Posted in Fiction, postaday, stories, writing

The Beginning of Mrs. Santa Claus

My Sleuthing Elf made another Christmas discovery. Santa usually gets all the glory, but we thought it would be nice to introduce his wife!

250px-Goody_Santa_Claus 220px-Mr&MrsSantaClaus

Santa Claus’ wife made her most active appearance  by Katherine Lee Bates in her poem “Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride” (1889). “Goody” is short for “Goodwife”, i.e., “Mrs.”

Goody Santa Claus

Katherine Lee Bates
Boston: D. Lothrop Co., 1889

Santa, must I tease in vain, Deer? Let me go and hold the reindeer,
While you clamber down the chimneys. Don’t look savage as a Turk!
Why should you have all the glory of the joyous Christmas story,
And poor little Goody Santa Claus have nothing but the work?

It would be so very cozy, you and I, all round and rosy,
Looking like two loving snowballs in our fuzzy Arctic furs,
Tucked in warm and snug together, whisking through the winter weather
Where the tinkle of the sleigh-bells is the only sound that stirs.

You just sit here and grow chubby off the goodies in my cubby
From December to December, till your white beard sweeps your knees;
For you must allow, my Goodman, that you’re but a lazy woodman
And rely on me to foster all our fruitful Christmas trees.

While your Saintship waxes holy, year by year, and roly-poly,
Blessed by all the lads and lassies in the limits of the land,
While your toes at home you’re toasting, then poor Goody must go posting
Out to plant and prune and garner, where our fir-tree forests stand.

Oh! but when the toil is sorest how I love our fir-tree forest,
Heart of light and heart of beauty in the Northland cold and dim,
All with gifts and candles laden to delight a boy or maiden,
And its dark-green branches ever murmuring the Christmas hymn!

Yet ask young Jack Frost, our neighbor, who but Goody has the labor,
Feeding roots with milk and honey that the bonbons may be sweet!
Who but Goody knows the reason why the playthings bloom in season
And the ripened toys and trinkets rattle gaily to her feet!

From the time the dollies budded, wiry-boned and saw-dust blooded,
With their waxen eyelids winking when the wind the tree-tops plied,
Have I rested for a minute, until now your pack has in it
All the bright, abundant harvest of the merry Christmastide?

Santa, wouldn’t it be pleasant to surprise me with a present?
And this ride behind the reindeer is the boon your Goody begs;
Think how hard my extra work is, tending the Thanksgiving turkeys
And our flocks of rainbow chickens — those that lay the Easter eggs.

Home to womankind is suited? Nonsense, Goodman! Let our fruited
Orchards answer for the value of a woman out-of-doors.
Why then bid me chase the thunder, while the roof you’re safely under,
All to fashion fire-crackers with the lighting in their cores?

See! I’ve fetched my snow-flake bonnet, with the sunrise ribbons on it;
I’ve not worn it since we fled from Fairyland our wedding day;
How we sped through iceberg porches with the Northern Lights for torches!
You were young and slender, Santa, and we had this very sleigh.

Jump in quick then? That’s my bonny. Hey down derry! Nonny nonny!
While I tie your fur cap closer, I will kiss your ruddy chin.
I’m so pleased I fall to singing, just as sleigh-bells take to ringing!
Are the cloud-spun lap-robes ready? Tirra-lirra! Tuck me in.

Off across the starlight Norland, where no plant adorns the moorland
Save the ruby-berried holly and the frolic mistletoe!
Oh, but this is Christmas revel! Off across the frosted level
Where the reindeers’ hoofs strike sparkles from the crispy, crackling snow!

There’s the Man i’ the Moon before us, bound to lead the Christmas chorus
With the music of the sky-waves rippling round his silver shell —
Glimmering boat that leans and tarries with the weight of dreams she carries
To the cots of happy children. Gentle sailor, steer her well!

Now we pass through dusky portals to the drowsy land of mortals;
Snow-enfolded, silent cities stretch about us dim and far.
Oh! how sound the world is sleeping, midnight watch no shepherd keeping,
Though an angel-face shines gladly down from every golden star.

Here’s a roof. I’ll hold the reindeer. I suppose this weather-vane, Dear,
Some one set here just on purpose for our teams to fasten to.
There’s its gilded cock, — the gaby! — wants to crow and tell the baby
We are come. Be careful, Santa! Don’t get smothered in the flue.

Back so soon? No chimney-swallow dives but where his mate can follow.
Bend your cold ear, Sweetheart Santa, down to catch my whisper faint:
Would it be so very shocking if your Goody filled a stocking
Just for once? Oh, dear! Forgive me. Frowns do not become a Saint.

I will peep in at the skylights, where the moon sheds tender twilights
Equally down silken chambers and down attics bare and bleak.
Let me show with hailstone candies these two dreaming boys — the dandies
In their frilled and fluted nighties, rosy cheek to rosy cheek!

What! No gift for this poor garret? Take a sunset sash and wear it
O’er the rags, my pale-faced lassie, till thy father smiles again.
He’s a poet, but — oh, cruel! he has neither light nor fuel.
Here’s a fallen star to write by, and a music-box of rain.

So our sprightly reindeer clamber, with their fairy sleigh of amber,
On from roof to roof , the woven shades of night about us drawn.
On from roof to roof we twinkle, all the silver bells a-tinkle,
Till blooms in yonder blessèd East the rose of Christmas dawn.

Now the pack is fairly rifled, and poor Santa’s well-nigh stifled;
Yet you would not let your Goody fill a single baby-sock;
Yes, I know the task takes brain, Dear. I can only hold the reindeer,
And so see me climb down chimney — it would give your nerves a shock.

Wait! There’s yet a tiny fellow, smiling lips and curls so yellow
You would think a truant sunbeam played in them all night. He spins
Giant tops, a flies kites higher than the gold cathedral spire
In his creams — the orphan bairnie, trustful little Tatterkins.

Santa, don’t pass by the urchin! Shake the pack, and deeply search in
All your pockets. There is always one toy more. I told you so.
Up again? Why, what’s the trouble? On your eyelash winks the bubble
Mortals call a tear, I fancy. Holes in stocking, heel and toe?

Goodman, though your speech is crusty now and then there’s nothing rusty
In your heart. A child’s least sorrow makes your wet eyes glisten, too;
But I’ll mend that sock so nearly it shall hold your gifts completely.
Take the reins and let me show you what a woman’s wit can do.

Puff! I’m up again, my Deary, flushed a bit and somewhat weary,
With my wedding snow-flake bonnet worse for many a sooty knock;
But be glad you let me wheedle, since, an icicle for needle,
Threaded with the last pale moonbeam, I have darned the laddie’s sock.

Then I tucked a paint-box in it (’twas no easy task to win it
From the Artist of the Autumn Leaves) and frost-fruits white and sweet,
With the toys your pocket misses — oh! and kisses upon kisses
To cherish safe from evil paths the motherless small feet.

Chirrup! chirrup! There’s a patter of soft footsteps and a clatter
Of child voices. Speed it, reindeer, up the sparkling Arctic Hill!
Merry Christmas, little people! Joy-bells ring in every steeple,
And Goody’s gladdest of the glad. I’ve had my own sweet will.

 

Posted in nonfiction, postaday, stories, Stories of my life, writing

Another Favorite Christmas Memory

This is another stroll down memory lane. My most favorite Christmas memory can be found here.  Today’s memory is when I was about 6 or 7, maybe a bit younger. I hadn’t quite grown into my tomboy years, that would come a bit later and stay with me through out my life. 🙂

trees

When I was young we were not very well off. We kids didn’t fully realize that. We were young, we enjoyed what we had, it might not have been a lot, but it was ours. There were 2 boys and 2 girls, plus my Mom and Dad. It was hard feeding, clothing, and affording everything else that goes with kids. That year must have been tougher than others,  because I remember my Mom sitting us down and explaining that we weren’t going to get much for Christmas that year.

She told us  Santa had met with hard times. That there were a lot of  kids in the world, and he was trying to give each and every one of them a gift. He didn’t want to miss a one! So instead of the usual amount of gifts this year, we were each going to get one toy, and a winter coat. That was it.

I remember that her announcement was met with complete silence at first. The four of us looked at each other, my little brother started crying. My older brother got mad and stormed off, my sister and I just  sat there quietly. Then we both looked at my mom and said, “It’s ok, we can share.”

My older sister and I were always pretty close back then. So it wasn’t surprising that we came out with the same thing at the same time. It really was ok with both of us, and later on with my 2 brothers. We decided every kid should have a Christmas present, and if Santa needed our help, well then we would help him! We all knew who the real Santa was of course, well except my little brother,  and we tried to  understand that Mom and Dad didn’t have a lot of money. We wanted to help in any way we could.

So even though we were all a little bit disappointed that Christmas, we made a pact that we wouldn’t show it in front of Mom and Dad. We had never had a lot to begin with, we wore hand me down clothes most of the time, even got hand me down toys from others in the family that were a bit better off then us. It was how we were raised, no big deal. (Can’t really miss what you never had).

We were also getting a new winter coat!  Mostly our winter coats were hand me downs from cousins, so that wasn’t so bad either. We would manage. We also didn’t want our parents feeling bad.

So Christmas Eve we all went to bed excited as we did every year.  We woke up early  and  ran out to the living room. The tree was lit  and looked beautiful and there was a pile of gifts under the tree. As promised we each got a new winter coat, but we also got new gloves! Then we each got our  one new toy! I don’t really remember what my siblings received that year, but I sure remember what I got!

I remember seeing this huge box sitting in a corner, it was bigger then  me! It also had my name on it in big black letters! It had a bright red bow on top and it was mine! I was so excited and couldn’t imagine what it could be.

very close to what I remember
very close to what I remember

My dad laid it on the floor for me and with a big smile told me to open it. I started tearing off the paper and bow slowly, I wanted that moment to last! I finally got all the paper off and  I remember seeing this girl on the front of the box. No wait! It wasn’t a girl! It was a doll!!! I opened the box and there inside was a blonde headed doll that was as big as me!!!

She was beautiful! Her blonde hair shone in the Christmas lights and it looked just like mine! She had big blue eyes and a wonderful dress on and a straw hat! When she stood up she was as tall as I was.

I was never  one of those little girls who played a lot with dolls, but this one was different. It was like having a best friend. I used to dance with her, I would put her little  feet on mine and we would dance around the house together! It was great fun!  I told her all my secrets and dreams. I had so much fun with that doll for many years.

I didn’t just get a doll that Christmas, I got a best friend. A friend who never told my secrets. A best friend that I could do no wrong in her eyes. It was a great Christmas that year.

 

 

Posted in Fiction, postaday, stories, Uncategorized, writing

A Few Christmas Books to Read

I love Christmas. Well, actually I should say, I love the SPIRIT of Christmas. You know that feeling. The feeling that fills your heart with hope, love, and light. That feeling you get when you do something nice for someone, or you say something nice to someone and see that person just perk up with happiness and hope.

We really should have that feeling all year. We should do things that give us that feeling all year! Maybe many of us do. But at Christmas time it seems to have a little something extra in everything we do and say.

I know at this time of year, I’m a bit more optimistic. I’m nicer, more loving toward people. I see hope where possibly I didn’t see it before. There is something about this time of year that just gives one more happiness, more hope, a bigger smile.

I also like to read different Christmas stories every year. Today I thought I would list a few (maybe unknown to you) books I have found that would give us all a good Christmas read.

South Pole Santa – Back to Christmas

A Delightful, Hilarious Christmas Story For All Ages From 8 to 108
by Dennis Canfield

http://www.amazon.com/South-Pole-Santa-Christmas-ebook/dp/B009EJ1UO8

sspole

Is Christmas really coming to an end? Marmel, Santa’s Head Labeling Elf, worries that it might be. He’s worried because no one is on Santa’s Naughty List anymore, and to Marmel there can be no Christmas without a Naughty List. That’s why he’s so glad to learn about Amanda Krumwerth and her family, who seem to have everything they could want except time for each other. As Marmel tells Santa, “All of them are absolutely, irredeemably, hopelessly naughty and they deserve nothing but coal in their Christmas stockings!”

So why is Santa sending Marmel on an obviously hopeless mission to get the Krumwerths off the Naughty List? South Pole Santa – Back to Christmas tells how Santa and his “polar opposite” try to bring the Krumwerths together again. But fixing this problem won’t be easy, and the Krumwerths may not be the only ones Santa is trying to help.

In addition to meeting Marmel and the Krumwerth family, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of Santa’s Labeling Department. You’ll learn how Marmel travels the North-South Pole to link up with Reverse Santa Claus (“RC”). You’ll meet the penguins who pull RC’s sleigh, and Muz, a reporter for Elfin News Network (“ENN”). You’ll get to experience an elfin Christmas party, and best of all you’ll follow Amanda and her family on their journey to learn what it means to be a family, and Marmel on his journey to learn the true meaning of Christmas.

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus

L Frank Baum

http://www.amazon.com/The-Life-Adventures-Santa-Claus/dp/B005F2JRTI/ref=pd_sim_b_1

Lifeadventuressanta

This fantasy (by the creator of the Wizard of Oz) imagines that Santa Claus was once a human foundling adopted by woodland fairies, who grows up surrounded by elves, Knooks, Ryls, and other “immortals” of the natural world. Claus decides that his mission in life should be to bring joy to mortal children by making and distributing toys. His good works spread worldwide, and the mantle of immortality is bestowed upon him. This is a long and old-fashioned tale full of improvised fairy lore, a battle against the evil Awgwas, and unique explanations of such Christmas customs as hanging stockings.

Letters From Father Christmas

J R R Tolkien

http://www.amazon.com/Letters-Father-Christmas-J-R-R-Tolkien/dp/0618512659?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1229913960&sr=8-1

Fatherxmasletters Jpg

The Father Christmas Letters is a collection of letters written and illustrated by J. R. R. Tolkien between 1920 and 1942 for his children, from “Father Christmas”. They tell of the adventures and misadventures of Father Christmas and his helpers, including the North Polar Bear and his two sidekick cubs, Paksu and Valkotukka. This is a particularly good book for those who love Tolkien – and it is a chance to see his writing focusing on something other than middle earth and fantasy.

Christmas Jars

Jason F. Wright

http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Jars-Jason-F-Wright/dp/1590384814/ref=cm_lmf_tit_6

images

On Christmas Eve, twenty-something Hope Jensen is quietly grieving the recent loss of her adoptive mother when her apartment is robbed. The one bright spot in the midst of Hope’s despair is a small jar full of money someone has anonymously left on her doorstep. Eager to learn the source of this unexpected generosity, Hope uses her newswoman instincts to find other recipients of “Christmas jars,” digging until her search leads her to the family who first began the tradition of saving a year’s worth of spare change to give to someone in need at the holiday.

The Autobiography of Santa Claus

by Jeff Guinn

http://www.amazon.com/Autobiography-Santa-Claus-Jeff-Guinn/dp/158542448X/ref=cm_lmf_tit_29

images

It all started when Jeff Guinn was assigned to write a piece full of little-known facts about Christmas for his paper, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. A few months later, he received a call from a gentleman who told him that he showed the story to an important friend who didn’t think much of it. And who might that be? asked Jeff. The next thing he knew, he was whisked off to the North Pole to meet with this “very important friend,” and the rest is, well, as they say, history.

An enchanting holiday treasure, The Autobiography of Santa Claus combines solid historical fact with legend to deliver the definitive story of Santa Claus. And who better to lead us through seventeen centuries of Christmas magic than good ol’ Saint Nick himself? Families will delight in each chapter of this new Christmas classic—one per each cold December night leading up to Christmas!