“What’s the plan?” Fizzlepop asked.

“You and Quinten enter through the North entrance.” Then turning to face Bernard and Carter, I directed them to the South entry. “I’ll take the side door. But remember as you move toward these access points, search every square inch. If you find him, be sure to holler.”

Everyone gave a thumbs up and progressed toward their assigned opening. As I approached the side door, I looked behind me and away from the barn just in case the Gremlin had made his way outside. Once I reached the doorway, I turned the knob and pulled, making as little noise as possible.

Sticking my head inside, I surveyed the area until I was sure it was safe. Sneaking inside, I closed the door behind me. A loud creaking sound startled me, then I realized that it had come from the old door and waited for the silence to return.

When it did, I listened for movement around me. Hearing nothing but the calm stillness of the reindeer barn, I moved forward to the tack room on my right. Entering, I tested the air with a quick sniff to see if I could detect Malodor’s scent. Nothing. Just to be sure, I circled the room, checking behind the harnesses and reins, but avoided touching any of the bells for the sleighs. Nothing was out of place.

Meanwhile, Quinten and Fizzlepop approached a couple bales of hay and a sack of reindeer feed next to Donner’s stall. Noticing how the scent became more intense, Quinten asked, “Can you peek around the hay to see if Malodor is in there?”

“All I see is Donner lying in the corner, but the rest of the stall is empty.”

On the other side of the barn, Bernard and Carter thought they spotted a shadow moving across the aisle into Vixen’s stall. Following it, they detected that the stench grew stronger. Peering between the slats of the gate, Bernard shook his head and smiled, “The shadow we saw was just Vixen walking over to get a drink from her trough.”

“Humm,” Carter responded, sticking his head into the stall. “There’s something familiar about the smell. Do you really think it’s Malodor?”

“I certainly trust Santa to know. After all he has had several encounters with him. Let’s keep searching.”

Though I had heard the elves whispering, none of them had sounded an alarm, so I continued hunting for Malodor. Leaving the tack room, I was hit with the strong smell of sulfur. I knew he had to be close. Then I heard a loud thud from Cupid’s pen next to me. Stooping as low as I could, I slid along his stall. When I got to the gate, I leaned my back against the wall and just listened. In addition to the stench, I could hear a lot of rustling, more than one reindeer would make.

Inching myself up the wall, I reached for the gate. Pulling it open, I jumped inside and hollered, “Gotcha!”

My face must have been as red as my Christmas suit when I realized that in the stall with Cupid was Highstep.

“What in the world are you up to, Santa?” my reindeer manager yelled.

Placing my index finger on my lips, I hissed, “Be quiet. We think Malodor is in the barn somewhere.”

Highstep whispered in my ear, “How do you know that?”

“Can’t you detect that sulfur stench? I know Malodor’s scent when I smell it. He has to be here somewhere.”

Just then all the other elves came running up to Cupid’s stall. “We heard you holler ‘Gotcha’ and figured you caught the Gremlin,” Bernard shouted. “Where is he?”

“Well, my friends, I was just about to explain to Santa, that the stench is not from Malodor. Follow me.”

As the elves and I walked with Highstep toward the indoor reindeer paddock, Quentin demanded, “If not, then what is it?”

“Well, it seems that last night after the elves had their yearly Big Bean Bash, no one thought about cleaning the pots used to make the different beans and left them here,” Highstep explained as he pointed toward all the pans.

“Let me guess,” Fizzlepop started, “the reindeer got into the leftover beans.”

“You got it,” Highstep replied, grinning.

All the elves threw their hands up in the air and laughed while leaving the area. “You know,” remarked Cater grinning. “I thought there was something familiar about that odor.”

Shrugging my shoulders, I chuckled. “Sorry. I guess my nose doesn’t always know.”

As they strolled away, I could hear Bernard tell the others, “You’d think after riding behind nine reindeer every Christmas Eve, Santa would be able to tell the difference between the smell of Malodor and a reindeer fart! Wait till Ms. Claus hears about this.”

Notes From Santa

I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one August 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 week . . .

To read more about Malodor please check out:

Sleigh Problems – January 4, 2021
Cookie Problems – December 1, 2021

Find Cincy Santa (@CincySanta) on:

Facebook – Twitter – Instagram

Missing Friends

Taking our usual walk for the day, Ms. Claus and I wandered towards the hillside outside the village. As we made our way around a small snowbank, Anya and I found Polar Pete and Nippy lying on the ground. “Good morning!” I exclaimed, happy to find my friends.

Though neither one of them moved or spoke, Anya invited them to join us on our walk. “The morning is so calm and beautiful it would be a shame not to enjoy hiking and exploring beyond the village today.

Knowing how much Nippy and Polar Pete loved discovering what the morning had to offer, I was surprised when Nippy rolled over onto his back and looked at us. “We don’t feel like doing anything anymore.”

Surprised, I sat next to Nippy and shook my head. “That does not sound like the polar bear and snowman I know. How can we help?”

“Not even Santa can bring someone back,” Nippy responded as he sat up.

“That’s right Nippy,” Pete said as he sat on his hind legs. “Once a friend is gone, they are gone forever!”

Observing the two buddies, Anya stood up suddenly and exclaimed, “Santa, I think I know what’s going on! Polar Pete and Nippy miss Wiggle and Waddle!”

“So that’s it! Why didn’t you tell us? After-all, Ms. Claus and I miss them too.”

“They were so much fun to be with!” Pete exclaimed.

“You could always count on them for a good time!” Nippy added.

Understanding the problem now, Anya explained, “You know just because someone moves away does not mean they are gone for good. Besides you still have each other.”

I smiled at Anya, then looked at the pair on the ground. “What if I told you I could fix this for you?”

Both our North Pole friends perked up as they stared at me, waiting for an explanation.

“First,” I began, “you need to remember that Wiggle and Waddle returned to the Antarctic because they longed to see their family and friends.”

“It would not be right to have them come back here,” Anya added. “They belong there.”

“If they can’t return, how can you help us?” Pete demanded.

“Simple. How did the penguins get home?”

“We took them back in your sleigh,” Nippy answered.

Suddenly Polar Pete began getting excited, jabbing at his buddy. “I get it! Don’t you see Nippy? Santa is going to take us there to visit with them!”

Jumping up and down, the two friends chanted, “We’re going to see our friends; We’re going to see our friends . . .”

“Of course, I’m going too, right Santa?” stated Anya as she winked at me.

“Absolutely! Let’s find Highstep,” I answered, grabbing her hand as the four of us ran down the hill toward the reindeer barn.

Within the hour, Highstep had my sleigh ready for the journey to Antarctica. “Let’s make this happen,” I yelled giving the reins a snap. The reindeer snorted and galloped along the ground until the red fairy dust took effect. As the team raced across the sky, the four of us settled into our seats. “Look out Antarctica, we’re coming your way!” Polar Pete bellowed as the rest of us cheered.

A few hours later while approaching the southern continent, Nippy became worried. “How will we be able to find them?” he asked.

“That’s a good question,” Ms. Claus began. “They all look the same.”

“Giving Anya a pat on her knee, I responded. “We are going to land in the same area where we left them; then all we have to do is wait. I figure Wiggle and Waddle miss us just as much as we miss them, and when they see the sleigh land, they will come running . . . or should I say waddling.” The four of us laughed as I pointed to our landing spot. “Let’s go down.”

Once on the ground, we all climbed out of the sleigh. “I’m pretty sure that is their Colony there,” I informed the group as I leaned up against the sleigh. “If I’m right, and they saw us land . . .”

Nippy and Pete began jumping up and down as they spotted the two penguins. “Look! Here they come!”

Watching Wiggle and Waddle sliding their way toward us, I yelled, “Come on, let’s go meet them!”

Being the fastest, Pete charged across the ice and snow. After the three of them embraced each other, they soon rolled around in the snow. Then, Nippy shouted, “Wiggle – Waddle!” as he arrived, wrapping his hockey stick arms around them.

Finally reaching the group, Ms. Claus and I warmly embraced the two penguins. “We certainly have missed both of you!” exclaimed Anya. “What a treat to see you and….’’ Before she could finish, two additional penguins shyly appeared.

“Wiggle and I were just talking about how much we miss everyone at the North Pole as well,” laughed Waddle as he and his friend scooted next to the other two penguins.”

Even though Polar Pete, Nippy, Ms. Claus and I knew that finding mates was a big reason for Wiggle and Waddle’s return to Antarctica, we were still surprised to see the four of them together.

“I’d like you to meet two special penguins,” said Waddle proudly. “This is my mate Chilly, and this is Sadie, Wiggle’s mate. Chilly, Sadie, this is Ms. Claus, Santa, Polar Pete, and Nippy, our friends from the Arctic.”

“It’s so good to finally meet the four of you. The boys have told us so much about you,” Sadie said.

“We feel like we already know you,” Chilly added.

“By the way, I am glad you showed up during the half-light of day instead of total darkness which will occur in a few hours,” Wiggle explained. Leading us away from the rest of the colony towards a mound of snow and ice, he ducked into an ice cave and the seven of us followed. Settling down away from the wind and cold, we spent several hours telling stories, laughing at funny tales, and catching up on what everyone had been doing since we last saw each other.

By the time we had finished our visit, darkness covered the area. Clicking a button on my belt, I was able to provide a lighted path toward the sleigh, enclosed in a protective covering. While saying our goodbyes, I announced, “Since we missed you as much as you missed us, this won’t be our only visit.”

As everyone cheered and hugged one another, my wife smiled. “This has been a wonderful time. Now we know that friends don’t stop being friends just because they move.”

Getting into the sleigh, the four of us found our seats in spite of the wind and swirling snow. Then I guided the reindeer toward a clear spot. Within moments, we were in the sky waving and shouting our goodbyes, knowing that returning to Antarctica in the future would certainly happen.

Notes From Santa

I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one on July 15th. 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 week . . .

To read more about Nippy, Polar Pete, Wiggle and Waddle please check out these stories:

Santa’s Newest Friends – July 8 2019
Wiggle and Waddle Meet Polar Pete – July 15, 2019
A Visit From Jack Frost – January 20, 2020
The Lost Elves – February 3, 2020
Homesick Penguins – June 8, 2020
Nippy Falls Apart – March 8, 2021
Wiggle and Waddle Go Home – May 31, 2021

Find Cincy Santa (@CincySanta) on:

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Illustration of Santa’s Friends by FireMane Studio