I knelt down beside the Lego table at Holiday Junction, and asked, “Anyone here know how to make a car out of these blocks?” All the children seemed happy to tell ‘Santa’ how to make a car.
As we were putting our cars together, I sensed someone starring at me. Looking down to my left I saw little Samantha looking at the key hanging from my belt. “Do you like my key?” I asked as I lifted it up so she could see it better.
“It’s shiny.” After a short pause she continued, “And really big. Is that the key to the North Pole?”
Laughing, I answered, “No. Would you like to know what I use it for?”
“You bet!” Samantha exclaimed.
“Well first, can you tell me how ‘Santa’ gets into your house on Christmas to leave your presents.”
“Everyone knows you come through the chiminly,” she said giggling.
“That’s right. But not everyone has a fireplace like you do. And then sometimes daddies forget to put the fire out.”
“So they don’t get presents? See Daddy, I told you that it was important to put out the fire on Christmas Eve.”
“So Mom, I guess we’ll have to remember that,” he answered, nudging his wife.
“I think your mom and dad have that under control,” I responded winking at Samantha’s parents. “However, since some homes don’t have fireplaces, I need to come through a door, usually the back door so that all the children on the nice list get presents.”
Before I could continue, Samantha said, “So you got keys for all the houses?”
“I have one key,” I explained as I took the key from my belt to show her. “All I have to do is tap the lock three times with this key, and the door unlocks.”
“Then you leave the presents?”
“Yes, then I leave the presents under their tree.”
Satisfied Samantha returned to the Lego table and began making a house. Placing my key back onto my belt, I realized Samantha had moved on from talking and was busy playing. Looking to the left, I saw mom and dad give me a relieved smile.
“We appreciate your answer,” dad remarked, “because that’s been bothering Samantha for a long time.”
As I continued to walk along the Lego table, it made me happy to see the children using their imaginations while building things. I also noticed how some shared with one another, while others helped those who were not sure what to do. Though it was crowded, I also noticed parents, relatives, and friends working with their children. Feeling the love in the room, I was grateful. Finally I announced, “Since all of you are so busy creating unique things, I think the elves and I could use your help.”
Some of the boys and girls looked up and grinned; others continued to work steadily on their creations. However, Connor and Leeanna, a brother and sister, soon came running in my direction.
“Did you really mean that Santa,” exclaimed Connor. “Can we really go to the North Pole to make toys?”
Catching up with her brother, Leeanna added, “We’re really good at making stuff.”
“Hummmmm, well we can always use the help,” I answered bending down to talk with them. “But you do realize that you’d have to live at the North Pole all year long. Would your parents be OK with that?”
Surprised at my answer, Connor responded, “All year??!! Couldn’t we do it maybe in the summer when we are out of school?”
Shaking her head, his sister said loudly, “Are you crazy? What about swimming and playing soccer with our friends….and family vacations? We couldn’t do any of that. Besides,” she added hesitantly, “I’d miss Mom and Dad.”
A serious look came over her brother’s face as he thought about what his sister had just said. “Santa,” he said quietly, “I don’t think we can come to the North Pole. I mean… what will our Mom and Dad do? Who will take care of our dog, Crosley? I guess I never thought we’d have to live up there all year.”
Finally the two quietly muttered together, “Sorry Santa,” and dropped their heads.
Smiling, I reassured them that it wasn’t a problem and thanked them for their offer. “Besides,” I explained, “that’s why I have elves. The North Pole is their home, so they never have to leave anyone. I’m glad that you love your mom and dad. They really need the two of you.”
Relieved, the two looked me in the eye. “I’m glad you’re not mad at us,” Leeanna remarked, “because we love you.”
“And I love both of you,” I answered, hugging them. “Now do me a favor and be extra good for your parents, and stop fighting so much with one another.”
Giving me a startled look as if to say, ‘How’d you know that,’ the brother and sister gave me high fives and ran back to their grandparents who smiled and gave me a thumbs up.
Walking back to my chair in the Santa room, I thought about how important it was for children to have people who loved them. Though some didn’t have two parents or even any parents, those who stepped in for them- relatives, friends, guardians, teachers- were just as important. Entering the Santa room, I looked at the smiling faces of the children and adults waiting in line and knew that love made all the difference.
Note 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 . . .