Season’s Greetings from the Thorp Gang, 2016 Edition!

Clockwise from bottom: Bren (19), Gabe (16), Emma (14), Trev (12), and Lily (5) 
Our annual Christmas letter is online now for your enjoyment! A Christmas card is on its way for friends and family, but to save ink and paper, our letter will appear here. Please feel free to print and pass it on. 

Past letters, Christmas poems, elf letters, and more are available here. Merry Christmas to all!

Greetings from the North Pole, Part XIII

Blogger’s Note: For several years now, we have received a Christmas letter from an Elfin correspondent, Siberius Quill. This is the 2015 installment.

Christmas 2015

My dearest children!

Greetings to you—and Sincere Prayers that neither this grey and muddy Winter nor the toppling of your tree as you were decorating has dampened your Christmas Spirit! Though your Father and eldest Brother had a time wrestling the Prickly Thing into a new stand, the old spruce looks Splendid and is holding its needles as well as can be expected given the Strain! Well done!

 Another Christmas has arrived! It has been Quite Some Time since you Elder Children have asked a question about the Old Man—his Appearance and Ways, or How he does What he does. At long last, at the urging of your own old man, lovely Lily-bell has posed a deep question, indeed: “Why is Santa’s nose so weird?” Your Father wisely pressed her on this, thinking perhaps she thought it too Red or too Jolly, but she insisted that the inside of his nose was weird. No more would she say, and I fear that’s little to go on, though not quite Nothing. I shall make an Answer that I hope will satisfy. I have spoken to his personal Physician, Vitali Mendwell, from the elfin Hospital Corps, and verily, the inside of Kris Kringle’s nose is, in fact, strange by Mortal standards: without drip or drainage or unsightly Bogeys. Even here above the Circle, he never runs down, never catches Cold, never has so much as a sniffle—truly!

Why this is nobody knows for certain: Doc Vittles, as we call him, always credits diet; Muggsy and Froth at the Buttery says it’s his daily doses of Cocoa with cayenne and cinnamon in the morning and Peppermint Tea in the evening; and the good Sisters of Perpetual Winter insist that it’s his Jolly Sanctity—the joyous reward of a Life Well-Lived! I tend to side with the Sisters: more often than not they are right, and Sinter Klaas is a Saint, after all!

It is a Joy to watch you all continue to grow in the Virtues—Faith, Hope, and Charity—not to mention height! A towering Bunch you are, like a roving Forest to elfin eyes—and I am Blessed to be able to check in on you Now and Again. Do not forget our Correspondence, and encourage your youngest sibling in All Things Christmas: but especially the Peace that comes from Giving and Serving. Heaven awaits!

A Very Happy Christmas to you all!
Yours Still and Always,


Siberius Quill

Greetings from the North Pole, Part XII

Blogger’s Note: For several years now, we have received a Christmas letter from an Elfin correspondent, Siberius Quill. This is the 2014 installment.

Christmas 2014
My dearest children!
“Another turn around the Sun; another Year begun and done—just like that!” as our Head Astronomer, Nebular Farseer, would say. Just last week, he and Pendulus “Tick” Chronin were debating, over cocoa and gingersnaps, whether the years merely seem shorter or actually are. Your human Stargazers actually claim the years are lengthening by a millisecond or two each century; Tick claims we’re losing time, but Nebbs is on the fence—and each year, when the Chief Timekeeper marks the Year’s End on the Great Chronometer, Nebbs blames Tick’s itchy trigger-finger for any loss.
Truth be told, it is conceivable that Tick’s finger is too fast. I’ve told you before that he is markedly slow for an Elf, save his eye and finger—and indeed, these traits runs in his family: his great-grandmother, Sedentary Chronin (née Scattershot), rarely left her little cottage, but was the Best Wingshot north of the Circle, and crack with a Rifle, too! Why, she was known to harvest wild Ptarmigans and snowshoe Hares out her bedroom window, then send Bob-Catchit, her half-Lynx housecat, to fetch them in for supper—truly!
So the Debate continues, year upon year, and Christmas Day has come again—a Much-Needed Feast, indeed, in this catty-whompus World! The Old Man has been jolly, as always, but has pressed us Elves most intensely this Winter—such a need there is for Peace and Goodwill as he has not seen in Many Centuries! Peace has been the particular prayer of our Good Pastor, Fr. Aloysius Lamplighter, too, this Advent, and may it resound the World ’Round. Amen!
I am, like your Dear Parents, so grateful these days for Miss Lily, who has kept your Family young and the Spirit of the Season bright in your Home. She is Spoilt, to be sure, but the Fault is no one’s—she can hardly spoil herself, and who can blame the Rest of you for falling prey to her Charms and dark eyes. Your Dad has suggested she might become a “Mary,” as she calls the good religious sisters of Your World. Whether ’tis true or not remains to be Seen, but Sr. Providence Goodpath, Director of Vocations of the Sisters of Perpetual Winter, has looked in on her and insists she will draw people to The Incarnation, regardless!
You elder four continue to persist in Goodness and grow in Virtue, year upon year; nevertheless we continue to look in on you. Master Brendan, I am struck by the Seriousness with which you are seeking your own Good Path and remind you to treat your Special Someone with the same or greater care than you show your Own Soul. Master Gabriel, I am impressed by your persistence in All you do and the Strength of your prayers, which echo both over the Earth and in Heaven, as well! For you, Miss Emma, there will always be room at the Inn, and welcome: your Music and your Baking warm the hearts around you, and your Beauty and Joy are infectious (in only the Best Way). Master Trevor, you are becoming a Fine Young Man with your own Callings and Interests. Strick Thumpertink, our Lead Percussionist, has heard you practicing—keep it up, and you’ll be welcome in our Drum Corps anytime!
Speaking of Time and the Flight of it, Marcus Milestone (Monitor’s son, who works Birthdays and other High-Sugar Special Occasions for the Watcher Corps) stopped by the Other Day to remind me on his Elder’s behalf that young Master Trevor has reached Double Digits this year—a Momentous Age, to be sure, and one I’m sure you’ll recall entails Special Responsibilities toward the Keeping of Christmas. Speak to your Father in a Quiet Moment, and he will, no doubt, explain. Marcus also noted Lily’s recent Birthday celebrations and was impressed by the Love shown by friends not her own. How kind they are to mark her Third Year in such a Splendid Fashion!
On that note: Bishop Nicholas trusts you will be Happy with your gifts this year, and gives his Blessing to you—which, from a Saint, is not Insignificant! A Very Happy Christmas to you all!
Yours Still and Always,


Siberius Quill

P.S. All of us here, but Dr. Vendy most of all, send our Condolences on the loss of your dear Schnauzer, Puck. He was the Very Definition of a Good Dog!

Greeting From the North Pole, Part IX

Blogger’s Note: Over Christmas 2003, we became annual pen-pals with an elf named Siberius Quill, and he has again delivered this year! Transcriptions of past letters from Quill can be seen here.

Christmas 2011
My dearest children!
Bless my soul, but you’ve thrown a wrinkle in my writing! Again, the four of you have been on Your Very Best Behavior (all in all), so I’ve had my attention elsewhere—joining the Watcher Corps to observe and encourage those Children-on-the-Cusp, who drift from Naughty to Nice and back again throughout the year and may need a Pre-Christmas Nudge to keep them aright. Our Director of Circumstance, Miss Incognita Trueheart, and her team of Elfin Infiltrators secretly arrange opportunities for these children to do what is Right and Good, free from distraction or wicked influence, and most “Cuspers” thereby prove their True Loving Natures and merit the Nice List.
But back to the point: Such is time to an elf already centuries old, and so engaged was I in the trials of my other Young Charges, that I overlooked the Blesséd Arrival of little Lillian Clara, your delightful Baby Sister! I had thus already penned my letter to Masters Brendan, Gabriel, and Trevor, and the lovely (and still special, regardless of what your Father says in jest), Miss Emma, when the Goodchild Twins burst into my room with bright grins, all a-flutter. Now, the Goodchilds (or Goodchildren, as they prefer to be known), are the daughters of Old Abacus, the Master Counter, who for long centuries stretching to millennia, has aided my forefathers on the Quill side with assembling The List for the Old Man, ensuring no one is left off! Plethora Goodchild is herself a Nursery Watcher, whose sole responsibility is to monitor the hospitals, huts, ambulances, and baby-rooms of the world—anywhere a New Someone might appear, and add the Infant’s name to our records. Oftentimes she knows Who and Where to watch, for her sister, Firtilitee, is an elfin Midwife, who aids in the Arrivals of our Own Kind and has an eye for spying Baby Bumps, even on humans. Indeed, it was Plethora and Firtilitee Goodchild who first told me of the Expectation and Loss of little Jude last autumn, and they have watched your Dear Mother with much joyful anticipation these several months! Welcome, Lily! A very Merry Christmas indeed! Santa is most pleased to have Another Reason to stop over, and I am grateful for another Wee One to bring along in the Ways of Christmas!
You Older Ones have asked no questions of me this year, though I suspect you hold some close to your Hearts. It is no Crime to doubt Father Christmas and his Ways, for he is not only Bold and Jolly, but also Cunning and Elusive as the Artic Fox which pilfers ptarmigans from our coops! When you seek him hardest he slips your grasp, only do not lose your Sense of Wonder—for it is there, in your sleeping and waking Dreams—that you will find the Saintly Old Sprite, warming his hands o’er the Fire of your Own Heart. You’ll know he is Real when you do the Hard Work he does—the work that Christ Himself assigned to each of us: loving Each Other, our Neighbors, and our Enemies. Christmas is not about Any of Us, after all—it is always about Someone Else entirely (and the Child in the Manger, of course).
Ah, but I ramble so, and have run out of paper! A Very Happy Christmas to you all!

Siberius Quill

Greetings From the North Pole, Part VIII

Blogger’s Note: Over Christmas 2003, we became annual pen-pals with an elf named Siberius Quill, and he has again delivered this year! Transcriptions of past letters from Quill can be seen here.

Christmas 2010

My dearest Children!

Another year flown by already—and as I sat down to write you this evening, the Keeper of the Birthday Calendar, Monitor Milestone, reminded me that not only do you have a Teenager in your midst, but also another child in Double Digits, as it were! We track such things carefully, because as you might guess, birthdays and other such Big Events are prime opportunities for Young Ones like yourselves to do good or ill. Happily, you all remain on the Good List again this year—believe me, not all my Families do so well!

But old Monty had a second purpose in mind with his reminder: while a decade is no time at all in the Life of an Elf, it is a Significant Step for the children of Big People and a boy’s role in the celebration of All Things Christmas. Why, it seems no time ago at all that I told Master Brendan he was of an age to take on New Responsibilities in that regard, and now Master Gabriel has joined him! As you’ve no doubt guessed, there are Things You Must Know and Thing You Must Do. In a quiet moment, talk to your Father, Master G.—he remembers his own Tenth Year well!

Master B., we’ve noticed the Shifts in your attention and interests this year from Play Things to stuff of a More Serious Nature. Though your house is not small, you are in Close Quarters with your siblings (at least one of whom is still Quite Small) so you cannot do or have everything you would like. Patience, Eldest! St. Nicholas knows your needs and has done something unusual this year—you will find somewhere in your gifts an opportunity to choose something a bit more Grown-Up. Use it wisely!

As for the lovely Emma Rose and young Master Trevor, it is a joy to watch you grow, in grace and wisdom, as well as stature. Miss Emma, your love of the Arts is apparent in all that you do! You might recall I previously mentioned our elfin Songmaster, Jovial Morales, who provides the music by which we elves do our work? His mother, Choral (who was a Longpiper before she married) has heard you with the Children’s Choir and (I hope you don’t mind!) singing about the house. For nearly a millennia she has conducted our church choir, so you can be sure she speaks the Truth: your voice is sweet and will only get sweeter. Madam Choral says keep practicing, and remember: When you sing, you Pray Twice!

As for you, Master T., as is typical for Boys Your Age (especially those with Big Brothers) you are always trying keep up. You’ll be happy with the gifts old Santa has prepared—but I urge you to Be Patient, as well. Enjoy being young, and do not rush into the games and toys of Older Kids!

Finally—and I will not dwell on Sadness, knowing you are reading this on Christmas Day, which, like no other day, must be a Time of Joy—we know of the loss your family suffered in November. Suffice it to say that our thoughts are with you. The Devout Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Winter have joined their prayers to yours, and I have it on good authority (theirs!) that your Dear One is in Good Hands! Master G., your idea of hanging a special stocking was a fine one, but Kris Kringle had a different idea. Each Christmas he will leave a Special Ornament to hang on your Family’s Tree, in remembrance. And this year, he has left Something Else, something from the Wood Shop—he thought it appropriate for your Back Yard, and requested Dorothea Gudwerds of the North Pole Library to track down a Special Poem by one of your Most Famous poets, Emily Dickinson (who, by her language, could have a touch of the fey and elfin in her own blood):

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune—without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Again I’ve run on and made Little Sense, it seems. But you see with the Wisdom of children—I’ve no doubt Some Sense will come of it. Travel safe, my young Friends, and a Very Happy Christmas to you all!

Yours Still and Always,


Blogger’s Addendum: Bren’s opportunity for something a bit more grown-up was a gift card to Cabelas; he’s had is eye on a variety of hunting knives, as well as an UnderArmor hood/facemask. The special gift from the wood shop was a bird feeder. In the spring we intend to do some landscaping back there, including a fruit tree and statue.