Ms. Claus Gets The Blues

As Sophia shut the door to the mailroom, Ms. Claus sighed. “Tomorrow will be just as busy as it was today.”

“Ms. Claus, you look tired. Is there anything I can do?”

Looking at her assistant, Ms. Claus smiled. “Thanks, but with the extra help Santa gave us, we were able to finish our daily work. However, the way you are looking at me,” she added, “I can tell that you have another question.”

Nodding her head, Sophia explained, “Well…. I’m kind of concerned. You haven’t been yourself lately. With Christmas only weeks away, all of us at the North Pole are happy, even if we are overworked and tired. But….”

As Sophia tried to find the words, Ms. Claus interrupted. “I love your concern, but don’t worry about me,” Ms. Claus responded. “However, if you have time,” she added, “would you stop by the kitchen and ask Blanche to bring me some of her chicken soup? I don’t want a full meal right now and just need some quiet time and rest.”

Sophia looked at her boss and nodded. “No problem,” she remarked, as she headed toward the kitchen.

Arriving at our apartment, Ms. Claus quietly entered and was surprised to see a fire blazing in the fireplace. “Oh, this is so nice,” she whispered, “but who…”

“I thought you could use a cozy fire after a long day at work my dear.”

“Oh Santa!” Ms. Claus said reaching out to give me a hug. “You think of everything, but how did you know….”

Before Anya could answer, I smiled and gave her a kiss. “Remember, I’m Santa, that’s my job.”

“Sophia talked to you, didn’t she?” answered Ms. Claus as she sat down in her chair by the fire. Taking off her shoes and putting on her slippers, she added, “Somehow she thinks something is bothering me.”

“Isn’t there? Of all the workers at the North Pole, Sophia and I know you best,” I remarked. “Anya, it’s the happiest time of the year, and you are sad. I think you have a case of the blues.”

“Seems that I can’t keep much hidden from you for long,” Ms. Claus responded with a deep sigh. “I thought I’d catch the Christmas spirit by now and all would be well.”

“But it isn’t, is it?”

Ms. Claus nodded in agreement. As she turned to look at me, I sat in my chair beside her. Taking a deep breath, she began to explain. “For years, you and I spent our slow time in the spring and summer visiting various parts of the world as well as people we have come to know. …” Anya’s voice trailed off as she began to daydream. “I loved doing all those things. Unfortunately, this year we could not because of the coronavirus.”

“But you understand why?” I responded, giving her a surprised look.

“Yes, yes,” she answered shaking her head sadly. “I know, I know. I wouldn’t want to do anything to infect those we care about at the North Pole. I love the elves and our home, but getting away by ourselves to experience new adventures was fun. We learned so much about other places and people which made a difference in our life. Santa… I just miss that.”

Patting my wife’s hand, I smiled. “Those were good times, and like you, I also miss our adventures.”

“Do you remember our time on top of the Eiffel Tower when a little French girl came running toward you yelling, “‘Pere Noel! Pere Noel!’, and gave you a big hug? That warmed my heart.”

I nodded and smiled. Easing back into my chair, I reflected, “That is a good memory Anya! But do you remember that time when we crossed into New Brunswick, Canada from Maine in the United States and stopped at the border crossing?”

Holding back her laughter, Ms. Claus smiled. “Oh, I couldn’t forget that. The guard walked up to our car and said, ‘Well Santa, you are a long way from home.’  Grinning he asked to see our passports.”

“After letting out a loud Ho, Ho, Ho, I handed him the passports.” Chuckling, I turned to look at Anya. “Do you recall when he peeked into the car and said, ‘Nick and Anya Klaus with a K, interesting! Have to admit, you do look the part, but Ms. Klaus, you appear to be a bit young for this guy. Enjoy your visit!’ Then after we laughed, I called out, ‘William Gordon, you are still on my nice list.’ As we drove away, I watched when his face looked at our car in total surprise. He was speechless, especially since he wasn’t wearing his name badge.”

Ready to share another story, we stopped when there was a knock at the door. “Hmm… It must be the soup I asked Blanche to deliver,” Ms. Claus explained.

As the two of us got up, we heard, “You better watch out! You better not cry! You better not pout, I’m telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town.”

Opening the door, I grinned, “What a pleasant surprise,” I said as a small group of elves continued to sing. Looking over at Anya, I saw her eyes water as she slipped her arm through mine.

When the elves finished, they made a path for Blanche and Sophia as they brought forward two trays of food. “Here you go Santa and Ms. Claus, everything you really like. Enjoy your dinner.”

Before either Anya or I could respond, the elves broke into another song. “We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas; we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!” Then without hesitating, they waved and made their way down the hallway continuing to sing.

“Can you imagine that!” exclaimed Anya as she helped me take the food inside to a small table by the fire.

“Feeling better, Anya?” I asked giving her a hug.

“Much better,” she answered. Looking at me she added, “You know Santa, I may get the blues from time to time, but the coronavirus can’t take away from the real meaning of Christmas – sharing love and kindness with others.”

Notes From Santa

To read more about Sophia please check out: Ms. Claus Gets Some Help, which was posted on November 11, 2019, 2019;

To read more about the Mail Room please check out: Translating Letters For Santa, which was posted on August 19, 2019; Sensitive Letters, which was posted on November 18, 2019; A Little Bit of Elf Magic, which was posted on April 20, 2020; and Scout Elf Precautions, which was posted on September 28, 2020

I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one next Monday. 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 . . .

Illustration by FireMane Studio 

Donner to the Rescue

With a startled look on his face, Highstep, manager of the reindeer, looked up from reading a report. “Did you hear that Santa?”

“Sounded like a reindeer in distress!” I responded as I stood and headed toward the door. With Highstep right behind, we headed into the barn.

Looking around, we saw Cletus running inside crying. “What’s going on Cletus?” Highstep asked.

“It’s that new reindeer. He’s a big bully and mean to everyone,” Cletus responded.

As one of the reindeer that pulls Ms. Claus’s sleigh, I knew that not much bothered her.

“Are you talking about Fireball?” Highstep asked.

“Who else?” Cletus muttered as she headed to her stall. “I don’t want anything to do with him.”

“Highstep, we need to put an end to this. We cannot have a reindeer acting like that,” I insisted.

As the two of us headed out of the barn into the corral, we could see Fireball bullying Pablo, one of our mail sleigh reindeer. “We need to get over there and . . .”

Before I could finish, Highstep put his arm in front of me. “Wait a minute Santa. Donner is heading that way. Let’s see what he can do.”

Donner, Rudolph’s daddy and my biggest and strongest reindeer, stands 54 inches tall. Almost seven-feet in length, Donner weighs close to 530 pounds. Strong enough to pull a fully loaded sleigh all by himself, Donner’s size and power made him intimidating.

We watched as Pablo walked away when Donner approached Fireball. “Santa,” remarked Highstep watching the huge reindeer, “with his size, Donner might look terrifying, but he is the most gentle and nicest reindeer we have. If anyone can handle Fireball it’s him.”

As Donner walked up, he eyed Fireball carefully. “We cannot have any reindeer bullying others,” he explained sternly. “Since all the reindeer are important to Santa and the Christmas season, we all need to get along and work together.”

“What do you know?” Fireball began, trying to bully Donner. “You just do what Santa and Highstep want so that you can say you’re their favorite!”

“Santa does not have a favorite reindeer, or elf for that matter. We all have a job to do which makes us all important to him,” Donner stated, refusing to be bullied.

“Well no one seems to care about me, so why should I do anything for them. Besides, there is not a single reindeer here that likes me,” Fireball responded. Scratching the dirt with his hoof he continued, “How I act makes me feel important and powerful!”

“Is that what this is all about?” After a short pause to make sure Fireball was listening, Donner remarked coolly, “Bullying another reindeer may give you the feeling of power at the time, but it only makes them all avoid you. No one wants to be bullied. If you want to feel important and part of the team, your actions are doing just the opposite.”

“Yeah… so what am I supposed to do?” Fireball wondered aloud.

“To start with, you need to realize that, while you may be better at doing some things, you are not good at everything. Instead of seeing everything as a competition, join in the reindeer games and get to know everyone and let them know the real you,” Donner described.

“Easy for you to say.”

“Yeah, but it’s also easy to do. Come on, I’ll help you get started.” As the two reindeer began to walk side by side toward a shed in the barnyard, Donner explained, “I happen to know Highstep put out some special oats for the reindeer. Let’s go share some with the others, and I’ll introduce you to all of them. Then we can talk about our experiences.”

Fireball looked at Donner and nodded his head. “I’m not sure that will work, but I’ll give it a try.”

As I watched the two of them make their way to the shed, I chuckled, “Will you look at that. Donner has calmed Fireball down. You would think they were friends.”

“That should not surprise you Santa,” Highstep began as we turned to head back to his office. “You know Donner means Thunder, and when Donner speaks, everyone listens.”

“That’s a good thing,” I remarked grinning. “I’m not sure what my team would do without him.”

Notes From Santa

To read more reindeer stories please check out: How Rudolph Got His Red Nose, which was posted on September 2, 2019; Dasher Becomes Part of Santas Team, which was posted on October 28, 2019;Reiney Meets Cupid, which was posted on February 10, 2020; Virus Threatens Santa’s Reindeer, which was posted on March 30, 2020; Reindeer vs Technology, which was posted on June 1, 2020; and Blitzen Loses Race, which was posted on August 31, 2020;

I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one next Monday. 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 . . .

Scout Elves Return

“Are you ready?” I asked Ms. Claus as I snatched my coat from the rack.

“I just need to grab my notes for the meeting,” Anya responded.

I held the door for Anya, and as we walked holding hands towards Elf University, she asked, “Do you think Birdie has the elves prepared to visit with the children?”

“Since Halloween is behind us now and Thanksgiving just around the corner, the children are looking for their elves, so I sure hope so!” I exclaimed. “With all the new Scout Elves and the COVID-19 pandemic, Birdie had her work cut out for her.”

As we walked into the lecture hall, Birdie turned in our direction. “Perfect timing Ms. Claus and Santa,” she said beaming. “The elves are ready for you.”

“Thanks Birdie,” I announced walking to the middle of the stage. Turning to face all the Scout Elves, I smiled. “Let’s see how smart you are today,” I remarked, “because I have a few important questions that need answering.” Pausing I asked, “When do you come back to the North Pole to report your findings to me?” Looking out I saw a sea of hands waving in the air and pointed to Max.

“Every night right after the children go to bed,” he responded grinning.

“Correct! What is the most important part of picking a place to sit and watch during the day?”

Not able to hold back, Elfie blurted out, “Because of the virus this year, you want to be where the children can’t get within six feet of you.”

“Absolutely.” I then pointed to Tiny and asked, “What if there are not any good places six feet from the children?”

Tiny stood proud and responded, “We wear the masks the elves in the costume shop made for us.”

I nodded and then waved my hand across the room as I pointed at each elf. “You know how important that is this year, and I suggest you wear your masks even if you are six feet from the children,” I declared. Glancing at my notes, I added, “But this is equally important. I know many of you like to play after you get back from the North Pole, so what do you do if the children awaken early and catch you?”

Again, I saw a sea of elfin hands go up. “Jellybean, would you like to answer this one?”

“I would love to Santa. If we get caught, we have to freeze right where we are and wait for the children to leave for school or go into another room. Then we can clean up and get to our post for the day.”

“Excellent!” After asking about several other matters and getting the right answers, I asked my final question. “What are the two things you need to report on when you come back each night?”

I pointed to Fratzkel who did not hesitate. “Anything we see the children do that was nice or naughty, so that you can update your List. We also need to pay attention to what they would like for Christmas, just in case they change their minds.”

“Amazing, I think all of you are ready.” Looking toward Birdie, I added, “As usual, you have done a great job training the Scout Elves this year.” Finishing, I heard all the elves stand up and cheer.

“One more important thing,” I announced holding up my arms for quiet. “Before you can leave, Ms. Claus would like to discuss a few issues.”

“Thanks Santa.”

Before Ms. Claus reached the podium, Hanfin hollered out, “I know the children in my family have already asked for me to come. Can I leave tonight?”

As the room exploded with chatter, Ms. Claus loudly said, “Not so quick!” When the elves settled down, she continued. “No matter when your family requests you to come and visit for Christmas, there are three things you must do.”

“I thought all we had to was pass Santa’s test!” Peppermint exclaimed.

“It’s not that simple. If you are going to judge the children for the good and bad things they do, then you have to understand what activities are good and do some of those things yourself.”

As the elves began grumbling, Anya gave me a big smile. Looking back at the elves, she explained. “The first thing you need to do is complete any chores Bernard or the supervisor in your department has given you.”

One of the elves shouted, “What if we complete our chores and they just keep giving us more?”

“I guarantee that you will not be given any more chores to do before you leave,” I quickly responded.

With that question settled, Ms. Claus continued. “Once you have your chores in the workshops finished, you have just two more things to do.” Not a single elf made a sound.

“When you are ready to leave for your visit, let me know, and I will come and inspect your room.”

Though the elves squirmed in their chairs, they kept quiet till Snickers asked, “What does our room have to do with visiting the children?”

“We want you to set a good example for the children. That means you need to straighten your room up, put things away in their proper place, and make your bed.”

The room erupted with all the new Scout Elves talking again. This time the veteran elves quieted them down. Heart stood up to address everyone.  “Listen up! All new elves will understand how important it is to set a good example once you arrive at the homes of your children, just like all of us veterans have in the past.”

“Thank you, Heart. I ‘m sure they will.” Looking around the room and then at Birdie and me, Anya said, “If no one has any further questions, I think we are finished.”

All the Scout Elves rose and clapped. As Birdie and I walked to the center of the stage to join Ms. Claus the three of us held hands and in unison said, “Congratulations and Good Luck!”

After the elves left the hall, I looked at Birdie and said, “One again, you have done an excellent job training the elves.” I then turned to Anya. “I could never have done this without your help teaching the elves to set good examples for the children.”

“I know Santa. Everyone here at the North Pole is dedicated to making Christmas as special as possible for the children, and I’m just doing my part!”

Notes From Santa

To read more about Scout Elves please check out: Scout Elves Are Coming, which was posted on November 4, 2019; Scout Elf Shortage, which was posted on February 17, 2020; Scout Elf Precautions, which was posted on September 28, 2020; and Invisible Elves, which was posted on October 19, 2020

I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one next Monday. 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 . . .

Illustration by FireMane Studio 

The Key to Kindness

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town was playing in the background when Ms. Claus laid on the couch and placed her head on my lap. “It’s nice to be here with you in front of a fire after a hard day’s work,” I said as I placed my hand on her shoulder.

“You know Santa, we are blessed. We have so many kind and loving elves to help us make Christmas happen for all the good little boys and girls.”

“You are so right. Why, without the elves, I could never make all the toys I need, let alone get them in the sleigh and delivered.”

“Come on Santa,” Anya began catching my attention. “You know there is more to our relationship with the elves than their ability to make toys and helping you get them delivered.”

“What do you mean?”

“You travel around the world all year long to check on how the children are doing. Don’t tell me you never noticed that not everyone is being kind and treating others like they would want to be treated. Why else would you have your Naughty List?”

“I do notice that, and often wonder why some people are that way.”

Rolling onto her back, Anya responded, “You hardly ever see such behavior from an elf.”

“No, you don’t. They almost always show kindness toward each other and us. I can’t remember the last time I had to open a door when an elf was around.”

“And they always say ‘Please’ when they are asking for something, and ‘Thank You’ when they get it.”

There was a knock on the door and I hollered, “Come in.”

When the door opened, Doheny stepped into the room with a tray of hot cocoa and cookies. As she placed the tray on a table she said, “I thought you two might like this to help you unwind.”

“Doheny, what made you decide to bring this for us?” Anya asked.

Grinning, Doheny explained, “Well I know how much the cocoa helps you both to relax, and when you were at dinner tonight, I could tell both of you were worn out from a busy day. I thought that if I were you, this is what I would want.”

Ms. Claus sat up on the couch and asked, “Where did you learn to put yourself in someone else’s shoes?”

Doheny shrugged her shoulders and answered, “I don’t know. I guess I saw so many other elves do it that I figured it was the right thing to do.”

“You see Santa. You get more from the elves than help with making toys and Christmas!” Anya exclaimed.

As I stroked my beard and thought about what had just been said, Doheny added, “If you need anything else just let me know,” and then turned to leave.

As Doheny closed the door, I got up to put a log on the fire and asked, “So how do I package kindness to give to people?”

Ms. Claus giggled softly and said, “Santa you know that is not possible. But you know there is plenty of kindness in children. I remember you telling me about little Justin giving you his token for a train ride at the Cincinnati Museum Center’s Holiday Junction.”

“I remember that like it was just yesterday,” I interrupted. “‘Santa,’ he said, ‘I already rode the train and would like you to give this token to another little boy or girl that might not have the money to pay for a token.’”

Moving from the couch to her chair, Anya said, “That’s just one of thousands of stories about acts of kindness by children you have told me.”

“I could tell you many more stories about children who said they had everything they wanted, and that I should give their toys to other children who don’t have as much.”

“See, there is more kindness out there than you realize, Santa. Wasn’t there a little girl that asked you for World Peace one year?”

Settling into my chair with my hot cocoa, I nodded. “Several children have asked for that in recent years, but Bridget was the most memorable. You know what she wanted the next year?”

“I don’t think you told me about Bridget,” Anya stated as she pulled a blanket over her legs.

“Well, when I saw her the next year, she insisted that instead of bringing her anything, I should give the people in nursing homes something special.”

“Now I remember! She claimed that many of them did not have families to bring them things, and she felt that they deserved to get something.”

“That’s right, and the year after that, she said that I should do something for you and me since we do so much for others,” I replied smiling widely.

“What a wonderful story Santa. I think you should keep doing what you do. Children often learn kindness from your example.”

“And the example of others,” I was quick to add.

“Of course, but there is something else children need to do before they can truly be kind to others,” Anya stated as she handed me a cookie. “The key to kindness is learning to be kind to yourself. The way you feel about yourself directly affects the way you treat others.”

“I could not agree more,” I responded. I finished my cookie and continued, “If only I could make everyone kind.”

“I don’t know that you can make all the people in the world kind and loving, but you definitely make a difference by the kindness you show to everyone.”

Notes From Santa

To read more about Doheny please check out: With A Little Help From My Friends, which was posted on July 1, 2019; and Santa’s Favorite Elf, which was posted on September 9, 2019

I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one next Monday. 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 . . .

Illustration from Sandy Turner on Pinterest

A Ghostly North Pole

After finishing dinner, I stood up and announced, “I’m heading for the mail room to see if any letters arrived late.”

“But you’re not dressed,” Anya said as she came into the room with her hands on her hips.

“What do you mean?” I asked. When I looked at Anya, I was startled to see her dressed up as Tinkerbell from Peter Pan. “I completely forgot! Tonight is Halloween isn’t it?”

Ms. Claus smiled broadly and clapped her hands. “I’m not sure how you could forget after all the ruckus Jellybean made when she discovered this holiday two years ago. Do you have your costume?”

“You know I do. Give me a few minutes to change.” Going to our bedroom, I thought about how Birdie, my elf in charge of the Scout Elves, had sent some of them out earlier that year than expected. Jellybean immediately noticed Sarah, the child she watched, in her Halloween costume and liked it. Eventually, she told the elves about Trick or Treating after Christmas. “Now we do it at the North Pole,” I muttered, slipping on my costume.

“We need to hurry dear,” Anya called out. “The elves will soon be Trick or Treating at all the workshops and departments around the North Pole, and they expect to see us at the mail room.”

Walking out into our common room, Anya laughed and added, “You make a great Captain Hook even with your grey beard and hair. Are you ready to take on Peter Pan and Tinkerbell?”

“Remind me again who is dressing as Peter Pan?”

“Bernard, of course,” responded Anya. “Tonight the two of you get to battle it out with swords. The elves will love it!”

“Very funny,” I responded as I grabbed her hand and added, “Since you got me into this and picked the costume, maybe you can give me pointers on what to do in a sword fight.”

“We don’t have time,” she giggled, “but I think you can handle it all on your own. Let’s go”

As we made our way down the hallway to the mailroom, Anya remarked, “I’m still amazed that many countries celebrate Halloween as a fun holiday when it began as a serious festival.”

“I know what you mean,” I agreed. “It started two thousand years ago as the Celts celebrated the festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in), which was intended to celebrate the end of the harvest season.”

“That’s right,” Anya responded slipping her arm through mine. “Didn’t the Celts believe that the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred on that night, allowing ghosts of the dead to return to earth?”

I nodded as I tipped my captain’s hat lower over my right eye. “People back then would attend parties and share ghost stories, usually around a bonfire.”

Stopping, Ms. Claus looked at me and shifted my red coat and tightened my black belt so that the sword sat more comfortably on my left hip. “That’s better. Now tell me again, why are we wearing costumes?”

“In the beginning,” I began, “it was not for fun, but to confuse the spirits attempting to cause harm. I think I like the holiday better with the children having fun instead of hiding from spirits looking to hurt them. After all nobody, not even a ghost, should ever want to harm someone else,” I said as I slid the fake hook onto my left hand.

“You make a pretty good Captain Hook, Santa,” Ms. Claus announced as she eyed me from head to toe.

“Aye matey, and you’re a good-looking fairy,” I replied giving her a hug before we opened the door to the mailroom.

As we waited for the elves to come around, Anya emptied bags of candy into a bowl. When I tried to take a piece, she slapped my hand saying, “Santa this is for the elves not you. If you’re a good pirate, I’ll let you have a cookie later.”

I was about to reply when we heard a loud, ‘Trick or Treat,’ coming from outside our door. Glancing at each other, Ms. Claus said, “I’ve got the candy. You get the door.”

Opening it, I greeted our visitors with a big “Ho-Ho-Ho!”

An elf dressed as Spiderman responded, “Santa I think maybe ‘Arrr’ would be better than Ho-Ho-Ho.”

“Hummm, you may be right,” I said as my face turned red from embarrassment. “Would you and Wonder Woman like some candy?” When they nodded, I used my hook to snag two candy bars and placed them into their bags.

“Great job, Captain Hook!” the two elves exclaimed and then shuffled off to their next stop.

“Well, I’m impressed,” Anya remarked taking a seat by the door. “Maybe there is hope for you in the sword fight with Bernard as Peter Pan.”

“Thanks for your vote of confidence.”

Before Ms. Claus could respond, “Trick or Treat” again came booming from the doorway. Turning, I noticed SpongeBob and Patrick standing in the door carrying pumpkins for their treats. “Nice costumes,” I said, “but isn’t that you Jellybean and Syrup?”

Giggling, the two elves looked at me. “How could you tell Santa? You really can’t see our faces.”

“True, but I always recognize your voices.”

After Anya placed some candy in the pumpkins, the two elves thanked us and continued down the hall. Suddenly they turned and yelled, “Like your sword Santa. Good luck tonight!”

As quickly as the two elves had left, two more appeared. A witch and a skeleton scampered up to the door and opened their bags for candy.

“Didn’t you two forget something?” Ms. Claus asked them.

“Sorry Tinkerbell,” the witch replied as both elves yelled, “Trick or Treat!”

“That’s better. Here you go.”

“We are seeing more elves in costume this year,” remarked Ms. Claus as she looked at the empty bowl. Reaching for two more bags of candy on a table inside the mail room, she heard “Trick or Treat!” come from the hall.

Dumping the candy into the bowl, I looked up as four elves, dressed in white plastic outfits wearing helmets, stood waiting for their treats.

Standing next to me, Ms. Claus asked, “And what are you supposed to be?”

“Storm Troopers from Star Wars!” they exclaimed adding, “You can call on us Santa when you face Bernard in a sword fight tonight. We’ll protect you,” they said giggling.

“Thanks,” I said smiling. “I might have to do that.”

After an hour had passed with a steady flow of elves in costume, Ms. Claus and I noticed how the crowd had thinned down. Looking at her watch, she announced, “It’s time Santa or should I say Captain. The fight begins in 10 minutes, so let’s go.”

“Aye! Aye!” I said. After closing the door, the two of us made our way to the Common Room.

“What a crowd,” exclaimed Ms. Claus as we entered the room. “Good luck Santa!” she said giving me a little shove in the right direction.

Once Bernard, as Peter Pan, and I stood in the center of the room, the elves encircled us and sat on the floor chanting “Hook, Hook; Pan,Pan.”

With our swords touching, the two of us waited. “ARRRRRR,” I said. “Pan, you’ve met your match.”

“Not so fast, Captain. You’re not as light on your feet as I am,” challenged Bernard.

As the elves laughed at our remarks,” Birdie announced, “Is everyone ready for the sword fight between Captain Hook and Peter Pan?”

“YEAH,” screamed the audience.

“OK you two, begin!”

Once Birdie stepped aside, I tossed off my hat and the crowd roared their approval.

Not to be outdone, Bernard began to dance around me much to the amusement of the elves.

When our swords finally clanked together, we backed off and began to make our moves. With swords flashing from side to side, Bernard forced me to move back towards the edge of the circle. Then I shifted my foot and using what little ability I had, I pushed him back to the center of the ring.

Surprised by my quick change of pace, Bernard grinned and took aim. His flashing sword moved faster as I struggled to keep up with him. Then with one last burst of energy, I took my sword and made a thrust toward Bernard yelling, “I’ll get you Peter Pan!”

Making our final moves, we drew in closer as our swords formed a tight X. Then Bernard and I broke into laughter as we dropped them downward causing all the elves to jump up and cheer.

“Nice job, Santa,” Bernard said, slipping his arm over my shoulders.

Unable to catch my breath, I nodded and gave Bernard a thumbs-up. Together we waved at the elves and shook hands. Leaving the center of the room, I headed towards Ms. Claus who gave me a big hug. “Congratulations, Santa. You definitely surprised all of us with your fancy moves.”

“Glad it ended when it did because I could not have kept up with Bernard much longer.”

“You know Santa,” began Anya as she slipped me a bottle of water, “at first you were unsure about letting the elves do this, but they love dressing up in their outfits. And now you had fun playing Captain Hook and getting into a sword fight with Bernard as Peter Pan. The elves enjoyed it and so did you.”

After taking a long drink of water, I took a deep breath and grinned. “You’re right Anya, I did enjoy myself,” I answered giving her a quick kiss. “I think it makes sense to give the elves a day of fun. We have 55 days until Christmas, and this was a great way to have a little excitement before the hard work of making toys for the children really begins. Now I think you promised me a cookie, right?”

Smiling, Ms. Claus slipped two chocolate cookies from her pocket. “Enjoy Santa. You deserve it.”

Notes From Santa

I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one next Monday. 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 . . .

Illustration from Marges8’s Blog  

Invisible Elves

Excitement in the classroom was high as the Scout Elves were preparing for their return to children’s homes for the Christmas Season. As Birdie, the elf in charge, finished explaining the procedures for remaining still when the children were present, Elfanzo asked, “Wouldn’t it be easier if we were invisible?”

Tiny wasted no time adding, “It sure would make our jobs a lot more fun!”

“Okay, everyone settle down,” Birdie responded as the classroom erupted in loud comments. Once the elves stopped talking, she continued, “First of all, being invisible is not even an option since elfin magic does not include doing that.”

Noticing Syrup’s hand waving in the air, Birdie called her name.  Standing up she remarked, “I hear that the Snow Fairies have a magic Gold Dust that can make elves invisible.”

“That is just a rumor,” explained Birdie.  “No one, not even Santa, has ever seen Gold Fairy Dust. Besides, if it existed, I’m sure Queen Gwendolen would have shared that with Santa if she thought it would help us. Besides, I do not see how that would make your job easier.”

Glancing around the room, Elfanzo decided to speak for all the elves. “If we were invisible,” he said carefully,   “we could follow the children around the house to see what they did.”

“Why would you need to do that?” Birdie asked as she leaned on her desk. “With your superior hearing, you can hear what they were doing and saying.”

Not waiting for Birdie to call on him, Max blurted out, “But if we could follow them, we could get our work for Santa done in less time.”

Sounding a little troubled, Birdie replied, “I really don’t think rushing to get your job finished is a good thing. You need to observe them for several weeks to really get to know them.” Just then the door to the classroom opened and Birdie and the elves turned to see who had entered the room.

“Good morning everyone,” I said walking over towards Birdie.

All the elves stood by their desks and in unison said, “Good morning Santa.”

“Birdie, are you ready for me to talk with the elves about their reporting back to me while visiting the children?”

Birdie signaled to her elves to return to their seats and said, “To tell you the truth Santa, we seem to have gotten off track a bit.”

“Should I return later then?”

“Actually, I think I may need your help. The Scout Elves think it would be better if they were invisible . . .”

“What! And ruin all the fun for the children?” I asked in a booming voice.

“How would that ruin their fun?” Tiny shouted. Realizing he spoke without being called on he added, “I’m sorry.”

“That’s okay,” I replied. “I appreciate your enthusiasm for helping the children have the best Christmas.”

“Santa, maybe the elves need to hear your reasoning for not being invisible,” Birdie said as she pointed towards the elves.

Walking to the center of the room, I began. “First of all, when a Scout Elf arrives at the home of a child, that little boy or girl is reminded that Christmas is coming. It signals all children that I am watching them to make sure they are behaving.”

“All the decorations around town and in the stores could do that as well,” Max explained.

“You are right. But let me ask you this; how many of you have had children tell you what they wanted for Christmas?” Noticing all hands go up, I asked, “And how often did they tell you later that they changed their minds about something they wanted?” All the elves kept their hands up. “Well,” I continued as I stroked my beard, “I don’t think the decorations could help them with that, do you?”

“They could go visit you or one of your J.A.T.S. (Jolly Assistants To Santa) and explain directly,” Syrup insisted.

“They could, but since all of you know that children change their minds often, they cannot just run out to see me whenever they want.” Pausing, I watched as the elves nodded in agreement. “Besides,” I continued, “if you were invisible, the children would never catch you in the middle of playing, causing you to freeze right there.”

Birdie snapped to attention and looked at me. “Santa I always tell them not to do those silly things . . . “

“Birdie, it’s not a problem. I actually enjoy it.” All the elves began looking at each other in surprise. “The children love telling me about Scout Elf antics. Max, I still remember when little Sally told me about you making snow angels in the sugar.” Hearing a huge gasp coming from the elves I pointed to Syrup, “And how could I forget when Tommie told me how you played golf with a candy cane and a miniature marshmallow.”

Syrup’s face turned red as she giggled. “I remember how it made the children laugh. Even the parents thought it was funny.”

“I think all of you get my point,” I explained. “What’s the fun in being invisible when the children love seeing you?”

Smiling, I made a quick sweep of the room and noticed Elfanzo’s unhappy face. “Do you have something you would like to say Elfanzo?”

Standing next to his desk, the elf looked at the floor and said, “I’m sorry for the idea of being invisible. I should have known that you have nothing but the best interests of the children in mind.”

“Never be sorry for having an idea. Over all these years, many elves and fairies have made suggestions that I have used to make Christmas better. I am always open to new ideas that will help bring as much joy and happiness as we can to children and their families during the Christmas Season.”

As a smile crept across Elfanzo’s face, I relaxed and turned to face Birdie. “You have a sensational group of Scout Elves this year. Their ideas and enthusiasm will bring more excitement to the Christmas season.”

Bringing a stool over for me to sit on, Birdie said, “Now that we have that settled, Santa, I think maybe you should go over the Scout Elf reporting procedures.”

Notes From Santa

To read more about Scout Elves please check out: Scout Elves Are Coming, which was posted on November 4, 2019; Scout Elf Shortage, which was posted on February 17, 2020; and Scout Elf Precautions, which was posted on September 28, 2020

I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one next Monday. 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 . . .

Picture from The Elf on the Shelf via Instagram 

Making a Difference

“Things are really starting to pick up,” remarked Prince pushing open the door to the break room.

“Well it is October, and we only have two and a half months to get toys made before the big night,” replied Peppermint as she picked up some cookies and hot chocolate laid out for the elves.

Walking towards a table in the back, the group from the Costume Workshop took their seats and began munching on cookies.

“Even though it’s a lot of work getting toys ready for Christmas delivery, I love it!” Prince responded as he took a bite of his cookie.

“I agree,” Sully said. Leaning forward in his chair, he continued, “I just wish that the happiness Santa brings the children on Christmas could last the entire year.”

“What do you mean?” Needler asked.

Finishing his cookie, Sully leaned back. Sadly shaking his head, he explained, “Well the children love it when they wake up on Christmas morning and find all their gifts under the tree, but it seems that after a while, those gifts no longer bring some of them the same joy. “

“I think I know what you mean,” Peppermint said. As she looked around the table at the other elves she continued, “While the new toys and gifts make the children very happy on Christmas, once the season is over, Santa’s Scouts have often reported that some children become sad and even angry. When I asked them why, they told me how they noticed that no matter how many gifts they received, nothing made them happy for very long.”

Surprised at Peppermint’s answer, Prince dropped his eyes. “That’s sad. I can’t imagine how that feels.”

None of the elves responded and quietly finished their cookies. Suddenly Prince stood up and smacking his fist into his hand added, “But wouldn’t it be great if we could do something to make children happier all the time?”

“That would be a big challenge, so how would you do that?” Needler wanted to know.

Before Prince could answer the question, Peppermint put up her hand and announced loudly, “Wait a minute! Before we can do anything, we need to understand the problems that make children sad or angry.”

“You’re right,” Prince responded as the rest of the elves at the table nodded in agreement. “Has anyone here heard the Scout elves talk about problems?”

“Hummmmmm,” muttered Needler. “Shop elves usually don’t discuss problems with the Scout elves, but I’ve heard others talk about how some children don’t have much to eat, and many go hungry.”

“I heard that too,” Sully said nodding to himself. “I also heard that some of them don’t have enough warm clothes or even homes where they can sleep and be safe.”

Prince suddenly spoke up and added, “I remember not too long ago overhearing two Scout elves talking about bullies who make children afraid.”

Again the elves became quiet. “But what can we do?” Needler finally asked. “We’re just workshop elves.”

“I feel certain that all of you can come up with an answer,” a booming voice announced.

“Santa!” exclaimed the elves as they turned and looked at the exit close to their table.

“I was just coming down the hall and couldn’t help but overhear your conversation.” As I took a seat at their table, I smiled adding, “You know what? I think you are on to something.”

“Santa, we just make costumes,” Peppermint said.

“Didn’t you just say that problems have to be identified first, and isn’t that what your group did?”

Blushing, Peppermint nodded. “I know, but……..”

Before she could continue, I asked all of them to listen. “Do you realize that throughout the world, there are people who collect large amounts of food and give to those who need it the most. Then there are others who collect clothing to distribute to children and their families who have very little. I even know groups that build or repair damaged houses so that families can have the homes they need.”

The elves stared at Santa. “That’s amazing!” Needler exclaimed. “That’s like being a gift giver which is what you always tell us to become.”

“That’s right. You see,” I explained looking around the table, “everyone has a skill that can be put to good use to help others. The challenge is to understand what it is and use it to make a difference.”

Leaning back in my chair, I watched as the elves began to talk among themselves.

Excitement grew until Peppermint yelled, “That’s it. Needler, I think that’s a wonderful idea. Tell Santa.”

Turning her head shyly toward me, she quietly explained, “Since we run the Costume Shop, all of us know how to sew and make things. Maybe during our off season or whenever we have time, we can make clothes for those who don’t have much. Then maybe the Scout elves can take them to various areas in the world and drop them off to the organizations that collect clothing. I’m sure they’ll be able to get them to the right families.”

“Excellent. You are putting your talents to good use. I like that,” I said as I gave each elf a high five.

With a big smile on her face, Needler exclaimed, “True happiness comes from being a gift giver and helping others when they need it, especially when they do not ask for it. Thanks Santa, we’ll make this work.”

Watching the elves file out of the room, talking with one another, made me realize how much they could make a difference. Suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see Anya’s smiling face. “What was that all about, Santa? It’s not even Christmas and those elves have the spirit already.”

“You’re right Anya. Those elves intend to make a difference in the world by making clothes during their free time so that gift giving can occur year long. Imagine that!”

“By the look on their faces,” Anya answered giving me a hug as I stood up. “I know they’ll succeed, and I think that gift giver spirit will start affecting all the elves. What a special place the North Pole has become.”

Notes From Santa

To read more about being a Gift Giver please check out: Toys For Santa, which was posted on December 9, 2019; and The Art Of Gift Giving, which was posted on January 13, 2020

I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one next Monday. 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 . . .

The Magic of Christmas

After watching “The Christmas Chronicles,” several elves and I had gathered in the recreation room, just outside the village theater, to talk about the movie, when Houser exclaimed, “These Santa movies never seem to get it right!”

“I know. Can you believe they think that all of Santa’s magic comes from his hat?” Sachi asked as she took a seat at a round table in the back of the room.

Olaf pulled out a chair to join Sachi and said, “It was a fun movie to watch, but when it comes to the real magic of Christmas, I think the blue fairy dust from the Snow Fairies is the best!  There would be no way Santa could get around the world to every child if he did not have the blue dust to manipulate time.”

“That certainly is important,” the Scout Elf Scarfy began. “But without the yellow dust that allows Santa to go down and back up the chimney, he would not be able to get into all the homes and would not need to manipulate time, would he?”

Not wanting her work as Dasher’s care taker to be ignored, Sachi declared, “But what about the red dust? If it was not for that, how would the reindeer fly to get Santa to all the homes?”

“Uh, excuse me,” Treckie broke in. “If it was not for the green fairy dust we use in the warehouse, there would not be any toys in Santa’s bag to even deliver to the children. So, the magic of the green dust is the most important!”

Standing up to make sure she was heard, Heart stood up. “I think all of you are missing the point of the Magic of Christmas.” Not knowing what Heart was talking about, the elves stared at her with a confused look.

“Okay Heart. Why don’t you tell us what you see as the point of Christmas magic,” I said as I gave a little ‘Ho Ho Ho.’

Heart spread her arms and hands out as if to point to everyone at the table, “If it was not for the magic we elves bring to the North Pole, how would there be any toys to send to Santa’s bag?” Everyone fell silent as they thought about what Heart had just said. “Without our Elfin Magic to create all the toys the children ask for, Santa would not have anything to deliver.”

All the elves at the table began debating who might be right, but when I cleared my throat, they gave me their attention. “I think you are all missing the point of the Magic of Christmas.” Turning to face Sachi I asked, “Since you work with the reindeer, can all reindeer fly?”

Startled by my question, Sachi shook her head. “Unfortunately, not. Even with the red dust some never learn to fly. “

“And why is that?” I asked.

“Highstep told me that the reindeer must believe in themselves so that they can actually do it.”

“That’s right!” I then looked at Treckie, “Do you remember when we first tested the green fairy dust to transport toys from the warehouse to the bag in my sleigh?”

“I will never forget that!” Treckie exclaimed. “The Snow Fairies said it would only take a pinch of dust to make it happen, but we must have used a handful.”

“And where did the toys end up?”

Treckie shook his head, as he remembered the bad experience. “Not in your sleigh! They ended up in your office, and I had to go collect them all.”

“When we talked with Queen Gwendolen of the Snow Fairies, what did she tell us?”

“That we should never use more than a pinch, and for the dust to work properly, we needed to believe that it would, just like we believe in our own abilities,” Treckie remembered.

“That’s right. As with anything in life, if you believe you can, you will,” I responded.

“What happens if you don’t believe?” Heart wondered aloud.

“It’s not so much that you believe, but rather what it is that you believe in.”

“I don’t think I understand Santa,” Olaf said as he scratched his head.

“When a reindeer believes it can fly it does, right? But if that same reindeer believes it cannot fly, no matter how much red dust we give it, the reindeer will not fly.”

As if a light went on in her head, Sachi yelled out, “If you believe you can’t do something then you are sure to fail, but if you believe you can do it, you are more likely to succeed!”

“I think you have it Sachi,” I said as I lightly clapped my hands. “So, when it comes to Christmas, believing is important.”

“More important than the fairy dust and Elfin magic?” Scarfy demanded to know.

“I would not say believing is more important, but it is the belief of children that holds all the magic together to make Christmas happen. That same belief keeps the Spirit of Christmas alive in their parent’s hearts and minds as well.”

Houser sat up in his chair with excitement and asked, “Like in the movie ‘Elf!’”

“You mean that movie with the silly elf named Buddy?” Olaf asked.

“That’s the one. Remember when Santa could not keep his sleigh flying because the Christmas Spirit was so low. Then Michael, Buddy’s half-brother, and his father got everyone singing “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.” That lifted everyone’s belief and Santa’s sleigh was flying again.”

“Exactly!” I exclaimed, giving Houser a thumbs up.

“You have never had that problem, have you?” Sachi asked.

Slipping my arm around her shoulders, I answered, “I have not. But that is because the children’s belief in Christmas has been strong. While I agree with all of your opinions about the magic of Elves and Snow Fairy Dust, I try to teach children to believe in themselves. When they do, their believing in Christmas grows stronger and makes the Spirit of Christmas come to life.”

Notes From Santa

To read more about Sachi please check out: Dasher Becomes Part of Santa’s Team, which was posted on October 28, 2019; and Blitzen Loses Race, which was posted on August 31, 2020

To read more about Snow Fairy Dust please check out: Flying High, which was posted on July 29, 2019; How Rudolph Got His Red Nose, which was posted on September 2, 2019; Lost Fairy Dust, which was posted on May 11, 2020; and Meeting Queen Gwendolen, which was posted on May 25, 2020

To read more about Scout Elves please check out: Scout Elves Are Coming, which was posted on November 4, 2019; Scout Elf Shortage, which was posted on February 17, 2020; and Scout Elf Precautions, which was posted on September 28, 2020

I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one next Monday. 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 . . .

Scout Elf Precautions

Sitting at my desk I was going through the production reports from the workshops when I heard a knock on my open door, “Santa?”

When I looked up, I saw Sophia, Ms. Claus’s assistant standing in the door. “Yes Sophia, what can I do for you?”

“I’m sorry for interrupting, but Ms. Claus was hoping you could come down to the mail room.”

I leaned back in my chair and asked, “Is there a problem?”

Taking a couple of steps towards my desk, Sophia answered, “Carter, the elf in charge of the mail room, and Ms. Claus have some letters that they think you need to see.”

I picked up one of the reports on my desk and nodded. “I need to finish this report, but tell Ms. Claus and Carter I will be there shortly.”

“I will let them know,” the elf responded as she disappeared down the hall.

Later when I arrived at the mail room, I noticed Ms. Claus and Carter standing at a table with several stacks of letters. “Are these the letters you need me to see?” I asked as I gave Ms. Claus a little hug and kiss.

“They are,” Anya responded.

Carter held some of the letters up in the air and said, “I think you are going to need to talk with Birdie, your elf in charge of Scout Elves, about these.”

“Birdie?” I asked. “Are these all requests for Scout Elves?”

Anya noticed a look of concern on my face and informed me, “These are not new requests Santa. These letters are all from children who are worried that their Scout Elves will not visit them this year because of the virus pandemic.”

“We need to get Birdie down here right away!” I demanded.

“She is already on her way,” Carter responded. “Sophia went to get her right after speaking with you in your office.”

I picked up a couple of letters and began reading when I heard, “Santa, Ms. Claus, Carter – How is everyone today?”

I watched as Birdie walked in with a smile on her face. Frustrated, I pointed to the stacks of letters on the table. “I was doing pretty good until all these letters were brought to my attention,” I explained. “These letters are about our Scout Elves and the virus this Christmas. We need to address this problem immediately.”

“Well Santa, I have . . . “

“I just figured out how to use Zoom for visits and thought Christmas was under control until . . .”

“But Santa, I have . . . “Birdie tried to respond again.

“And now this Scout Elf situation.”

“Santa!!” Anya said in a loud, stern voice. When I stopped talking and settled down, Ms. Claus continued in a calm voice. “I know this pandemic has you very worried about Christmas, but can you give Birdie a chance to respond to the letters and her elves?”

As the three of us turned to face Birdie, she continued. “Thanks Ms. Claus, I was going to tell you that while Santa was busy learning how to do Virtual Visits, I talked with Dior, our North Pole physician. Together we came up with a plan for the Scout Elves.”

“That’s great news,” Anya said. “What is it?”

“We learned that wearing a mask is really important, so Needler, the elf who runs the costumes workshop, has agreed to have her workers sew masks for all the Scout Elves. I will also be advising the elves to try and stay at least six feet from the children during the day.”

“That sounds great, but what about all the things the elves play with between the time they return from reporting to the North Pole, and when the family begins to wake up?”

Excited that she had the solution Birdie started by saying, “This is why I love working at the North Pole. Everyone works together to solve a problem. Wheelie, who runs the bicycle workshop, has volunteered his crew to make rubber gloves for the Scout Elves to use when they are touching things in the house.”

“See Santa, you were getting all worked up over nothing,” Ms. Claus told me as she folded her arms. “You have your visits with children worked out, and now the Scout Elves that you depend on have rules all set up to protect the children and their families as well as themselves.”

“You’re right dear. Since I will be wearing gloves and a mask while delivering gifts on Christmas, I should have known that the Scout Elves will be doing the same. I’m relieved,” I said finally able to relax in my chair. “I guess the last thing is responding to all these letters to let the children know their elves will be there as usual.” Stroking my beard, I added, “And we should remind the children that if they touch their elf, the elf will have to return to the North Pole.”

Carter raised his hand as he said, “That’s what my crew is for Santa! We should have all letters answered by tomorrow.”

“I sometimes wonder if we even need you for Christmas, Santa. The elves seem to have it all under control,” Anya said as she winked at Carter.

“Why that’s ridiculous! It would not be . . .”

Anya burst out laughing and the elves could not keep from joining in. “Just kidding dear. It would not be Christmas without you.”

Notes From Santa

To read more about Scout Elves please check out: Scout Elves Are Coming, which was posted on November 4, 2019; and Scout Elf Shortage, which was posted on February 17, 2020

To read more about the Mail Room please check out: Translating Letters For Santa, which was posted on August 19, 2019; Sensitive Letters, which was posted on November 18, 2019; and A Little Bit of Elf Magic, which was posted on April 20, 2020;

I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one next Monday. 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 . . .

Elf Masks Available on Etsy 

Making Friends

Ms. Claus and I were about to sit down for lunch in the dining hall when she nudged me. “Who is that little elf sitting all by herself in the corner?”

“That’s Candice. She just arrived the other day to start school at Elf University.”

“She looks sad. Has Candice made any friends here yet?” Anya asked standing by her chair.

I glanced over to Candice and remarked, “I’m not sure.”

Anya kept her eye on Candice while motioning to me, “We need to go sit with her.”

As we walked up to the table Ms. Claus asked, “Do you mind if we join you for lunch?”

Candice looked up in shock, and before the young elf could answer, Anya and I sat down. “We could not help but notice you were sitting by yourself,” I started. “Will your friends be joining you?”

Candice looked back down at her plate and mumbled, “I don’t have any friends here.”

“That’s hard to believe. The elves here are the friendliest I’ve ever known,” I informed Candice as I looked around the room. “Have any of the elves talked to you?”

“Some have said hi to me.”

Anya was quick to respond by asking, “Did you take the time to talk with them?”

“I said hi back, and then just walked on,” Candice responded as she picked at her lunch.

“I see.” Anya turned to look at me and continued, “I think we have a rare elf here Santa.”

With a look of surprise, I asked “She’s not . . .”

Not letting me finish, Ms. Claus concluded, “That’s right Santa. We have a shy elf here.”

Candice tried to look away from the table as her face glowed a light red. “No need to feel embarrassed or ashamed. Ms. Claus and I would love to share some ways we both got over being shy when we were young, if you’d like.”

For the first time, Candice looked at us and with a smile asked, “You were shy?”

“I almost lost the opportunity of meeting Santa because of my shyness!” Ms. Claus exclaimed.

I smiled at Anya. “I remember that time. Couldn’t understand why you felt so shy, but then I recalled how hard it was for me to meet Gwendolen, the Queen of the Snow Fairies, because I was too shy to talk to her on my own. Bernard had to step in and introduce us. Without the magic fairy dust the Snow Fairies provided, I would never be able to make Christmas happen,” I explained.

“I had no idea.” After a long pause Candice continued, “I can’t see any signs of shyness in either of you.”

“Well… at first you learn how to manage it; then you look forward to talking and being with others.” Anya squeezed some lemon into her tea then looked at Candice. “Can we give you some suggestions?”

“I’d love that!”

“Since you recently arrived, you may have some problems finding your way around the North Pole Village because it is big. So, you should make it a point to ask for help with directions, and be sure to mention that you are new here,” I instructed the elf.

“That’s right. If the elves know you are new, they will most likely not only tell you how to get somewhere, but walk you there to be sure you find your way,” Ms. Claus added.

After taking a sip of hot cocoa, I explained, “Then while you are walking you can talk about other things to get to know each other.”

“But what would I talk about?” Candice asked as she slid her empty plate toward the middle of the table.

“First, remember that there is nothing for you to be nervous or shy about. At one time every elf here was new and trying to find his or her way around and to meet others, just like you,” Anya said as she reached over and patted Candice’s hand.

“Being new, I know you have many questions, so just ask. For instance, ask about the school or the various workshops. Also don’t forget to ask the elves about themselves. What better way to know someone than to ask them questions,” I said eyeing my dessert cookie.

“What if they ask me questions?” Candice asked concerned.

“Why you answer them of course,” Ms. Claus began. “Also tell them what you’d like to do to help Christmas be a success and always answer truthfully. Sometimes new elves want to impress others and exaggerate the truth a bit to make themselves sound more interesting. From my observations, that doesn’t work so well.”

Nodding in agreement with Ms. Claus, I leaned back in my chair. Stroking my beard, I added, “I must warn you, however, that people and elves can fall victim to a nasty problem when meeting others.”

Candice fidgeted with her hat, worried about what I might say. Then in a nervous voice asked, “What would that be?”

“Don’t pre-judge someone. Be open to talking with any of the elves. Until you talk with them, it is impossible to tell what they are really like. Besides, if it turns out you do not hit it off, they may introduce you to someone else who could become a friend.”

A slight smile showed on Candice’s face as she said, “I think I’m beginning to get it. By letting anyone I talk to know I’m new here, they will remember what it was like for them and take a little more time to help me out.”

“That’s right . . .”

Before Ms. Claus could continue, Candice jumped back in, “And the way an elf looks does not reveal his or her true self.” Thinking aloud she added, “Hummmm, I will have to be bold when finding out what they are like and take a risk when letting them know me.”

“Excellent! I think those are the two most important things, if you want to be a part of our community,” I said as I began to push back from the table. “Ms. Claus, I think our work here is done for today.”

Looking at us, Candice smiled. “Thanks Santa and Ms. Claus. You’re the best.”

Later that day, while Anya and I were taking a walk around the courtyard, I could not help but notice a group of elves hanging out in the gazebo at the center of the courtyard. I gave Ms. Claus a nudge and pointed in that direction. “Isn’t that Candice in the middle of those elves?”

“It is Santa!” Anya exclaimed as she smiled and laid her head on my shoulder. “She just needed a little nudge to overcome her shyness and talk to someone.”

“I’m glad we were able to help, but we both know that all you have to do to make new friends is to be open to them and truthful about yourself.”

Notes From Santa

To read more about Gwendolen please check out: Meeting Queen Gwendolen, which was posted on May 25, 2020;

I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one next Monday. 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 . . .

Illustration by FireMane Studio