Blogger’s Note: Over Christmas 2003, we became annual pen-pals with an elf named Siberius Quill. Transcriptions of the 2003 and 2004 letters from him can be seen in the Archives. Here is the letter from 2005.
My dearest Children!
Merry Christmas, all! It has been such a pleasure watching you grow — in Body, Mind and Spirit — this past year. Master Brendan, reading at a level far beyond his age; Master Gabriel, starting school, making friends, and working numbers in his head; and young Miss Emma, ever the Angel, blossoming into such a lovely little princess. And Master Trevor! Up and walking, a whirlwind of smiles and mild destruction! Don’t get too frustrated, Friends — he won’t be a toddler forever!
You may wonder how it is that I’ve been watching you this past year, when I’m a Correspondent and not a Watcher at all. The truth of the Matter is that, since I’m assigned to you, I can periodically check in — the Watchers have a magic Glass, like a periscope, that I can use to look in on you and see what you’re about, just by swivel it about three complete times and saying, “I spy with my Little Eye … the Thorp children!” I also have Snow Globe that does the same, although not as clearly or closely — I shake it, say a few words, and in a flurry I’m gazing down on Your Neighborhood, watching you walk to the bus stop or play in the yard.
Which brings me to one of your questions this year: What days does Santa check The List? The List is maintained year-round but the Elves in the Watchers Corps, who monitor every child and update their notes daily. The Old Man can check in on the Watchers whenever he wants, as can the Watchers check in on you — but most Children warrant only an occasional peek a few times throughout the year, at those times when Naughtiness is most tempting — around Bedtime, say, or on the Way to School, when Mom and Dad aren’t around. As I told Miss Emma last year, it takes a Great Deal of Naughtiness to wind up on that list, and with Parents as demanding as yours, you’ve little to worry about! Listen to them, Children! They love you and will help you on Your Own Way!
Ah! I’m rambling! As the song says, Father Christmas checks the list twice: for your country, once between Halloween and Thanksgiving (some children are bound to be Naughty on All Hallows Eve!) and again between Thanksgiving and Christmas (while most Little Ones get increasing Excitable and forget their Manners as Christmas approaches, some Bad Seeds take root and bear fruit in that last month, in Hope the St. Nicholas soon will be there!
As for the Old Man’s name: St. Nicholas, as he was originally, was a Catholic bishop (like your Harry Flynn, if I’m not mistaken) long ago, who secretly left money and treats for the poor by hiding things in their shoes, leaving them on their windowsills or dropping them down their chimneys. The Dutch called St. Nicholas “Sint Nicolaas” and “Sinterclaas” — this latter name became Santa Claus in America. The English call him Father Christmas, which the French say “Pere Noel.” And people the World Around call him Kris Kringle, which is derived from “Chistkind” or “Christ Child” — a reminder that Jesus is Born this Day! Like the Magi, He delivers Gifts and Blessings to our future Kings and Queens, the Children of the World!
You’ve also asked how long it takes to make All Those Toys, and how Santa can visit all Children in One Night. Remember, we no longer make all the toys — we’ve no skill for making Computer Games and such! But with So Many children, we build, order, test, bind and protect toys year-round. Those children Less Fortunate than you, who don’t have toys, or clothes, or even enough food to eat, get what attention we can give to them even in the Summer. So we’re always Very Busy! We keep up the Same Way old St. Nick does: Hard Work and Handy Winks.
I suspect you understand Hard Work as well can be expected for your age. Handy Winks are what Your Parents might refer to as doing something “In the Blink of an Eye!” It’s magic, really — So Much of Life is spent with our eyes closed (sleeping, blinking, sneezing and prayer!) that Santa conjured a spell to help us work Super-Quickly when our eyes are closed! We can accomplish more in a blink that most Folks do in an hour!
Tremendous questions! I so enjoy sharing with you. A note about Gifts: You will not find Everything you asked for this year — other Children have Greater Need, and certain of the games and movies you’d like, Master G., aren’t appropriate for you yet. Still and all, I suspect you’ll be pleased!
God Bless You, Children, and your Family. Yours truly,
P.S. So you’re amateur Stargazers, now, eh? Wonderful! Our Chief Astronomer and Navigator, Nebular Farseer, bids you Clear Skies!