Nippy Falls Apart

Grabbing my coat from the candy cane rack, I heard Ms. Claus yell from the other room, “Where are you going? You haven’t had your breakfast yet.”

“No time. That Space Hurricane lasted about eight hours last night, and I need to go outside to check the damage. I’m meeting Bernard and some of the elves by the West Entrance,” I explained while Anya helped me put on my coat.

“Hopefully nothing has happened that can’t be fixed,” she replied, giving me a quick kiss.

Heading down the hallway towards the West Entrance, I caught up with Bernard by his office.

“Morning Santa,” he said. “I contacted the crew just in case we need to make any repairs and was just heading there to meet them.” Slipping on his coat and hat, he sighed. “That was some storm last night.”

I nodded in agreement as we walked quickly, both of us concerned about possible damage to the village.

Reaching the entrance, Bernard and I saw the repair crew gathered around Polar Pete, who had laid something red on the snow. “What do you have there?” I asked.

“That’s why I was coming to see you. This is Nippy’s hat!” he exclaimed.

“Must have lost it in the storm last night,” remarked Bernard as he picked it up.

“I’m afraid he may have lost more than that,” Pete said with concern.

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

“On the way over here, I ran into Wiggle and Waddle, the penguins from the South Pole, and they were about to retrieve something they saw in the ice pond over the ridge that looked like Nippy’s arms. Pete turned and pointed to the ridge.

“Hum, this doesn’t look good for our friend Nippy,” I mused. Turning suddenly, I divided up the repair crew into two groups. “Bernard, you work with this team of elves and check out the village for possible storm damage. The rest of us are going to catch up with Wiggle and Waddle and see what they found.”

Nodding in agreement, Bernard and his crew headed toward the village while Polar Pete and I led the remaining elves toward the ridge. “I hope our friend isn’t hurt,” I muttered. “I could not bear the thought of something happening to Frosty’s cousin.”

As we reached the ridge, Polar Pete pointed towards the frozen pond and yelled, “Look Santa!”

I turned to see what had Pete so excited and noticed Wiggle and Waddle dragging Nippy’s arms behind them.

Making their way up the slope, the two penguins soon laid the hockey sticks, that once were Nippy’s arms, on the ground in front of us

“I’ve seen enough!” I exclaimed. “Nippy is in big trouble. Wiggle and Waddle did you find anything else that belonged to our friend?”

“No Santa, we didn’t. Except for the hat Polar Pete found, this is what remains of Nippy,” Wiggle explained as he began to cry.

“Now, now,” I said patting Wiggle on the head, “Let’s not give up hope yet. Since Nippy’s arms and hat were discovered in this area, I bet we can find more.”

“Whatever you want us to do, we are ready,” Polar Pete bellowed.

“Scooter can you go back to the village to get Vetter, our veterinarian, as well as Dior, our elf doctor. Though neither one of them had ever taken care of a snowman, I felt sure that they could help Nippy if he needed medical assistance. “The rest of us should spread out and look for anything that we know Nippy wears and bring whatever we find back here.”

After Scooter left, everyone scattered and searched the area. Before walking down the slope, I heard one of the elves yell, “Got something.” Pulling out the yellow squash, that was Nippy’s nose, from the snow, he waved it in the air for all to see and brought it over to lay in the pile with the hat and hockey sticks.

“Found Nippy’s eyes,” another elf called out as he walked up the slope and placed the coal lumps with the rest of what once was Nippy.

Slogging down the slope, I noticed something black in the snow and realized it was one of Nippy’s buttons. Picking it up, I looked carefully around where I was standing and soon found the others. Slipping them into my pocket, I trudged onward towards Polar Pete who had his nose in the snow. When I reached him, his paws had removed the snow from around a large, white ball. “This is definitely Nippy’s bottom part,” he said as we pushed it up the slope where the rest of the snowman’s parts were gathered.

Then Pete and I turned as one of the elves shouted, “I think I found part of Nippy.” With the help of his partner, the two pushed away the snow to reveal Nippy’s scarf still attached to another ball of snow. Lifting it, they carried what appeared to be Nippy’s head up the slope. All of us were surprised to see that his mouth had remained in place.

No one said anything, and I understood why. Speechless, I stood in shock at all the parts that once were Nippy lying on the ground in front of us. “Unlike all the King’s men and horses in Humpty Dumpty, I’m sure we can put Nippy back together again,” I responded as the two doctors arrived.

Vetter looked at Dior, hoping he had an idea. When he didn’t respond, she said, “I’m not an expert on snowmen, but if Nippy is like Frosty, I believe once we rebuild him and place his hat on his head, he should come back to life.”

Wiggle and Waddle agreed and centered the bottom ball of snow using their flippers to smooth the surface. Suddenly, without a word being spoken, everyone joined the penguins. When the smaller ball of snow was placed on the larger one and the hockey sticks were added, the group cheered in hopes that their friend might come back to life.

Taking the buttons out of my pocket, I gave them to one of the elves. Arranging them carefully down the center under Nippy’s scarf, the elf then took the coal and placed them in the area where Nippy’s eyes had been.

After Pete added the yellow squash on for his nose, I broke the silence, “His nose curved down not up.”

Dior agreed and twisted the squash so that it was placed correctly.

After several minutes Vetter spoke. “I guess all that’s left to do is put his hat on and see if it will bring him back to life like Frosty.”

“Pete, as Nippy’s best friend, I think you should be the one to put it on,” I said as I picked the hat off the ground and handed it to him.

Standing in front of his friend, Pete pulled the hat over the snowman’s head. “Keep your fingers crossed.” Making sure the ear flaps were down the way Nippy wore them, he took a couple of steps back.

The next ten seconds seemed like hours as Nippy slowly came to life. “What’s everyone doing here?” he asked surprised. “Did I miss breakfast?”

Everyone cheered in delight at the sound of Nippy’s voice. After everyone calmed down, I asked Nippy, “Do you remember the storm last night?”

Space Hurricane

“With the Space Hurricane, the Northern Lights were the most beautiful I had ever seen before!” Nippy exclaimed. “But the winds created from the hurricane blew so much snow that I could hardly see anything in front of my face.”

“Why didn’t you find a place to get out of the storm?” Polar Pete wondered.

“I was trying to find the West Tunnel entrance when I fell down a hill. The next thing I remember is waking up here with all of you staring at me,” Nippy explained as his mouth turned into a smile.

“Well, I’m sure everyone will agree that you gave us quite a scare, but we are happy that it worked out in the end. I don’t know what we would do without you,” I said looking around at everyone nodding in agreement.

“Promise that the next time a storm like this comes through, you find shelter before it actually starts,” Pete demanded.

“I will,” Nippy began. “I am so lucky to have friends like all of you. I will try not do anything to make you worry again!”

Everyone gave Nippy a hug and headed back to the village. When we arrived, Bernard’s team came over surprised to see Nippy. Once everyone had heard the story, they all gave the snowman a big hug.

As they began to return to their chores around the village, they heard Nippy yell, “Hey, I had a rough night. What about breakfast?”

Polar Pete laughed and put his arm around his friend. “That’s the Nippy I know and love. Always looking for his next meal!”

Notes From Santa

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;

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 . . .

A Surprise for Bernard

Getting ready to leave after breakfast, I smiled at Anya. “Well, my dear, is everything set?”

“I think it is all under control,” Anya said with a little sarcasm in her voice. “Now you better get going and let me get things rolling.”

Grabbing my hat, I gave my wife a quick kiss and headed to Bernard’s office. When I arrived, I found him sitting at the conference table going over all the reports. “Morning Bernard! Looks like it will be a great day today,” I stated.

“Hello Santa. Yes, I believe it will be. You know this is a very special day for me.”

“I could not agree more.”

“In fact,” Bernard responded, “I think this is MY favorite day of the year! A good day to celebrate!”

I knew that Bernard was anxious for someone to wish him a happy birthday, but in keeping with the plan I said, “It’s a special day for all of us. Once you get these reports finished, we will be able to begin programming all the workshops for Christmas 2021!”

Realizing that I was not going to wish him a happy birthday, Bernard hung his head down and began shuffling the papers around on the table.

“By the way,” I remarked, “I’m sending Lyra over to help you with the reports if you don’t mind. She knows math and is great at organizing reports.” I turned to hide the smile on my face and headed to the door. “I have some other things I need to check on and will return later,” I continued as I left his office.

Shortly after my departure, Lyra arrived to help with the reports. “Hey Bernard, where would you like me to start?” she asked.

In a sad voice, Bernard answered, “Why don’t you begin with the electronic toy reports.”

“Okay,” Lyra responded. Sensing something was bothering Bernard, she took a stack of papers and started organizing them. Without looking up, she asked, “Are you okay? You sound a little unhappy today.”

“To tell you the truth I am a little upset with Santa.”

Lyra immediately stopped what she was doing and stared at Bernard. “How can anyone be upset with Santa. Something big must have happened.”

“It’s more a case of what didn’t happen,” Bernard responded as he leaned back in his chair and put his hands behind his head.

“Did Santa forget to do something?”

“Only the most important thing to me outside of my work here at the North Pole.”

“Our work here is very important,” Lyra said as she gave Bernard a hug. “What did Santa forget that has you so upset?”

As the elves embraced, Bernard grinned and said, “Thanks for the hug, I needed that, especially since today is my birthday!”

Lyra leaned back a little and gave Bernard a big kiss on his left cheek. “Well Happy Birthday Bernard!” Then putting her hands on her hips, Lyra asked, “Santa didn’t wish you a happy birthday this morning, did he?”

“No!”

Shaking her head, Lyra insisted, “That surprises me. I’m sure he just had a lot on his mind. He’ll eventually remember. After all, has he ever forgotten your birthday?”

“Never, but it never fell on the same day as when the reports were due.” Bernard sat back in his chair and began working again. “Let’s face it, my birthday this year is just another work day and nothing special.”

Lyra hated to see anyone unhappy. “Maybe,” she began, “something special will happen later.”

Startled by Lyra’s reaction, Bernard gave her a strange look. “What are you getting at Lyra?”

“Nothing,” she answered nervously. “I’m just saying that a lot can happen between now and dinner time.”

Walking over to Lyra, Bernard stood facing her and asked, “For the second time, what are you getting at?”

Unable to keep a secret, Lyra blurted out, “Don’t be mad at me Bernard. I hate seeing you so unhappy and… well… Santa’s throwing you a surprise party tonight.” Realizing her mistake, she placed her hands over her mouth.

“A surprise party?” Bernard’s face began to glow with delight. “So Santa was teasing me this morning?” he mumbled to himself.

“I’m sorry I already said more than I should have.”

“It’s okay. It sure explains a lot. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone. This will be our secret, Lyra.”

As Bernard began to whistle, Lyra relaxed. “Let’s get these reports done. We don’t want to be late for your party!” she said smiling.

Later when the last report was finished and placed on the stack, Lyra looked up at the clock above the door and announced, “Right on schedule. By the time we walk from here to the dining hall, we should arrive for your party just in time.”

The elves cleaned up the table where they had been working and headed to the dining room. Lyra noticed that the closer they got to the hall, the bigger Bernard’s smile grew. When they approached, Lyra grabbed the door and turned to look at Bernard, “Let me get this for you,” she said bowing graciously.

The door opened and with his chest puffed out like a proud rooster, Bernard walked in and exclaimed, “Thanks everyone for . . .” he immediately stopped talking when he saw no one in the room except Santa. Glaring at Lyra, he muttered, “What the heck?”

Lyra was as surprised as Bernard. Shrugging her shoulders, she whispered, “I don’t know.”

“There they are,” I announced, “my two heroes on report day. I trust you have all of them finished and ready for our production meeting tomorrow morning.”

When Lyra realized Bernard could not gather his thoughts to answer, she responded for him. “We did Santa, and I think you will be happy with them.”

Finishing my hot cocoa, I set my mug on the table. “That’s good to hear.” Walking towards them, I said, “Before tomorrow’s production meeting, I was hoping we could go over to the warehouse and discuss plans for storing the toys.”

With great reluctance, Bernard struggled to find the words. “Sounds like a good idea,” he replied. “I’m free now if you want.”

“Fantastic!” I exclaimed, and the three of us left. As we headed toward the doors that led to the warehouses, I asked, “Do you mind if we stop by the recreation hall on the way? Doheny put some cookies out for the elves to snack on tonight, and I’d like to grab one, if that’s okay with you two.”

“Sure,” Bernard mumbled.

Arriving at the unlit hall, I opened the door and motioned to Bernard and Lyra to enter. “After you,” I said.

Suddenly all the lights came on to a chorus of “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” from all the elves who were gathered for the celebration.

I looked at a shocked Bernard, and joined in with the others.

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday Dear Bernard . . .

When the singing stopped, Bernard turned to me, and with tears on his cheeks, he gave me the biggest hug. Spotting Anya standing near us, he ran over to give her a hug as well. “You two are the best! I cannot thank you enough for this party!”

“No need to thank us,” Anya replied. “As you can see, all the elves think you’re pretty special.”

Bernard began making his way around the room, thanking all the elves and having the best time at his surprise party. After Bernard left, Lyra came over to Ms. Claus and me. Placing her hands on her hips, she smiled and said, “You tricked me!”

Anya and I looked at each other. “Lyra you have the biggest heart of any elf here at the North Pole,” began Anya as she put her arm on Lyra’s shoulder. “We knew you would not let Bernard go through the entire day thinking everyone forgot his birthday, but we also wanted him to be completely surprised. That’s when we decided to just change the location so that Bernard would still be surprised even after you told him about the party.”

“Honestly, Lyra,” I began, “we could not have pulled this off without knowing you’d follow your heart and make Bernard feel better. This was truly a surprise. Thank you.”

Notes From Santa

To read more about Lyra please check out:

How Rudolph Got His Red Nose – September 2, 2019;
Flying High – July 29, 2019;
The Lost Elves – February 3, 2020;
New North Pole Residents – March 9, 2020;
Lyra and Her Dogs – January 11, 2021;
I Think We Can – February 1, 2021;

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 Primary Times  

The Tooth Fairy

Entering the elves’ recreation room, I looked for Bernard thinking he might be taking a break. Not seeing him, I turned to leave when I heard, “Santa can we ask you a question?”

At a table in the back of the room, I noticed Rudy, Tiny, and Toto motioning for me to sit with them. Since completing their first year as Scout Elves last Christmas, the three had become good friends. “What can I do for you fine elves?” I asked as I walked up to the table.

Rudy stood up and pulled an empty chair out so I could sit down. “Santa, as you know we are new Scout Elves and were wondering about this Tooth Fairy we have heard so much about while visiting with the children,” he began.

Taking my seat, I chuckled and repeated, “The Tooth Fairy. What would you like to know?”

Rudy sat back in his chair, and began, “Being from Lapland, Finland, the Scandinavian tradition is that when children lose their baby teeth, they or a family member will wear it like a necklace for good luck.”

“You’re right and many countries have similar traditions.”

“Well Santa,” Rudy began suspiciously, “We understand that in the United States a Tooth Fairy arrives at night after the children fall asleep and takes the children’s baby teeth when they fall out…”

“And pay the child for the tooth!” Toto broke in as he finished Rudy’s explanation. Shrugging his shoulders, he added, “What’s up with that?”

“Ho Ho Ho,” I laughed. “That’s no different than the Vikings who would also pay for a child’s tooth to bring them good luck in battle.”

Tiny leaned back in his chair and shook his head. “That Viking tradition goes back more than 500 years, but Santa it is the Tooth Fairy that we are having an issue with.”

I placed my forearms on the table and clasping my hands remarked, “I’m not sure I know what you mean.”

“Working for you at the North Pole, we are all familiar with the Snow Fairies and their Magic Fairy Dust that you use to make Christmas happen, but we have never heard of this Tooth Fairy,” Tiny remarked.

“Have you ever met the Tooth Fairy, Santa?” Rudy asked.

“I have not,” I answered. “They have never come to visit us here at the North Pole.”

Folding his arms on his chest, Tiny burst out, “Then how do you know the Tooth Fairy exists?”

“That’s a fair question,” I responded. “First, I asked Gwendolen, the Queen of the Snow Fairies, about her, and she confirmed that she exists and lives in the lush forests of Iceland.”

While the three young Scout Elves thought about what I had just told them, I continued. “To this day, other than the Snow Fairies, the only other person I know who has seen her is a little boy named Max.”

“How did he manage that when even you have not?” Rudy demanded to know.

“Well, if you knew Max, you would understand. He was a very inquisitive, little boy who loved to take things apart so he could figure out how they worked.” I stroked my beard and after a short pause continued. “It was several years ago now, and Max was eight. I remember his Scout Elf telling me that Max would brush his teeth every morning after breakfast and in the evening before bedtime.”

“That’s nice,” Toto said impatiently, “but what about the Tooth Fairy?”

I smiled. “I’m coming to that if you’ll let me.”

“Sorry Santa,” Toto replied as he dropped his head. “I’ll try to be more patient.”

“I appreciate that,” I said and continued.  “Well, one morning while brushing his teeth Max decided to count them. There were 20 all total, and he was surprised that one was wiggly. His mom explained that these were his baby teeth that would eventually be replaced by his forever teeth. Later that day, it fell out. After he told her what had happened, she explained how the Tooth Fairy would come that night and give him a reward if he placed his baby tooth under his pillow.”

“A reward,” yelled Rudy, “under a pillow? That makes no sense. Any reward would have to be pretty small to fit underneath a pillow with someone sleeping.”

“Yeah!” exclaimed Tiny. “Wouldn’t a child wake up and see the Tooth Fairy? What’s the surprise in that?”

“You three need to use some patience so that I can finish without any more interruptions,” I said calmly. Smiling, I added, “Do you think you can do that?”

Embarrassed, Rudy, Toto, and Tiny nodded.

“I can understand your confusion, but most often the Tooth Fairy leaves money for a tooth. Max liked that idea and was excited when he put his tooth under his pillow. But before he did so,” I continued, “Max tied some dental floss around his finger and the other end around his tooth.  That way when the Tooth Fairy came to take it away, she would wake him up.”

Though the three elves were dying to ask me questions, they remained patient. “So… do you think he saw the fairy?”

“YESSS!” the elves blurted out before putting their hands over their mouths.

“Well, you’re right. A few hours later Max was awakened by a tug on his little finger, and when he opened one eye, he saw a tiny fairy, about the size of a butterfly, hovering over his pillow. She was trying to untie his tooth. When he offered to help, the Tooth Fairy accepted. Sitting up in bed, he untied the floss from his tooth and handed it to her. She took it and tucked the tooth inside the pocket of her dress. Before Max could respond she disappeared into the darkness of the night. Finishing my story, I added, “To this day, Max is the only one I know of that has been able to actually see the Tooth Fairy.”

“That’s one clever little boy,” Toto said giving a thumbs up.

Tiny scratched his head and wondered out loud, “If Max could figure out a way to catch the Tooth Fairy, then I bet he was able to catch you as well.”

With a big belly laugh I responded, “I have been caught by many young boys and girls over the centuries, but none of them remember.”

“How can that be?” the elves asked in unison.

“Because I have my Magic White Feather from the Ivory Gull that lives at the North Pole, but that’s a story for another day.” Pushing my chair back from the table I got up. “Now if you are satisfied with the Tooth Fairy, I must find Bernard so we can get some work done.”

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;
Invisible Elves, which was posted on October 19, 2020;
Scout Elves Return which was posted on November 9, 2020; and
Elf Uniforms which was posted on December 14, 2020

To read about the white feather please check out:
The White Feather, which was posted on May 18, 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 from Primary Times  

Me And My Shadow

The bright sun shone through the kitchen window as Berrie finished her shift inspecting candy canes. Hanging up her apron for the day, she smiled knowing that soon she would be outside with her special friend.

Clearing her throat for the second time, Doheny, a cookie maker, finally caught Berrie’s attention. “Like I asked before, do you have any plans for the rest of the day?”

“I’d like to spend a little time with my special friend before she disappears,” responded Berrie with a grin as she put on her boots.

“Special friend? I thought I was your best friend!” exclaimed Doheny placing her hands on her hips.

Berrie chuckled. “Of course, you’re my best friend, but I have someone special I like to meet from time to time.”

“Do I know her?”

“I don’t think I ever introduced you to her, but I’m sure you have seen her from time to time.”

Just then Hanna walked up to the two elves. “Just finished my shift for the day. Do you mind if I join the two of you?” she asked.

In a stern voice, Doheny replied, “Apparently, we are not good enough for Berrie. She is meeting with a special friend today.”

“That’s not true. I love both of you, but with the sun out I just want to spend a little time with my special friend. She will be leaving in a few hours, and then I will have plenty of time to spend with the two of you.” Then Berrie sang, “You don’t know who she is?” as if to tease the elves in fun.

“Where is she going? Is she returning to Lapland to visit relatives?” Doheny demanded to know.

“Of course not,” replied Berrie. After growing really tall, she begins to shrink, and when the sun sets, she just leaves.” Again, she ended with, “You don’t know who she is?

Hanna scratched her head. “Your special friend can grow and shrink?”

“Yes she can, and if I meet her in the middle of the day, she likes to play hide and seek.”

“What?” a confused Doheny asked.

“That’s right. Just about noon, she will go hide and when I can’t find her, she will just reappear without saying a word. I never have figured out where she is hiding,” Berrie explained, adding, “You don’t know who she is?

Doheny was beginning to lose her patience with Berrie and asked, “What else do you do with this friend besides play hide and seek?”

“I love to dance with her. No matter how or where I move, she is always right there by my side. She is the best dance partner I have ever had.” Berrie began dancing while singing . . .

Move this way, move that way,
See her do what I do, See her do what I do . . .

“Then we run across the snow,” Berrie continued. “No matter how slow or fast I go, she stays right with me. Sometimes she is on my left side, sometimes on my right, sometimes behind, and sometimes in front. No matter where she is, we have fun together.”

Curious, Hanna asked, “Does your friend have a name?”

“Not really,” Berrie remarked shrugging her shoulders. “To tell you the truth, we have never spoken. I guess you could say we have a very quiet friendship. But I don’t mind.” Berrie responded smiling broadly. “You don’t know who she is?

Doheny looked at her friend and laughed. “Of course, we don’t know who she is. You never introduced us.”

“That’s right,” Hanna added quickly. “Soo….. why can’t we all play together?

“Humm,” Berrie answered as she started to put on her coat. “I guess that’s possible, but she is shy. You know,” she added excitedly while putting on her gloves and hat, “I’m pretty sure that she has other friends who could spend some special time with each of you.”

Doheny and Hanna looked at each other and smiled. “Does that mean,” Doheny asked, “that we can all play together?”

“I don’t see why not,” Berrie responded. “Since we are finished with our shift, I think we need to go outside and have fun, don’t you?”

As each elf grabbed one of Berrie’s hands, they began to dance around in a circle, happy to be together. “We don’t have a lot of time,” remarked Berrie, “so hurry up and put on your coats and boots.”

Once the three elves were ready to face the cold outside, they walked down the hall and out the back door. Though the sun glowed across the snow and ice, Doheny and Hanna saw no one. Finally, Doheny wondered loudly. “Where are these special friends you talked about? I don’t see anyone? Was this a trick to get us outside?” she grumbled.

Laughing, Berrie pointed to her left. “Allow me to introduce you to my special friend.”

Shaking their heads in confusion, the two elves exclaimed, “WHERE!!”

Singing and dancing, Berrie threw her arms outward and twirled to the sound of her voice, and her shadow followed her.

“She got us again, didn’t she?” Doheny remarked as she realized that Berrie’s mysterious friend was her shadow.

“Yes she did!” exclaimed Hanna. “I love how she gets us thinking. Shadow-dancing looks like fun!”

The three elves began dancing and twirling with their shadows, and joined together singing,

Me and my shadow
Strolling around the North Pole
Me and my shadow
Dancing over every knoll

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; Santa’s Favorite Elf, which was posted on September 7, 2020; The Great Cookie Bakeoff, which was posted on July 6, 2020; The Key to Kindness, which was posted on November 2, 2020; and Elf Secrets, which posted on November 30, 2020

To read more about Berrie please check out: Not All Candy Canes Are The Same, which posted on July 22, 2019

To read more about Hanna please check out: The Lost Elves, which was posted on February 3, 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 Shoemakers

Bootsie knocked on my office door. Pushing it open, he asked, “Santa do you have a few minutes?”

“I always have time for my favorite bootmaker,” I said as I waved Bootsie to come in. “Who are your friends? I don’t believe I’ve seen them around the village.”

As the three elves entered, Bootsie introduced the new elves. “When I recently visited family and friends in Lapland, I was introduced to Soledad and Lacey,” he said pointing to each one. “They are from Tulppio in Lapland, Finland.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you both. Have a seat,” I said pointing to the couch beside my chair. “What brings you to the North Pole?”

“Well Santa, as you know,” Bootsie began, “I make the shoes and boots for all the elves as well as the harnesses for the reindeer teams. This year,” he continued hesitantly, “I noticed that I was struggling to keep up and thought…”

“I also noticed that,” I interrupted. “Do you want to train Soledad and Lacey to help you?”

“That’s the best part, Santa,” Bootsie responded as he sat on the edge of the couch. “They are skilled shoemakers and ready to start working right away.”

“That’s great Bootsie, but you know, having a skill is just part of being one of my elves. How do I know they have the heart to be one?”

Bootsie turned to face the new elves and said, “Why don’t you share the story you told me the other day?”

Soledad looked at Lacey and gave her a nod, and with that Lacey began. “There was a shoemaker back in Tulppio a few years ago who had fallen on hard times.”

“When we learned about his problems, Soledad and I decided we needed to step in and help,” Lacey continued. “That night after the shoemaker cut the last piece of fine leather to make a pair of shoes in the morning, we slipped into his workshop unnoticed.”

“We thought,” explained Soledad, “if we made a perfect pair of shoes for him, he would have no problem selling the shoes for the best price.”

“The next morning, we watched through the window, and when the couple went into the workshop, they were shocked to find a perfectly finished pair of shoes instead of the leather pieces. Before either could say a word, a gentleman came into the shop.”

“He was so impressed with the craftsmanship and fit of the shoes, he paid the cobbler twice the price and went on his way. Afraid to even talk about his good fortune, the shoemaker went out right away and bought enough leather to make two more pairs of shoes.”

Lacey nodded in agreement with what her partner had just said, and added, “Needless to say, the shoemaker once again cut the leather so that he could make the shoes when he awoke in the morning.”

Bouncing on the couch with excitement, Soledad interrupted, “We were happy that the cobbler was able to sell them for twice the price, so we again slipped into his shop and made the shoes for him.”

“The next morning, we watched again and saw the stunned, yet happy looks on the couples’ faces when they realized that both pairs of shoes had already been made,” Lacey said as she tried to duplicate their expressions.

“Just like the day before,” continued Soledad, “the first customers to see the shoes immediately bought them and paid twice the price. Again, the cobbler went out and bought more leather for even more shoes. This went on for several days. Whatever the shoemaker cut out in the evening, we made into shoes during the night.”

“Everyone seemed to be happy,” Lacey began. “We were glad to help someone, the cobbler and his wife avoided the poorhouse, and the customers who bought shoes from the shop enjoyed their comfort and style.”

When Lacey paused, Soledad grinned and said, “This is where the story takes a strange twist. Shortly before Christmas, the couple decided to stay up all night to see who was making the shoes.”

“Once again, Soledad and I returned to the shop,” Lacey remarked in a hushed voice. “Climbing through the window, we stopped to be sure no one heard us. After looking around the quiet shop, we felt certain it was safe to begin working.”

“We do that often while working,” Soledad added. “You never know if someone will hear the sound of our hammering.”

“Not to mention our humming and whistling,” Lacey chuckled. “We made quite a few shoes that night, including sturdy riding boots, delicate slippers, feather-light dancing shoes and heavy clogs for work. But not once did we suspect that the cobbler and his wife were watching us,” she added.

“How did you know they were hiding and watching you?” I asked.

Soledad gave his jacket a little tug and said, “Well Santa, we were more interested in helping others than doing things for ourselves … and uh … well we probably looked pretty shabby. At that time, our clothes were worn and dirty, and even with the cold, our coats were so thin that the icy wind cut right through them. Even our shoes were torn.”

After a short pause, Lacey explained, “We must have looked a sight because the next night instead of the leather cut and ready to be made into shoes, we found a warm shirt, coat, pants, and a pair of knit stockings for each of us. On top of that, the cobbler made us a pair of fine shoes.”

Sitting on the edge of my chair, I shook my head. “Amazing! What did you do?”

“At first we were too astonished to move,” Soledad stated. “Then we both took a long time looking around the room and into the hallway, trying to see where the couple could possibly be hiding. We finally gave up and after admiring our new warm clothes, we put them on,” Soledad said as he gave himself a bear hug.

Lacey jumped to her feet and began dancing around my office. “We leaped and bounced around the room, singing about our new found gifts.”

“Now we’re elves so fine to see,
No longer unsightly we will be.”

“That experience,” Lacey continued as she stopped dancing. “reminded both of us why we do what we do. Helping people in need and making them feel good about themselves is just the right thing to do.”

“That’s right Santa,” Soledad remarked proudly, “but it’s especially rewarding when you realize that those we help will take the time to do the same for others.”

Standing up, I announced, “That story was fantastic. I like your attitudes.” Wiping a small tear from my cheek, I looked at Bootsie and said, “There is no doubt that Soledad and Lacey both have the qualities we strive for at the North Pole, and if you are satisfied with their skills, then . . .”

Before I could say another word, Lacey and Soledad ran over and gave me the best hug. Completing the circle of giving, I smiled and reached down to hug them in return. Kind and helpful attitudes truly enhanced the spirit of giving.

Notes From Santa

To read more about Bootsie please check out: No More Snowshoes, which was posted on March 23, 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 from the Collection by Tina Rath

I Think We Can

Now that things had settled down after Christmas, Ms. Claus and I were relaxing in our PJs and drinking Judy’s special dark hot cocoa. “You know Anya, I am always surprised at just how serious the elves take making toys.”

“Doesn’t surprise me. You are usually busy reading all the letters and visiting with some of the children before Christmas, and aren’t always aware of everything that happens around here.”

“What do you mean?” I asked as I placed a log on the fire.

“Because I am not as busy as you are,” Anya explained, “I talk with the elves and sometimes help out when needed. The elves never want to disappoint you or the children, but I’ve seen some of them become very sad when they think they may not make enough toys!”

Surprised by her explanation, I turned in my chair to face my wife. “I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a sad elf. That’s serious,” I said stroking my beard.

“I agree, but sometimes that sadness brings out their best qualities,” Anya answered patting my hand. “Have I ever told you about Cocoa and Lyra?”

“No. What did they do?”

“It really shows what I am talking about,” Anya said shifting in her chair to look at me. “Well on Christmas Eve you were really busy, as usual, and the elves were working hard to get the final toys made . . .

Working in the Doll & Dollhouse workshop, Cocoa struggled to meet her goal. “I have not made my share of dolls yet,” Cocoa thought to herself. “If I don’t make enough, there may be a little girl somewhere who does not receive what she asked for under the tree.”

As the end of the workday got closer, Cocoa found herself falling further behind. Frustrated, she stopped Howie, who worked in the Electronic Toys & Games department. “Howie, I was wondering if you could help me for a bit?” she asked, “I am behind in making dolls and worried that a child may not get her doll for Christmas.”

Howie placed his hands on his hips and responded, “Sorry Cocoa, but this is not my department. What do I know about making dolls?” Before Cocoa could respond Howie was gone.

Continuing to work as hard as she could to get her dolls made, Cocoa fretted even more. “I could never forgive myself if someone didn’t get her doll because of me,” she said aloud, even though there was no one there to hear her.

Glancing up to see the time, she noticed another elf coming her way. It was Bricken, a worker in the Building & Construction toyshop. As soon as he was close enough, Cocoa called out, “Bricken, I know it’s not your department, but do you think you could help me. I’m afraid I will not make enough dolls by the end of my shift and thought . . .”

Before Cocoa could finish, Bricken passed her. Turning as he continued to walk, he said, “Sorry, Cocoa, but I’m really late meeting my friends. Though it was hard for me to make my quota, I did. I know you will too,” he responded as he moved faster.

Cocoa felt tears roll down her cheek as she looked at the clock and realized that without any help, she would not make the number of dolls Patches, her supervisor, asked her to make. While brushing away the tears, she heard humming and whistling. When it became louder, the little elf realized it had to be Lyra.

As one of the Supply Elves, Lyra made sure that the toy makers had all the materials they needed. According to rumors at the North Pole, Lyra’s big heart made her one of Santa’s favorites. While the elf approached, Cocoa wiped the tears from her face and took a deep breath. “Lyra,” she said stopping her, “I am not going to make enough dolls today to fill all of Santa’s needs unless I can get some help.”

“You realize that I’m just a Supply Elf and don’t actually make any toys,” Lyra responded.

“I know, but it’s really not that hard. I just can’t bear being the one to let those little girls down.”

“How many more do you need to make?” Lyra asked.

“I have just a little less than an hour to make 50 dolls. I usually make about 30 in that time.”

Lyra stood for a moment rubbing her chin as she thought about Cocoa’s situation. Suddenly, she pulled out a chair from the table and shouted, “I think I can! Let’s get started.”

As Cocoa showed Lyra how to put the dolls together, Lyra continually repeated, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can . . .”

Once Cocoa was confident Lyra knew what to do, she looked at the clock and realized that she had fallen even further behind. “We’ll have to work faster, if we want to keep all the little girls happy.”

“I think I can, I think I can!” was the only response from Lyra.

It was not long before Cocoa noticed that Lyra was making dolls as fast as she was. Though all Lyra said was, “I think I can,” Cocoa realized that they might just get enough dolls made. Then Cocoa smiled and joined Lyra. Together they sang, “I think we can! I think we can!” as the two continued making dolls.

Working faster and faster, the two elves noticed that the number of completed dolls grew. When the bell rang to signal the end of the day, Cocoa looked at the bin full of dolls and remarked, “We did it! Not only did you help me to meet my goal, it also looks like we made a few extra.”

Cocoa stood and gave Lyra a huge hug, “I cannot thank you enough. Now everyone who asked for one of these dolls will get one.”

“I thought I could help, and once I got the hang of making the dolls, I knew we could do it!” Lyra exclaimed proudly.

“Well, I don’t think I could have done it without your help. Thank you so much!” Cocoa said.

“Of course, you could have done it. Patches would not have asked you to make them if she did not think you could. The only thing you were missing was the belief that you could do it. Believing in yourself is the most important thing,” Lyra said. Slipping her arm through Cocoa’s, she turned and the two made their way towards the door. Then the elves began skipping down the hallway singing, “We thought we could and we did! We thought we could and we did!”

Ending her story, Anya looked at me. “We have amazing workers, don’t you think?” she declared.

“You are so right my dear,” I answered as I stood up to stretch.

“The elves take their work more seriously than you might think,” Anya said as she walked over to give me a hug, “they often help whenever and wherever needed, and my dear,” she continued, “that makes Christmas even more special at the North Pole.”

Notes From Santa

To read more about Lyra 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; The Lost Elves, which was posted on February 3, 2020; New North Pole Residents, which was posted on March 9, 2020; and Lyra and Her Dogs, which posted on January 11, 2021

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 

New Toys

“Ready for your meeting today?” Ms. Claus asked as we walked through the mailroom.

“Yes, but concerned,” I answered as my wife opened the door for me. “You see, I don’t want the elves getting the wrong impression. As much as I appreciate all the video games they make for the children, who love them, I think we need more toys to help girls and boys become more active and play with others.”

Ms. Claus nodded, “I agree, many of the electronic games and cell phones don’t encourage physical activity or getting together with friends.” Giving me a quick kiss, Anya smiled and added, “I know the elves will listen when you explain how you feel. They’re always looking to do the best for you and the children.”

“You’re right. Wish me well,” I said as I gave Anya a hug.

Walking toward the conference room, I thought about the hard work all the elves at the North Pole put into making Christmas 2020 a success. Now many of them were returning to their homeland in Lapland to visit their relatives during our down time before production begins in June. Bernard and I had worked out a schedule earlier that left enough elves at the North Pole to make any changes that might be needed in the workshops.

As I opened the door to the conference room, a loud applause broke out when Bernard and the supervisors of my fourteen toy workshops stood up and began cheering. I motioned for them to sit back down with my hands and said, “Thank you for that, but it is your hard work that we should be applauding.”

Bernard remained standing, grinned, and said, “Santa, I think I speak for everyone here when I say that without your leadership none of this would be possible.”

“Thanks Bernard, but I believe if we did not work together as a team, Christmas might not happen. This meeting, however, is not about 2020; it is about preparing for next Christmas,” I explained taking my seat.

As all the elves nodded in agreement, Bernard remarked, “So what’s on your mind, Santa?”

“Glad you asked,” I said while looking around the table at the happy faces of my managers. “Yes, 2020 was a success, but as all of you know so well, the corona virus kept people in their homes. Since many schools held virtual classes, the children didn’t get a chance to have fun with their friends.”

“You are right, Santa,” Bernard announced as many of the elves nodded. “The children stayed inside and when not on their computers for school, they played video games, watched TV, or were glued to their cell phones.”

Realizing that the elves understood, I continued with my plan. “I was hoping we could develop toys that would encourage the children to get away from the TV and computer screens, play with others, and go outside more.”

The Building and Construction workshop manager raised his hand. “I have an idea Santa,” Girder said standing up. “Ever since we introduced Lego Bricks back in 1949, they have grown in popularity. Now I see Legos going in a new direction. With all the interest in robots lately, I want to develop the Lego Boost Creative Toolbox.”

“Just what would that be?” I asked Girder.

“The children would be able to build robots out of Legos and then program them on their tablets. Using what they have learned in school and their skills, they could make almost anything they can imagine.” While everyone else talked among themselves, Girder added, “There’s just one problem.”

“What is that?” Bernard asked.

“Well since it involves electronics, which is Fizzlepop’s workshop, my team would need to work with them to make this new toy a possibility.”

Excited, Fizzlepop responded without hesitation, “I think this is a great idea. Working with Girder and his crew on the project would be fun!”

“I love how all of you work together on projects!” I exclaimed. As the two elves grinned with pride, I added another challenge. “You know, since video games are so popular, could we create some that get the children outside and moving?”

“What do you mean, Santa?” asked Frolik, manager of the Sports & Outdoor Play workshop.

“Back in the 70s walkie talkies were very popular. The children would run all over the neighborhood just to see how far away they could get and still talk with each other. That led to the children doing more exploring. They had so much fun using the walkie talkies back then,” I explained. “Now imagine using today’s cell phones to connect kids to the outdoors.”

Frolik shrugged his shoulders and said, “I’m not sure what you mean. We don’t make cell phones because you and Ms. Claus believe that parents should decide when a child gets a phone.”

“You’re right!” I interrupted. “But what if there was a device similar to a phone or a walkie talkie that had maps of the area and rewards or goals programmed into it. Then, let’s say you had something like a scavenger hunt, where individuals or teams would have to read clues and look for the things hidden within the landscape around them. This could encourage friendly competition to see who could find it first, or they could work together to find the treasure.”

Fizzlepop scratched his head. “I think I see what you are getting at,” he remarked as he looked across the table at Frolik. “Santa wants a game that puts children outside working with others. The possibilities are endless!” he exclaimed.

Smiling, Frolik added, “I see kids exploring their neighborhoods or discovering nature. They could ride bikes and scooters or be on foot. It wouldn’t matter as long as they worked as a team. I like that Santa.”

“And here’s another idea,” I announced loudly. “What about using Virtual Reality and merging it with the real world? Kids would see everything just as they would without the headset, but with the addition of virtual things or people.”

“YEAH!” Frolik hollered. “They could even play team games like soccer! The VR would provide the ball and other players, making it feel like you were playing in a real game!”

The conference room exploded with enthusiasm. Elves began sharing ideas of what they would like to do virtually as well as what would work for children. Finally, Bernard stood to quiet everyone down. When all the talk stopped, he said, “Santa, from the excitement in the room, I think you have challenged the elves to get the children outside, while still letting them play their video games. But I am not sure we have that technology yet.”

“Maybe not, but if we want to develop toys like we have talked about today,” I reminded them, “then we need to create ways for the children to have fun while exercising their bodies as well as their minds.”

“Santa,” Quinten, head of Research and Development, began, “I think my department would be proud to work with the other elves. These ideas may not be created right away, but I’m sure with all of us working together, they could eventually become reality.”

“I am counting on that!” I said loudly with pride. “Use your elf magic and imagination and make it happen. After all, if we put the right toys in the hands of children, they will be able to learn while being active.”

“And by interacting with others it will be fun,” Bernard exclaimed as he jumped out of his chair. “Who knows, maybe it will lead to making school more fun as well.”

Notes From Santa

NON-ENDORSEMENT – Reference to any specific company, products, processes, or services by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise in this blog, on the Website, or Online Profiles does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Cincy 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 . . .

Christmas Movies

The stars twinkled brightly as Ms. Claus and I left the North Pole Theater. Once again with the Christmas season over, the movie house opened its doors nightly at the North Pole, offering a different movie each night for two weeks. As several elves passed by, heading for the fire ring in the town square, Bernard stopped us. “What did you think of Christmas Chronicles II?” he asked grinning.

“Where do the people who make Christmas movies get their ideas? Imagine me making healthy food to look and taste like cookies, cakes, or candy!” Ms. Claus exclaimed shaking her head as she brushed some of the popcorn kernels from my beard.

“I know what you mean. Why would anyone think the Northern Lights were a veil of protection for us?” Bernard said laughing. “We just enjoy them. So, Santa, what did you think?”

“Myths about me have been handed down orally for over a thousand years and told millions of times,” I remarked as the three of us headed to the bonfire.  “Yet it seems that movies have gone way beyond any of the oral stories. Still,” I continued, “it’s fun to see what movie makers create. After all, those who retell a story often exaggerate what made an impression on them, especially something they liked.”

“Gotta go,” said Bernard. “I’m the one lighting the fire tonight. See the two of you later.”

As Bernard left quickly, Anya grabbed my arm with both her hands and asked, “So the movie writers are just telling their version of a story about you that they liked?”

“You got it,” I remarked. “Sometimes they let their imaginations take over to describe the things they can’t explain, like how I get the toys into one bag in my sleigh.”

Ms. Claus nodded as we continued to make our way toward the bonfire. “You’re right. It was interesting to see how some kind of worm hole effect had been created in Christmas Chronicles I that we watched last night. I laughed as the presents were continually filling Santa’s bag from the bottom as they came from the North Pole.”

“That was very creative,” I said, “but The Polar Express we saw the first night does not even try to explain it. In that movie they show a bag of toys overflowing my sleigh and almost as tall as the tree in the town square. Truth is, if I put each toy for every good boy and girl in one bag – why that bag would be bigger than the biggest building you ever saw!”

“Has anyone got it right?” Ms. Claus wondered aloud, as we watched several elves gathered around the fire ring in the square.

The Santa Clause depicts what actually happens, but does not explain how it happens.” Seeing a quizzical look on Anya’s face, I continued. “After delivering presents to one house, Scott Calvin, acting as Santa tells his son that he can’t make any deliveries when they arrive at the next house because the bag is empty. As he picks up the bag to show him, he discovers it is mysteriously full.”

“I don’t remember if that movie ever explained about the Green Magic Fairy Dust,” Anya said.

“It didn’t, but there would be no way for the movie writers to know about that. The four magic Fairy Dusts we get from the Snow Fairies are not known to anyone outside of our North Pole family.”

“True, but I’m a little surprised that no one has imagined some sort of fairy dust to make things happen on Christmas,” Anya remarked as she and I watched Bernard light the fire.

Making our way toward our cozy little nook by the bonfire, we settled into our favorite two-seater. Slipping my arm around her shoulders, I continued to explain my fascination with movies about Christmas. “You know,” I began, “I think the strangest thing I’ve seen was also in The Santa Clause, when my bag full of toys suddenly becomes like a balloon full of helium that hovers over the chimney so that I can be sucked down.”

Ms. Claus laid her head on my shoulder and asked, “Is that the same movie that creates a fireplace if they don’t have one?”

“It is. Ever since the poem ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas’ in 1823, all the writers of books and movies seem to be focused on me coming down a chimney from the rooftop. Of course, back then all houses had a chimney, but not these days.”

“Do the children ever ask you about how you get in if they don’t have a chimney?”

“All the time!” I exclaimed. “That’s why I keep my magic key on my belt, so I can show them. You’d think by now a writer would have thought about that.”

Sitting straight up, Anya gave me a puzzled look and asked, “Do any of these movies ever get something right?”

“There are a few things, like all the elves seeing me off at the town square in The Polar Express,” I remarked. “They got that one right, and then in Christmas Chronicles I, they talked about using the stars to find my way, which is also true. However, after 197 years, ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas’ is still the most accurate writing.”

“Why do you think that is?” Anya asked in response as she accepted two mugs of hot cocoa and a couple of large Snickerdoodles. “Thanks Blanche.”

“No problem, both of you deserve some treats by a relaxing fire.”

After Blanche left, Anya pressed me to explain about Clement Moore’s poem. “Well, he did not write it based on the myths and legends,” I said. “He actually caught me delivering presents to his house.”

“You are kidding,” laughed Anya. “Imagine that. Every child has dreams of catching you delivering presents, but Moore actually caught you in action.”

While sipping my hot cocoa, I pulled Anya closer and continued. “That’s right. The only thing inaccurate was how I got back up the chimney. Because he was behind me, Moore could not really see that I was sprinkling yellow fairy dust on myself.”

Smiling broadly, Ms. Claus stated, “Even though I look forward to watching Christmas movies and reading all the books about you, I hope no one ever finds out how you make Christmas happen.”

Laughing, I exclaimed, “SO DO I!! Thankfully tomorrow’s movie is not about me.”

“Really? A Christmas movie at the North Pole that’s not about you?” Anya said in a surprised voice.

“That’s right! It’s one of my favorite movies about ‘the holy grail of Christmas gifts’.”

“A Christmas Story?!” Ms. Claus exclaimed as she leaned back looking at me.

“That’s right, a story about the official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle and the boy who wanted one.”

“Now Santa, what would you actually say to that boy if he told you about the rifle,” Anya said grinning.

“Why, I’d have to say; ‘You’ll shoot your eye out, kid’.”

Both of us burst out laughing!!!

Notes From Santa

To read more about Magic 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; Meeting Queen Gwendolen, which was posted on May 25, 2020; and The Magic of Christmas, which was posted on October 5, 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 . . .

Lyra and Her Dogs

As Ms. Claus turned to shut the door to the mail room, she heard Lyra calling from the end of the hallway, “Ms. Claus, Ms. Claus…. so glad you haven’t left yet.” Finally catching up to Anya, she gasped, “I really need…. to talk to you.”

“Slow down Lyra,” Ms. Claus said. “What seems to be the problem?”

“The dogs,” she said after catching her breath. “Crosley doesn’t look so good, and I’m not sure about Mattie.”

Knowing how much Lyra loved her dogs, Ms. Claus opened the door to the mailroom. “Have a seat and tell me what the problem is. If it’s that bad, we need to call Santa and….”

“No!” Lyra exclaimed. “He’ll think I didn’t take care of them like before when I…”

“Lyra, he won’t because you came to me,” Ms. Claus stated. “Now, what is it?!”

“The dogs and I were taking a break in the Common Room by the fireplace when one of the elves asked me to come into the hallway to help her move a box, so I did. I wasn’t gone long, but when I got back, I could tell that Crosley had eaten something. Since I couldn’t see any left-over food or packaging, I sat down by the fireplace and relaxed. Both dogs were lying down, but about 30 minutes later, Crosley started to get sick. I cleaned up the mess and ran to find you. Something is terribly wrong,” she cried, anxiously rubbing her hands.

“Humm….” Reaching for the intercom, Ms. Claus called Vetter and asked her to meet them in the Common Room. “This sounds serious.”

“But Vetter takes care of the reindeer. What does she know about dogs?”

“Lyra, she is a veterinarian and knows animals. Let’s hurry so that we can meet her.”

Shortly after we arrived at the Common Room, Vetter came in with one of her assistants. Going immediately to Crosley, she examined his eyes, mouth, and listened to his heart. Then she turned to Mattie and did the same routine. Standing up, Vetter looked at Lyra and shook her head. “I’m glad you called me when you did. Crosley is definitely sick, but I think Mattie is fine. I sent my assistant to get a transport for both dogs so that they can be examined in my office.”

Within five minutes a team of elves arrived and lifted both dogs into an animal transport. After they left, Vetter turned to face Lyra. “You do know that dogs should not eat chocolate, right?”

“Of course I do,” responded Lyra giving Vetter a strange look. “Santa told me that if he allowed me to keep the dogs, I’d have to learn how to take care of them and I have.”

After Vetter listened, she patted Lyra’s hand.  “Crosley’s breath had a sweet scent, and I think he might have eaten some chocolate, which you know can be deadly to dogs. It would help to know what he ate and how much. Can you try to find out for me?”

Lyra nodded her head sadly as Ms. Claus thanked Vetter.

Sitting down on the sofa, Lyra began to cry. “It’s my fault, just like before. But this time, Crosley is really sick, and I’m afraid he will die. What am I going to do?”

Slipping her arm over Lyra’s shoulders, Ms. Claus pulled the elf closer and let her cry. When the tears ended, Ms. Claus explained, “Remember, you were helping another elf, and we know Crosley’s reputation for getting into everything.”

Lyra blew her nose and then whispered, “Thanks Ms. Claus. I thought you might be mad at me for what happened.”

Taking the young elf’s face in her hand, Ms. Claus smiled. “Lyra, sometimes accidents happen. It’s what we do afterwards that makes a difference. So, what do you say we solve this mystery?”

Lyra looked around the room and said, “I guess we need to start here where I left the dogs.”

“I agree. You examine the back of the room; I’ll investigate the front.”

While inspecting the room, a few elves walked in and took seats close to the fireplace in the back. Ms. Claus heard them as they began to grumble.

“I thought you said that Doheny left chocolate fudge out for all of us by the fireplace,” remarked one elf, “but all I see is an empty platter.”

Walking toward them, Ms. Claus asked, “Did you say that Doheny left fudge out for a snack?”

As they nodded in agreement, Crystal spoke up hesitantly, “Sorry Ms. Claus, we didn’t see you in the corner.”

“That’s OK. I was looking for something, but I think you may have given me the answer. How much fudge did she leave out?”

“Well…. she made three large pans of her famous chocolate fudge this morning,” explained Crystal, “and I saw her bring a platter of it into this room and set it by the fireplace.”

“Is something wrong Ms. Claus?” asked TuTu.

Lyra had quickly walked up from the back of the room as soon as she heard the word chocolate. “That’s got to be it Ms. Claus because I was here around 11:00 with the dogs when one of the elves asked me to help move some boxes.”

“What happened?!” exclaimed the four elves in unison.

“Seems as if Crosley, one of Lyra’s dogs, ate the fudge before anyone could taste it,” explained Ms. Claus shaking her head, “and now he’s quite sick. Vetter is examining him in her office now. Thanks Crystal. I think she’ll want to know what you told me. Got to run.”

As Ms. Claus quickly caught up with Lyra, both of them ran toward Vetter’s office. By the time they arrived, Vetter had walked out of the examination room. “Well, you two were quick. What did you discover?” she asked taking a seat behind her desk.

Lyra quickly spoke up and shared Crystal’s information. By the time she had finished, tears were streaming down her face. “Will Crosley be OK?” she sobbed.

Again Ms. Claus put her arm around Lyra trying to comfort the elf.

“Crosley will recover,” stated Vetter. “Though chocolate can hurt and even kill a dog, we found out quickly what he ate. Now I know how to treat him. Imagine that, a whole platter of Doheny’s fudge.  I don’t think any of us at the North Pole will forget this story,” she chuckled.

By this time Lyra began to calm down. “I’m so relieved,” she said, “but when can I see him?”

“We had to sedate Crosley so that we can pump his stomach and get rid of all that chocolate fudge,” explained Vetter. “Then we’ll give him the medicine he needs. Though Mattie is not showing any signs of being sick, we’ll keep both dogs overnight for observation.”

“Thanks Vetter,” Lyra said. “I appreciate everything you have done.”

“Relax Lyra, both dogs will be fine. Come back in the morning. They’ll be anxious to see you. In the meantime,” she said chuckling, “we need to remind all elves to keep snacks, especially chocolate, up high enough so that Crosley and Mattie don’t take anymore samples.”

As Ms. Claus and Lyra exited Vetter’s office, they walked calmly down the hallway. Finally, Lyra spoke up. “I guess I’ll have to tell Santa.”

Ms. Claus grinned. “I’m sure Santa already knows. News travels quickly at the North Pole.”

“I know he’ll be so disappointed in me and….”

Before Lyra finished, Ms. Claus broke in. “Not this time. The misadventures of your dogs had nothing to do with you. They brought this on all by themselves.”

As both began to laugh, Lyra turned and gave Ms. Claus a hug, “Thanks so much for helping me,” she whispered, “I don’t know what I would have done without your calm nature.”

“I’m always here when you need me. Now go find Santa,” Ms. Claus stated giving Lyra a playful push. “I’m pretty sure he would appreciate hearing your version of the misadventures of Crosley and Mattie.”

Santa’s Notes

To read more about Lyra’s dogs please check out:  New North Pole Residents, which was posted on March 9, 2020

To read more about Lyra please check out: How Rudolph Got His Red Nose, which was posted on September 2, 2019; Flying High, which was posted on July 29, 2019; and The Lost Elves, which was posted on February 3, 2020; 

To read more about Vetter please check out: Virus Threatens Santa’s Reindeer, which was posted on March 30, 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 

Sleigh Problems

“What do you mean the sleigh is not ready?” I demanded. “Tomorrow is January 7th, and the children in the 18 countries who celebrate Christmas based on the Orthodox calendar are expecting me.”

Sledge helplessly shrugged his shoulders and looking down at the ground replied, “Santa I do not know what happened. All my improvements worked fine for your December 25th deliveries, but when I was running through the pre-flight check list for your departure, the right truss and runner would not go back down.”

“You mean one is down and the other is up?”

“That’s right, and I am not sure what is wrong,” Sledge remarked scratching his head, “but I’m working on it. If I can’t get it ready in time, would one of the mail sleighs work?” he asked.

“That’s a tight squeeze, but I might be able to make it work if necessary,” I replied. “While you work on fixing the sleigh, I’ll talk with Houser in the warehouse,” I explained heading out the door as Sledge slipped under the sleigh to try and fix the problem.

I found Houser just inside the entrance to the warehouse directing the elves with packages to the proper location for delivery. “Houser, do you have a moment; we may have an issue.”

Seeing the concern on my face, Houser immediately said, “Rackem, can you take over? Santa needs to talk with me.” Handing him the clipboard, Houser pointed in the direction of his office, and the two of us walked down the hallway.

As Houser settled into his desk chair, he asked, “What can I help you with Santa?”

Pacing slowly across the room, I explained, “There is an issue with my sleigh, and I may have to use one of the mail sleighs for the January 7th deliveries. Can you make that happen?”

“To be honest, there isn’t a lot of space in them for the deliveries you’ll be making on the 7th.”

“That’s why I came down to see you,” I said. “What if the gifts were broken into two batches, could you send them to me that way?”

Houser leaned back in his chair and stared at the ceiling. Snapping his finger, he smiled. “I think we can make that work. Once I know the capacity of a mail sleigh,” he explained, “I’m thinking we might get the gifts for a family of three in the bag. Then for larger families, I could tele-transport a second batch of gifts.”

Orthodox Christmas Countries“I will lose a bit of time waiting for the second batch, but with only 18 countries that should not be an issue. It’s probably good that it didn’t happen on December 25th when I had 120 countries to visit.”

“Don’t worry Santa, I got this,” Houser stated. “I’ll start preparing the warehouse for multiple deliveries. We should have enough time to prepare things by tomorrow.” Before I could even respond Houser was out the door.

Confident, I headed back to the sleigh barn. When I entered, I saw Sledge standing in front of the drafting table where he had the blueprints for the truss and runner retractor. “Have you found anything?” I asked hoping he would say yes.

Sledge put his hands on his hips, shook his head and said, “I’m afraid not Santa. All I seem to have found is a strange scent coming from under the sleigh.”

“What kind of scent?” I demanded.

“Why? What would that have to do with the problem?” When Sledge realized I was serious, he continued, “It was a funky, earthy smell with a hint of sulphur. I figured it was something you picked up ….”

“Malador!” I shouted without letting him finish, “Show me where you noticed the odor on the sleigh.”

As soon as I sniffed the area, I knew I was right. “No mistaking that stink. You are right; it is something I picked up while making my deliveries.”

“What’s a Malador?” Sledge wanted to know.

“Not a what. Malador is a who. You see, many years ago when I needed help making all the toys, I also considered using Gremlins. I chose elves because they were so caring, smart, and quick. Well, there was one Turdish Gremlin from Turden Island in the Arctic Circle who has never forgiven me.”

“And you think he sabotaged your sleigh?”

“He does try to do things like this from time to time. It’s been many years since the last time he did anything. Honestly, after we caught him trying to tell the Scout Elves that they did not need to report back to me each night, I thought he finally gave up.”

“But Santa, knowing who did it, does not help me fix it!”

“Actually, it does. Whatever he did, it has to be in the area near the scent. I’m confident that you will find your answer there.” Not waiting for a response, I turned and headed to the mailroom to check last-minute letters that needed my attention.

As I entered the mail room, Ms. Claus met me with a grin. “Sledge just called,” she remarked. “He said to tell you that you were right, and the sleigh is ready for tomorrow night.”

“As soon as I knew Malador was involved, I realized Sledge could find the problem.”

“Malador? Santa, please tell me he has not returned,” Anya said as she stood up.

“Yes, he has, and as usual the smell he left behind helped me direct Sledge where to look and what to do.”

“You know Santa,” Ms. Claus began as she gave me a hug, “one of these days he is going to do something you can’t fix and ruin Christmas for a lot of children.”

“That may be true Anya, but we outsmarted Malador this time. However, we are going to have to watch for him. At least for now, we know the last of my deliveries will be made without any problems.”

Notes from Santa

To read more about Santa’s Sleigh, please check out: Santa’s Improved Sleigh, which was posted on March 16, 2020; and Christmas Deliveries, which was posted on December 28, 2020.

To read more about the Orthodox Christmas, please check out: The Last Deliveries, which was posted on January 6, 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