Category Archives: Playfulness

Letters from Mrs. Claus (#24)

December 24, 2020

Dear Sophia and Jacob,

Santa’s already on his way.  I think of him often throughout the day, but I don’t worry a bit.  He’s very well-practiced.  Mostly, I’m writing letters by the fireside, and in between, I’m knitting some socks.

Most of the elves have nothing to do.  I think a few have started a snowball fight.  Elf Sunkiss and Elf Sweetdew have started preparing our Christmas feast.  Elf Jellyfrost is picking up the train tracks.  Elf Snowfeather is fretting that he might have sent The Secret Garden to a child he’d marked down for Little Lord Fauntleroy, and he’s already scheming how to remedy that next year.  But the rest are all snoozing or snacking.

Except.  Elf Cedarspice—Senior Cartography and Routing Coordinator.  Remember him?  He’s in touch with Santa all through Christmas Eve, monitoring for weather, adjusting the route for passing airplanes, making calculations so that Santa won’t frighten any geese.  He tracks sources of fresh water, in case the reindeer get thirsty, and even helps Santa dodge falling stars.  Every so often, I check on him, but he’s so intent on his maps and mathematics that I’m not certain he knows I’m there.

This will be my last letter of the season, but I’ll put one more surprise in the mail for you tomorrow.  I’m so glad you decided to write to me.

Merry Christmas!

Yours sincerely,

                  Mrs. Claus

Letters from Mrs. Claus (#23)

December 23, 2020

Dear Jacob and Sophia,

December 23rd.  You’d think we’d be frantic.  But no—on this, the last day of preparation before Christmas Eve, everyone’s relaxed.  We know we’ve done our very best.  We take the time for the final touches: tighten a ribbon, stitch on a sleigh bell, extra carrots for all the reindeer.  Santa takes a nap.  Elf Snowbeam and his choir and all of our musicians perform slow, calming, familiar songs.  Rudolph washes and dries his nose.

We feel proud and full of love for all the children of the world.  But even more importantly, we know that our little part of Christmas is not the most important at all.  If there were no presents, nothing in the stockings, Christmas would come triumphantly anyway.  That’s the wonder of Christmas, really.  It’s love and friends and family, and singing and hugging and playing, and faith and joy, and we don’t make those things.

Later tonight, we’ll gather around the tree, and we’ll light our candles, and we’ll sing “Stille Nacht.”  And then, Santa will choose just one elf to help him with the final checks of the sleigh, to give pats to each reindeer, and to close his bag, before—in the absolute stillness—midnight turns to early next morning, and he flies away for Christmas Eve.

(Don’t tell.  But he’s choosing Little Elf Willowwisp.)

Merry Christmas!

Yours sincerely,

                  Mrs. Claus

Letters from Mrs. Claus (#22)

December 22, 2020

Dear Sophia and Jacob,

It might be time to tell you one of the North Pole’s greatest secrets.

At one end of the courtyard is a tower twenty elves or so tall.  At the top of the tower is a golden clock that shines like Christmas candlelight.  Like any clock, the arms go around, though unlike most clocks, there aren’t any numbers, for the North Pole’s in every time zone—and also none at all.

But sometimes, just sometimes, we need a few extra hours and minutes to finish our preparations for Christmas.  When that happens, the reindeer fly up to the clock, and they nuzzle the hands—just a little bit—to slow down time.

It’s terribly convenient to be able to do this.  Some years, I’m not sure how else we would make it.  But it does have unfortunate side effects.

Has it ever felt as though the days before Christmas, the days when you’re so excited that you can hardly wait, grow a bit long?  Does it ever seem as though surely there are more than twenty-four hours per day?

Well…sometimes there is.

When our clock slows, yours do, too.  All of them.  It’s the magic, you know.  But I absolutely promise it’s worthwhile.  Play an extra game; have an extra snuggle; make an extra phone call; write an extra card.  Enjoy the long days.  They won’t come again for an entire year.

Merry Christmas!

Yours sincerely,

                  Mrs. Claus

Letters from Mrs. Claus (#21)

December 21, 2020

Dear Jacob and Sophia,

Three more days to Christmas Eve.

The reindeer are so excited that they can hardly sleep.  Last night at midnight, Blitzen and Comet woke us all up playing kickball with a potted poinsettia.  Luckily, Elf Flittersong went out to calm them down.

This morning, Elf Jellyfrost laid toy train track across the courtyard from the assembly line to the gift-wrapping department.  Then she placed the toy trains along the track and let them drive themselves over.  They move quite quickly, as long as someone makes the right “chugga-chugga-toot-toot” noises to keep the magic going.

Elf Snowfeather, who helps Santa choose all the right books for all the right children, always has a few that he wants to switch at the very last minute.  He paces back and forth with a clipboard: “Magical realism for Amare…fantasy for Fatoumata…a bathtub book for Nasir…a chapter book for Ana…a chapter book? Or a book of crafts?  Or both?  Or maybe a cookbook!”

 Elf Sunsugar and Elf Sweetdew have the kitchens open eighteen hours a day.  They serve foods that can be eaten at a run: muffins, sandwiches, sushi, boiled eggs.

And Elf Beetledrop’s paintbrush is flying as she touches up the last of the holly.  These are my favorite days of the year!

Merry Christmas!

Yours sincerely,

                  Mrs. Claus

Letters from Mrs. Claus (#20)

December 20, 2020

Dear Sophia and Jacob,

Four days before Christmas Eve.  It’s time for the Carnival of Sweets!

Elf Honeyeyes and Elf Silversprig have charge of the sweets factory.  It makes a little candy year-round, but not much, because most candy doesn’t keep.  So every year, on the 20th of December, hundreds of elves—all of whom have other work for the rest of the year—shift over for a colossal carnival of cooking candies.  

Into the factory go sugar and butter, and cocoa and vanilla and peppermint oil.  In go honey and cream (and cows to help make more cream).  And nuts and maple sugar and fruits of every kind.

And out…well, out come candy canes and peppermint bark and butter toffee and truffles, and chocolate Santas and chocolate kisses and peanut brittle and caramels.  Out comes fudge and gingerbread.  Out comes ribbon candy and marzipan and glazed fruits and nougat and rock candy.  And the chocolate oranges…the chocolate oranges actually roll out the door, three per second!

The sweets factory hums and vibrates with magic.  Imagine a foundation like a chocolate bar, with walls that look like gingerbread and marshmallow-shaped doors and windows.  The smokestacks look like peppermint sticks, and the steam puffing out smells like gumdrops and whistles the tune of “Jingle Bells.”  

Read an extra Christmas story tonight.  We need the magic more than ever.

Merry Christmas!

Yours sincerely,

                  Mrs. Claus

Letters from Mrs. Claus (#19)

December 19, 2020

Dear Jacob and Sophia,

Five days!  It’s only five days until Christmas Eve! 

Today, I pulled out Santa’s best suit, cleaning and brushing and mending and polishing.  He saves this suit just especially for Christmas Eve.  Oh, I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of it, but somehow the pictures never show all the details.

There’s a silver ring from Sweden in the shape of a Yule Goat.  There’s a charm bracelet with three charms: a tiny parol from the Phillipines that really lights up and spins; a fried chicken leg from Japan; and a Pohutukawa from New Zealand.  Santa’s stockings come from Iceland, and one is embroidered with candies while the other has cross-stitched potatoes all around it.  The buttons of his coat are shaped like yams, as the people eat during la ribote in Martinique, and slices of pineapple, like they serve for Christmas dinner in Barbados.  And pinned to Santa’s hat is a tiny gold star from Bethlehem.

Every year, when I assemble all the pieces, I think of all the children all over the world who are growing more excited every day, and I’m so grateful to be a part of all their wonderful traditions.

Merry Christmas!

Yours sincerely,

                  Mrs. Claus

Letters from Mrs. Claus (#18)

December 18, 2020

Dear Sophia and Jacob,

What a brave question you asked in your letter today.  Many children wonder whether Santa Claus is real.

Let me tell you a story.

Years ago, when Little Elf Willowwisp was even littler, she crept into the sitting room where Santa and I were enjoying a fire.  I’ll never forget how shy she looked, eyes wide, lips a-quivering.  

“Santa?” she said. “I need to talk to you.”

Santa scooped her right up and into his lap and asked her to tell us what the trouble was.

She swallowed hard.  “Well…I don’t believe in children anymore!”

Are you surprised?  This happens sometimes.  After all, most elves have never seen children.  They’ve only heard stories.  It can be hard to believe in something far away that you’ve never seen.

But we must believe.  What would happen if all the elves stopped believing in children?  They wouldn’t make toys; they wouldn’t wrap presents; they wouldn’t sing carols; they wouldn’t load the sleigh. 

And what would happen if children stopped believing in Santa?  They wouldn’t bake him cookies, they wouldn’t send him letters, they wouldn’t hang up their stockings or sing “Here Comes Santa Claus.”  We’d never have enough Christmas magic for Santa to fly all around the world.

We need one another.  I believe in you!  And so does Santa, and so do the reindeer and the elves.  And once she was reminded about the magic, Little Elf Willowwisp decided that she believes in you, too.

Merry Christmas!

Yours sincerely,

                  Mrs. Claus

Letters from Mrs. Claus (#17)

December 17, 2020

Dear Jacob and Sophia,

Today, I received the letter from Sophia written on green paper with dots of red glitter glue.  I’m sorry to hear that last year’s game of Candyland is missing one of its gingerbread persons.  Was it yellow, green, blue, or red?  I’ll speak with Elf Cleartouch and see whether he can find a spare among the board game supplies.

Which is your favorite of the Candyland characters?  I’m rather fond of Gramma Nutt, as I do like peanut brittle.  Santa’s favorite is Gloppy.

Jacob, I hope you’re still enjoying last year’s game of Twister.  We have a much larger version that we roll out over the courtyard for much of February each year.  Santa’s the official spinner.  All of the elves love to play, but the reindeer almost always win.  They have longer legs!

Santa was mentioning just last night the games he brought to some of your family, back when they were very young.  You might ask your Uncle Michael whether he remembers his game of Operation, or Aunt Jennifer if she still has her edition of Hungry, Hungry Hippos.  Both of those were hand-crafted by Elf Cleartouch!  

In fact, Elf Cleartouch even made your Grandma Susan’s Tiddlywinks.  Ask her whether she ever noticed that one of the yellow tiddlywinks had a chip out of the side.  Elf Cleartouch says that was because Rudolph didn’t know what it was and tried to nibble on it.

Merry Christmas!

Yours sincerely,

                  Mrs. Claus

Letters from Mrs. Claus (#16)

December 16, 2020

Dear Sophia and Jacob,

I noticed that, in your snowflake card, you asked whether there’s anything you can do to help Santa and me.  That is so kind!  I’ve discussed this with Santa, and actually, there’s a very important job for you to do.

On Christmas Eve—not necessarily last thing before you sleep, but at some point in the day—please have a chat with Prince and Fluffy.  Last year, when Santa was trying to leave the presents under your tree, Prince bit his boot, and Fluffy used her claws to climb up Santa’s leg.  I’m sure they weren’t trying to unkind, but it’s very difficult for pets to remember Santa’s visits from one Christmas Eve until the next.  A year’s a long time for a cat or dog or fish or guinea pig.

Every year, a few pets are frightened, and others are far too curious, and still others nearly wake the whole household.  In 2005, a kitten climbed into Santa’s pant cuff in Romania, and he didn’t notice until he got to Belize!  That was quite a tangle to sort out.

So it’s very helpful if children can sit down with their pets, explain who Santa is, and remind them that he’ll be visiting.  Say that he’s very friendly and will be happy to rub their tummies or scratch behind their ears, but he also has many families to visit, so he’s in a bit of a hurry.  Ask them to be patient and quiet so that Santa can do his work.

And please spread the word!  If your friends tell their pets, and their friends tell their pets, that would make a big difference.

Merry Christmas!

Yours sincerely,

                  Mrs. Claus