My Dearest Darling Santa

“Most everything you ever wanted to know about Father

   Christmas…straight from the big man’s pen.”

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January 6th

From: Andrew in Oxford

Dear Father Christmas,

Thank you for my Christmas presents.

You listened good this year – not like last year when I didn’t get the right game console. But we all make msitakes.

As I write, Mum is taking the tree down. Is it too early to give you an early shout for this year’s presents cos I know the sales are on and that might help in these tough ergonomic times? As Mum and Dad always remind me, “don’t you know there’s a recession on?” I bet three-for-two deals help you loads.

I have done you a picture of a rocket to say thanks. Bye for now,

Andrew, aged 8

 

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santa face_66541651Dear Andrew,

It was so delightful to hear from you again so soon. Great rocket! I am glad you liked your presents, but on the subject of last year I think it only fair you cut me some slack and drop it.

Thank you for your consideration regarding the January sales, but it is rather too early for you to be thinking about gifts for next Christmas. At least enjoy Easter first. And just for the record, I’m not so keen on little boys who shout – whatever the time of year.

Be good and caring,

Father Christmas.

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January 8th

From: Lucas Bradley, Sittingbourne

Dear Father Christmas,

I would like a train set and some lego and a dog and a dinosaur. That’s all.

Thank you very much,

Lucas, aged 5.

santa face_66541651Dear Lucas,

Your letter is either tragically late or unbelievably early.

If it is the former, forgive me – but then, truth be known, I’m not a mind reader.

If it is the latter, give it a rest sunshine. We’re only eight days into the New Year. Blitzen has had poos that have lasted longer than that. Just make sure you’re a good boy the rest of the year and I’ll see what I can do.

Yours truly,

Father Christmas.

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January 14th

From: Gareth in Wrexham

Dear Santa,

The year is only two weeks old and I bet you are still on your holidays, but I need your help. I don’t need it this very second – but by next week would be handy.

The thing is, my Mum has already threatened me with you and your elves and I think it’s a bit unfair this early in the year.

She says things like “you better behave – Father Christmas is watching you” and “Santa’s elves are up the chimney listening to you – you’ll end up on his naughty list”. You know the kinda thing.

But surely you have to give it some time to see a pattern of behaviour – more than two weeks anyhow. And all I’ve done is upset my sister a bit and kick the cat and not do my homework on time and stuff like that.

Mum used to threaten me with: “Wait ‘til your father gets home.” But he’s working away and they wouldn’t “let him out” for Christmas or something.

Anyway, what I’d like to know is how naughty is naughty to make the naughty list?

Gareth, aged 8.

PS Just in case I’m already on it I did this of you getting stuck in a chimney to help me get off it.

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Hello Gareth,

Thank you for your letter. You clearly want to establish some parameters on what constitutes naughtiness. Clever! The picture of me stuck in a chimney? Not so clever.

Here are some instant misdemeanours: punching, spitting, lying, biting, giving cheek to your elders, generally misbehaving for your elders, name calling, kicking (except in a sporting context), pulling hair, vandalism and stealing. I reserve the right to add others.

Now bear in mind, several good deeds can balance out one bad deed. But seeing what you have been up to this first couple of weeks of a new year, I’m thinking there aren’t enough good deeds left to make up for the bad ones you’ve done.

Oh yes, sunshine – I have been watching you. We have our secret ways of keeping across it all. It seems your Mother knows very well how we North Polar’s operate.

Naughtiness is immediately flagged up here on our giant computer screen, accompanied by a noisy alarm. The poor elves who have to monitor the computer can only take the Naughty Room in small doses. The alarm cuts to their very core.

And oh how you have made the alarm work overtime. Blowing the head off your sister’s doll with a firework was simply despicable.

That reminds me: playing with fireworks is very, very, very naughty…not to mention dangerous.

Now, I am fully prepared to meet you half way if you promise to work on your behaviour. I know it has been difficult to lose your Father to his, er, “job”. But he will be back one day. Ironically enough he’ll be back all the sooner if his behaviour is good. So come on Gareth – show me you can do it. I have high hopes for you, my boy.

Yours always watching,

Father Christmas.

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February 12th

From: Megan in Crewe

Dear Father Christmas – or can I call you Santa now?

It is half term and I’m bored. The snow has gone and it’s just slushy now. It makes me feel sad. So I thought I’d write to see how you are.

Have you recovered from Christmas yet? It must really take it out of you.

Could you say hello from me to the Snowy Hare, please. Until you mentioned him in your last letter, I had no idea he existed.

My friends made fun of me and said I was making him up. They said it’s too cold for rabbits in the North Pole and that they don’t need to wear glasses because they eat carrots and carrots are good for your eyes.

I told them he wasn’t a rabbit, but a white hare. I also pointed out he has an extra thick fur coat. Plus, I imagine carrots are hard to come by up there – which explains the need for glasses.

Gran is shouting me, so I’d better go.

Love,

Megan, aged 7.

santa face_66541651Dear Megan,

It is always such a joy to receive a letter from you. We have snow here all year round, so I can only imagine how it feels to see it disappear altogether – although we are seeing big changes here.

Indeed, your mention of the slush gave me pause for thought. Global warming is taking its toll on our home at the top of the world and we all need to play our part to protect the poles, north and south.

Remember this verse: “Ice and snow to watery woe as ocean levels start to grow. Human heat we must defeat. Bad habits we must not repeat.”

So tell those friends of yours to stop questioning the existence of the Snowy Hare and put their efforts into helping the environment. Think of a project you can do. That will stop you getting bored. Snowy Hare sends his very best wishes, by the way.

I also have to say that all the elves in my workshop were very touched by your thank you letter, as indeed we all were. I know many happy times lie ahead for you.

Now, on the subject of what to call me, I am more than satisfied with Santa – if you believe it to be more informal. I answer to many names around the world, like Pere Noel in France and Babbo Natale in Italy. I even answer to Grumpy Drawers when Mrs. Claus isn’t too happy with me, but I don’t think that is a term you should be using any time soon.

Take care dear Megan,

Father Christmas/Santa

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From: Ben in Swansea

March 23rd

Dear Father Christmas,

Do you know the Easter Bunny? If so, could you have a word?

I got well done over last year. My family went to Lanzarotty (is it spelled with an I or a y?) in the Easter holidays and I didn’t get one big proper egg, just some speckly little ones in hard shells.

Mum said the Easter Bunny won’t deliver in hot countries because the chocolate melts. We’re going again this year and I’m already dreading it.

I don’t have an address for the Easter Bunny, but thought you probably know him and could ask him to lift his hot weather ban.

Thanks,

Ben, Aged 6.

PS Any help with EB’s address will be great for future such problems.

santa face_66541651Dear Ben,

Thank you for getting in touch. I do, indeed, know the Easter Bunny and have passed your concerns on to him.

He asked me to tell you that he was the one who supplied the hard shell mini chocolates in Lanzarote (it’s spelled with an e and one less t), so that you didn’t feel left out.

He is working on a new refrigeration programme to help his delivery process in hot countries, although wants you to know it won’t be in place in time for this year.

Perhaps when you scoff down the hard shell chocolates you apparently hate so much, you can spare a thought for the poor children who get no chocolate at all. The Easter Bunny doesn’t have reindeer to fly him around like I do, so some unfortunate souls miss out every year.

And might I suggest that at your age, you really shouldn’t be dreading anything. You’ve got years ahead for that.

Enjoy your holiday,

Father Christmas.

PS Just put Easter Bunny, c/o Holiday Land and your future letters will find their way to him.

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May 6th

From: Cassandra Robinson, Hampstead

Dear Santa,

How the devil are you? I am very well. How are your elves? All good, I trust.

This is my first letter to you this year. I have done very well, don’t you think?

I know you were unhappy with my – and I quote – “never-ending stream of letters” last year and that “200 letters was excessive”.

When you wrote: “It’s a good job stamps are not needed for letters to reach me otherwise you’d have no pocket money – or worse make your parents bankrupt” it amused me no end. I don’t get pocket money but have a monthly allowance paid into my bank account. My daddy’s a city banker, so he makes other people bankrupt not himself. You are funny!

I didn’t quite understand what you were saying about being greedy. I only asked for 33 presents last year and got them all, so really? Did you have to go there? Anyway, whatever!

Right, to the business in hand. I need to spell out exactly what I want for Christmas because there is no way that Belinda Parcells is going to out-do me this year. If she does, I swear I shall vomit. In her face. On her shoes. On her cat. Everything.

Perhaps it might help you to cut back on what you give her when I tell you she picks her nose and feeds it to her dog.

My list will be delivered in four instalments of 10. That should give you ample time to get your act together. I will send weekly, rather than daily, reminders. I don’t want you getting all irate again. Mummy said that isn’t good for a man of your age and size. How is your blood pressure, by the way?

Consider this the first part:

1 – A new pony (cream coloured, not too high)

2 – A new saddle (with my initials on it in gold)

3 – A bracelet (obviously with jewels on it)

4 – Money (lots)

5 – A pink bag (any designer label)

6 – A dog (to fit in my bag)

7 – Perfume (French)

8 – Smartphone (the most exclusive model)

9 – A doll (one I can make cry)

10- Hair products (for blonde hair)

That’s it for now. Oodles of love, Cassandra.

santa face_66541651Dear Cassandra,

Your first letter arriving in May is, indeed, an improvement. Short of that, you have learned very little oh avaricious one. My elves read your wish list and laughed.

You have clearly chosen to overlook the fact I have a nice and a naughty list. Your name is very much writ large on one of them. Can you work out which one?

And yet spoiled as you are, you will probably end up with all the gifts you asked for because your parents are more obsessed with careers, wealth and materialism than bringing you up with proper values, love and understanding.

You might cry when you read this and stamp your feet and then show this letter to Mummy and Daddy. And they might get their lawyers involved and sue me and indulge you. Oh dear!

I wish, at times like this, children like you lived in one of the Alpine countries – like Austria or Slovenia. Krampus, a fearsome monster with a shaggy coat, deals with naughty children for me in that part of the world. He puts them in sacks and steals them away until they behave. I must see if I can put a Krampus in the UK.

from

Father Christmas.

cards seal stamp with tree_117433057May 18th

From Connor Mahon in Knotty Ash

Hiya Father Christmas,

Connor here. I’m Neil’s brother. He’s 10. I mention him only because him and his mates have been really tight and ganged up on me. They say you don’t exist. That made me cry. Mam said they’re a bunch of little sods. I’m not sure what grass has to do with it.

I said I’d get proof you do exist by writing to you. Can you send me a lock of your hair? I’ll get Dad to check your DNA at work.

Faithfully yours,

Connor Mahon, aged 6-and-three-quarters.

santa face_66541651Dear Connor,

Reading your letter made my day. It is children like you who feed the Christmas spirit that keeps me going, even as old as I am.

Needless to say, your mother is spot on about Neil and his friends. She was quite tame in her criticism, in fact. Other words spring to mind – like silly snot-gobblers!

I love the name of your town. It conjures thoughts of my elves for some reason.

Sadly, I can’t send you a lock of hair. The moment any piece of me leaves my magical realm – and that includes my hair trimmings and nail cuttings and suchlike – it vanishes into thin air. I am only allowed to leave here – in my entirety I might add – on Christmas Eve or if I have special business in Lapland or with the Tooth Fairy or Easter Bunny in Holiday Land. I have to be careful how I spread out the Christmas magic.

But my letters have a life of their own and will not vanish, so please feel free to show this to your brother and his chums as proof of my existence. Experience tells me that they will refute it and claim your parents, or some other caring adult, wrote it. But that is their problem.

Keep believing and I will reward you with a stocking full of gifts and more besides. They will get coal.

Kindest wishes,

Father Christmas.

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June 13th

From Megan in Crewe

Hello Santa,

Yes, it’s me again. It’s Mummy’s birthday today – and it’s Friday the 13th. I suppose it just made me feel like writing to you again. I also did a drawing for you. It is me in a balloon. I would like to fly off on my own sometimes. I don’t really have too much to say. School is ok. How is Snowy Hare? Do his glasses steam up in the cold?

All my love,

Megan.

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santa face_66541651Hello Dearest Megan,

What a lovely summer surprise – a letter from you. The best thing of all is that you didn’t have too much to report and yet felt like writing to me anyway. The drawing is delightful. But please don’t fly off anywhere on your own. You are far too precious.

We’re getting into full swing on the production line. There’s a big new movie coming out at Christmas so we’ve got a fine line in cuddly cartoon characters. I’m sworn to secrecy – but if you like dolphins you’re in for a treat.

Snowy Hare was so pleased to hear you enquire after his health that he’s penned his very own note at the bottom of this letter.

We are always here for you, my dear.

Love,

Santa.

Snowy Hare says: Megan – dear Megan. You are so kind to ask about me. I am pleased to report I am very well. My spectacles do steam up – or should that be freeze up – on occasion, but that’s nothing a resilient hare can’t resolve. Did you know that your name in Greek means “Child of Light” and in your language means “Pearl”. I think this is rather fitting and splendid. You have brightened our lives and are a shiny gem. Now I must hop off to help Fixit Elf with his painting.

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September 1st

From: Amy in Sale, Cheshire

Dear Father Christmas,

How have you been? Please find attached my provisional Christmas list. What does provisional mean?

I know Christmas is because of the Baby Jesus. But where do you fit in to all of that? Are you like God?

In Home Alone II a boy says you are omnipresent. My Daddy spelled that for me. He told me it means to be present everywhere, all the time. I said: “Like God” and he said: “Exactly.”

Thank you for your time. There is a painting of you – that is for you – attached. What does attached mean? Daddy says I have to ask you and stop asking him.

Love,

Amy, aged 6.

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santa face_66541651Dearest Amy,

Your first letter to me last year was thought provoking enough. Remember when you said you met me in Lapland so how come I am also supposed to live in the North Pole – and I replied that I commute? But this new letter is most taxing on my little grey cells. First, let me establish that I am not like God. In fact, I am a non-religious figure. It just so happens I am connected to a Christian holiday.

But my roots are in a religious man known as St Nicholas. He lived in the fourth century – that’s hundreds and hundreds of years ago. He was a secret gift-giver who put coins in the shoes of the needy. He became the model for the person writing to you today – that’s me, Santa Claus…or Father Christmas as you know me in England.

Santa Claus comes from a Dutch word Sinterklaas and it is on parts of the European continent that I am still portrayed to this day as a Saint, with tall hat and robes and a staff. When I make my deliveries at Christmas, I adopt whatever appearance a nation’s tradition dictates. That’s part of my magic. Sorry if you can’t quite understand all this yet. Daddy will explain more.

Anyway, it’s that magic that has kept me alive in the hearts and minds of children for centuries. I will live forever as long as children believe in me. However they imagine me to be, so I will appear.

Christmas celebrates the birth of baby Jesus. Gifts were brought to him in the stable. That’s why we exchange gifts at Christmas. I became the figurehead for gift giving. So that is my connection to the Christ child.

As for being all around you at all times, that’s not quite accurate – although I do have a computer system in place that alerts me to children’s behaviour, be they naughty or nice, and the help of some watchful elves. So be warned.

I hope this helps. By the way, provisional means you’ll confirm things with me later and attached means your picture was clipped on to your letter.

Your friend in the North Pole,

Father Christmas.

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September 1st

From: Tom in Ormskirk

Dear Father Christmas,

I live with my auntie and she just had a new alarm system fitted. She says the little white boxes in the corners of the rooms – the ones that blink with red lights when you move – are connected to your workshop so that you can keep an eye on us and make sure we behave.

Is she having me on?

Tom aged 7

santa face_66541651Dear Tom,

Your auntie is not having you on – not at all. The sensors you mention can, indeed, be configured to work as magic eyes for us to monitor behaviour. It was the idea of our very clever Techno Elf.

But, of course, we have other methods for monitoring behaviour because not every home has an alarm system. Even if they do, homeowners have to sign up to SMS – that’s Santa’s Monitoring Scheme. It isn’t compulsory.

I can’t let you in on all our secrets about keeping tabs on children’s behaviour. Just let’s say we receive lots of help from parents and guardians, aunts and uncles, teachers and grandparents. Plus, we have a computer so sophisticated it is almost magical.

Then, of course, the elves do get around as well: listening up chimneys, peaking from inside the vacuum cleaner and hiding in the bushes. I’m sure you get the picture. They are nothing if not clever and evasive.

Have you ever heard a strange noise you can’t explain? It might scare you sometimes, especially at night. Well, there is no need to frightened, I promise you. It will most likely be an elf making his way home and not being quite as stealthy as he should be.

The overriding message here, dear Tom, is behave!

Forever watchful,

Father Christmas.

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September 3rd

From: Megan in Crewe

Dear Santa,

It’s that day. I was sitting at my dressing table, not knowing quite what to do, so I thought I’ll write to Santa. That way I don’t have to think about things too much. And anyway, it will be my birthday soon – so I can look forward to presents and cake.

I wish I had more to tell you. Thank you for news of the dolphin film and for Snowy Hare’s explanation about my name. Gran liked that.

She’s been a bit tearful today. I put my arm around her and she said she felt better.

Love,

Megan, aged nearly 8.

PS Big hugs to Snowy Hare and say hello to your elves and Mrs. Claus. Oh yes – and the reindeer.

santa face_66541651Dear Megan,

What a brave and helpful girl. Happy birthday and well done you! I passed on all your ‘hellos’ and everyone sends their kindest wishes back to you.

We are becoming awfully busy here. It is from this point that the Christmas letters and lists start pouring in. We have a new computer to deal with it all. More and more children are sending their requests by email or text – and even that tweeting nonsense.

But for me, you cannot beat a good old-fashioned handwritten letter – just like the ones you write. It is a tradition that began about 120 years ago and I’m a great lover of tradition, just like my old friend and literary genius Charles Dickens. Techno Elf says I need to move with the times and I thrust a copy of “A Christmas Carol” in his hands to remind him how it should be.

And anyway, I allowed my Christmas Eve journey to be tracked by NORAD (that’s the North American Aerospace Defense Command) – so how much more technological does he want me to be?

Really the main point here is that as long as children continue to believe in me, Megan, I suppose I don’t greatly care how they keep in touch…just as long as they do. Like you!

Love,

Santa.

PS If you have a computer at home you can track me in December at www.noradsanta.org – hope you try it.

PPS Do please have your Gran read “A Christmas Carol” to you when December dawns. The Muppets do a good version on film too.

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September 24th

From: Katie in Londonderry

Dear Father Christmas,

I am Katie. I am 6. I am in Northern Ireland. I like cupcakes.

Can I have a picture of you and your penguins? Thank you. I have done a picture for you of me and my Mummy and Daddy at Christmas. Thank you.

Katie.

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santa face_66541651Dear Katie,

Thank you for your letter. I hope the picture of me in the corner of my notepaper is good enough for you because sadly I don’t have any penguins to pose with. They live in the South Pole and not the North Pole.

We do have polar bears here, but it isn’t easy to get photos of them. They have an exclusive deal with a major drinks company.

For that matter, so do I – but, unlike them, I retained the rights to my own image.

Remember: the holidays are coming, the holidays are coming…

Your polar pal,

Father Christmas.

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October 31st

From: Robbie in Dorset

Dear Father Christmas,

How are you? Are you traumatised? (Dad told me that word) I just watched “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and saw what the bogeyman did to you. He almost cut you to pieces. Was it terrible being in that sack?

I’m a bit worried a skeleton might deliver my presents this year. Mum said he won’t – it’s just a film. But I was not so sure. That’s why I did this drawing of YOU flying in the sleigh and NOT him.

Thanks from Robbie.

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Hello Robbie,

Thank you for your concern, but I can assure you I am fine and was never kidnapped in a sack. It was just a clever story to show how each section of Holiday Land is best sticking to its own area of expertise.

The King of the Pumpkin Patch is actually a friend of mine. He’s not as scary as he looks – I promise. His head falls off sometimes, which has made Mrs Claus choke on her tea more than once. But apart from that…

My elves like making their Jack O’ Lanterns and have been known to go trick or treating, even though Halloween is the time we’re usually starting to increase our workload in the build up to our own holiday.

So don’t have nightmares – and trust me when I say it will be me delivering your gifts this year, as always – just as in your excellent picture. Thank you for that!

Father Christmas.

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November 18th

From : Megan in Crewe

Dear Santa,

I promise not to email or text – and definitely not tweet. How are you? How is Snowy Hare? I know how busy you will be, with Christmas so close. But I thought it best to send a list of gifts now to beat the rush.

Gran is not very well, so I wonder if you can help make her better. I know you can’t bring that in your sack, but if you have any of that magic dust left – after you’ve made the reindeer fly of course – then it might do her some good. Does it work on coughs?

I like the look of the cuddly Dolphin. It’s in the shops already. Your elves probably made them. A pushchair for Daisy would be good, too.

If there is any way you can help me get a carrot to Snowy Hare, I’d be the happiest girl in the world.

Thank you,

Love,

Megan, aged 8.

PS We did our autumn half term project on global warming and recycling and I got a gold star and a smiley face. Will this help stop the melting?

santa face_66541651Dearest Megan,

I am never too busy to hear from you, although I read with sorrow that your Gran has been unwell.

We do have magic here in the North Pole – and we could not survive without it. But it has never been possible to transfer it to people in your world. I have never understood how that works exactly, but it saddens me that I cannot help you.

Delivering toys and spreading joy is my purpose in your world and nothing more. This is the only magic I can bring with me. I hope you understand.

Continue to give her big hugs and kisses. The power of your love is more magical than you know.

Some children write to me asking if I can stop their parents arguing and prevent them divorcing. Sadly, I have to point out there is nothing I can do. Again, that is beyond my magic. I simply have to remind the children that their parents still love them very much and that they are in no way to blame for their Mother and Father’s decision to separate. I tell you this only to further illustrate where my powers begin and end.

Now then – I will, of course, deliver a juicy carrot to Snowy Hare on your behalf. Mrs. Claus has knitted him the most perfect red jumper for Christmas. How appropriate: a jumper for a jumper.

Lots to do, so better dash – but not before I send you this special picture of the reindeer and me in flight. See that magic dust coming from my hand? At least this way I get to send you some magic.

Love from all your friends here,

Santa.

PS Your project will, indeed, help stop the melting. Educating people on this issue is so crucial. Well done!

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November 19th

From: Arthur in Leeds

Dear Father Christmas,

I need you to set a few things straight with me, if you’ve got a minute. The Father Christmas at our local shopping centre flew in today, not with Prancer and Rudolph but in a helicopter.

I mean, that’s fair enough. The reindeers only fly on Christmas Eve – I get that. I also get that you have to employ helpers dressed in Santa suits at shops and what have you. I mean, you can’t be in a million places at once. I understand how all that works.

But when I went with my family to see your helper arrive at the shopping centre today, I was suddenly filled with questions.

First, the announcer today kept giving updates on your helper’s arrival, like “he’s 10 minutes away, he’s five minute away” and so on. Now if it takes him even a few minutes to get from A to B in a helicopter, then how the heck do you get all around the world in one night without so much as an engine? My Dad said this Father Christmas was only coming from Leeds-Bradford airport and see how long it took him.

When he arrived, this “big red lump” Dad called him, he walked straight in to the store through a large door. But if you are genuinely that big, how the heck do you get down the chimney?

And there’s another thing. What if there is no chimney? What the heck do you do then?

I’m a big fan, but feel the time has come for answers.

Yours truly,

Arthur, aged 9.

santa face_66541651My Dear Arthur,

I have hope for the future of the world with great thinkers like you in it. Time is a curious thing, isn’t it? I imagine you have been in a school lesson that you don’t enjoy and the time drags. You think the lesson is never going to end.

Then it comes to school holidays, which you doubtless love, and the weeks simply fly by. Yet the seconds and the minutes and the hours tick by in exactly the same way.

Christmas is the most thrilling and enjoyable time of the year, so goes particularly quickly.

The legendary Lord of the Elves, who was responsible for making me Santa centuries ago, cleverly deduced that we could deliver all our gifts all across the world by tapping into the very happy feeling that makes time fly by.

We did just that and now, in effect, time travels with us until we have completed our night’s work. I travel on ‘happy time’.

With that kind of monumental magic taken care of, getting into children’s homes is relatively easy. Firstly, I have a beautiful shiny key that will open any door – just in case I can’t fit down the chimney or, indeed, there is no chimney.

Secondly, with just one touch of my nose I can magically spirit myself from one room to another or from the ground to the roof. At this point you might want to refer to the penultimate verse of Clement C. Moore’s rather splendid poem of 1822 ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Go on! Read it – you’ll enjoy it.

It’s the same magic instilled by the Lord of the Elves – the same magic that makes my reindeer fly. But it is only for that one night…only for Christmas Eve. I hope this puts your clever mind at rest dear, inquisitive Arthur.

Fondest wishes,

Father Christmas.

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December 1st

From: Sylvain in Yarm

Dear Pere Noel,

My Papa is a footballer from France, but we now live in England. I just wanted to enable you had my new address here. It is near Newcastle. Do you know it?

I would like a bike and a Wii. That makes me laugh as that is yes in French.

My teacher has checked me in my English writing. Am I good?

Merci,

Sylvain.

santa face_66541651Dear Sylvain,

I hope you are enjoying your new life in England. What an adventure. I also hope your Papa is happy there because he is in my Fantasy Football team.

If you are a good boy, I will happily bring the gifts you asked for. Thankfully, I do know where you live in that lovely red brick house with a huge chimney. Thanks for that – it will help a lot.

Your English is excellent. Tres Bon! I had to learn many languages for my job and I know how tricky it can be.

Au Revoir and Joyeux Noel,

Pere Noel.

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December 2nd

From: Pippa and Paula Mansfield in Haringey

Dear Santa,

We are twins and love you very much. We are very excited for Christmas. We have opened two doors on our advent calendars. One was your head.

We would like a puppy. We promise to take it for walks and clean up its poop.

Do you have a dog? Can it go with you on Christmas Eve?

Lots of love,

Pippa & Paula aged 4.

santa face_66541651Dear Pippa and Paula,

Thank you for your kind letter. I don’t have a dog – although we did have a rather sweet guest dog named Rufus stay with us one night. But that’s another story. I am happy you want to provide a home for one of your own and that you have promised to look after it. Please make sure that you do. The times I’ve had to call the RSPCA in the past when pets have been neglected. As they say, a dog is not just for Christmas!

I have my hands full with my reindeer, although any one of them would baulk at the thought of being called a pet. They are quite independent minded creatures in many ways. Then there is my less-publicised friend Snowy Hare, who has even been known to write his own Christmas notes and can draw rather well for a bunny.

Vixen is quite the most stubborn of the reindeer. She knows her own mind, that one. Last year she steered us clean off course in New York, just to get a close-up look at the Empire State Building. It is coloured on top with red and green lights at Christmas. She is very much drawn to that.

Have a very happy Christmas,

Love,

Father Christmas.

scrawly santa letter_113723290

December 8th

From: Aaron in Manchester

Hello Father Christmas,

My name is Aaron and I am 8. I am Jewish, so I don’t celebrate Christmas.

We have Hanukkah instead at this time of year. You have 12 days of Christmas and we have 8 days and nights of Hanukkah. It can be at the end of November or December, but changes each year. I hope you like the Hanukkah card I’ve sent you.

It is to remember the miracle of the Maccabees, who took a temple back from the Greeks and wanted to purify it by burning oil in a menorah. There was only enough oil to last for one day – but it kept burning for eight days. We light candles in a menorah each night of Hanukkah to remember this miracle. The card has a picture of a menorah on it so you know what it looks like. It has dreidels on there as well. They are four-sided spinning tops.

Do you understand the Maccabees story? If not, you could Google it.

We get one present for each day of Hanukkah, which I like a lot. But when I see some of my friends getting ready for Christmas and decorating trees and opening Advent calendars, I feel like I might be missing out. What do you think?

Aaron, aged 9.

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santa face_66541651Dear Aaron,

Thank you for sharing the story of Hanukkah. I like to hear about miracles. It reinforces my conviction that anything is possible if we believe.

I know many Jewish families who put up Christmas trees and embrace the decorating side of the festive season. I also know many Christians who have shared Hanukkah meals with their Jewish friends. I think the most important thing is to respect other faiths and learn about their traditions, even if we might not be able to wholeheartedly embrace them because of our different beliefs and upbringings.

But I see no harm in somehow sharing a special time in your friends’ lives and for them to share a special time in yours. The world could certainly do with more understanding.

Happy Hanukkah,

Father Christmas.

santa letters envelopes_219792406December 12th

From Vanessa in King’s Lynn

My Dearest Darling Santa,

I have been thinking about you a lot again lately. It’s become something of an obsession. Those black shiny boots, that booming laugh, that wobbly belly inside that red suit and that glossy white beard. What can I say? I’m still head over heels for the fat man. Is there any hope for us you gorgeous cuddliness?

Love and kisses,

Vanessa

santa face_66541651Hello Vanessa,

It was your office party again, wasn’t it? Got a bit carried away with the eggnog.

As I have told you in the last couple of years, I am a happily married man. Flattering as your attentions may be, I have to reiterate that you really do need to look closer to home for a man. Your husband, for example.

Merry Christmas,

Santa.

santa stamp franking mark_164639897December 13th

From: Luke in Carlisle

Dear Father Christmas,

I hope I’m not too late. I know Christmas is like next week. How are you and your wife and children? I am very well.

Do you get to go on holiday after Christmas? Do you go skiing or do you go somewhere hot?

Please could I have a skateboard and an X-Box and some computer games and a rugby ball? Thanks. Hope you like your card. I made it for you.

Luke, aged 6-and-a-half.

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santa face_66541651Dear Luke,

You are not too late. In fact, you are very much in time. Letters mailed to me arrive the very same day by special delivery. Those sent on the wind arrive within hours, while those sent up the chimney on the ashes of a fire can be with me in minutes.

My wife and I are very well – thank you for asking. We love your card. We don’t have children, however, unless by that you mean the elves…who are not children but whose behaviour can be infantile at times.

I do a lot of travelling with my job, so the best kind of holiday for me is to stay at home, sleep for a week and detox from all the cookies, milk, mince pies, chocolate, wine and whisky that’s left out for me on Christmas Eve. The indigestion after all that is truly astounding. If there was a burp-a-thon on Christmas Day, I would surely win it! None of the elves will sit down wind of me for days after Christmas Eve.

I’ll take care of your wish list,

Be good,

Father Christmas.

santa letter envelope 2_66203065

December 14th

From Georgie in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Dear Father Christmas,

I’m happy for you to give my toys to the poor children this year. Mummy took me to a children’s home in Sri Lanka and I want them to have my things, if that’s all right with you. I’ve given the security man on our gate a picture of you so he knows to let you in.

Does your red suit come from Coca Cola? I heard it did.

Love,

Georgie.

santa face_66541651Dear Georgie,

You are kind beyond words. I will take some of your toys to the children’s home you visited, but will deliver something very special for you as well.

I have been a big part of the Coca Cola Christmas advertising campaigns since the 1930’s. But I wore my red suit long before that – in the 1860’s in fact. Let me think. Yes, it was 1931 that an American illustrator named Haddon Sundblom captured me in a rather flattering way – big, jolly and rosy-cheeked. I think he was inspired by the description of me in the clever poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

A cartoonist by the name of Thomas Nast drew me as a small elf-like figure in 1862. That’s not me at all. But Mr. Nast did put me in a red coat in later drawings – and on that score he was much more accurate because I was in the red by then.

Before that, I wore suits in rather less vibrant colours of brown and green. Mrs. Claus suggested the red. So, even though Coca Cola’s logo is red, it is just a coincidence that we match up so well.

Take care sweet boy,

Father Christmas.

dear santa envelope letter_65695273December 15th

From Megan in Crewe

Dear Santa,

I thought I’d better tell you that you won’t find me at Gran’s this Christmas. She has been taken into hospital and some nice people from her church said she would not be going back to her house again. They say she will go into a home with other people her age.

I think Mummy going to heaven made her feel poorly. Gran was always sad, but I think she got worse on the first anniversary. Remember, I wrote to you that day – just before my birthday.

I tried to cheer Gran up and only be sad myself when I was on my own in my room. But I think me being here only made it worse. Everyone kept saying how much I looked like Mummy as a girl. Sometimes Gran would call me by Mummy’s name by mistake.

I am now in a children’s home, waiting to see if they can find foster parents for me for Christmas. Is that their name? Foster I mean? Why can’t someone with a different name look after me? Will someone here read “A Christmas Carol” to me do you think?

Anyway, I hope I will have time to tell you where I am before Christmas Eve. Do you make deliveries after Christmas?

I hope you are finding time to rest. I got to draw a Christmas card before I moved. Trees are one of my favourites so that’s what I picked.

Love,

Megan.

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santa face_66541651Dear Megan,

My dear child, know this – wherever you are this Christmas I will find you. How would Daisy cope without a pushchair? We have to consider the needs of dolls, do we not?

I hope you can be placed with a lovely foster family for Christmas. Foster isn’t their surname – it’s just a term given to people who care for children in their own homes. They are very special people, with lots of love in their hearts and are very good bedtime story readers.

Foster parents often have their own children, but the other youngsters they take care of are more special to my mind – because they are, in a way, chosen. Whoever chooses you will be the luckiest foster parents in all of England.

Love,

Santa.

santa letter stamps_90130072December 20th

From: Caitlin Lane in Derby

Hi Santa Claus,

I met one of your helpers in a grotto today and he was very nice, but his beard was not very real and he had spilled food down his front.

How do you get a job like that? Do you have interviews?

My Nana told me girls can’t do that job and that’s sexist in this day and age. Is that a rude word?

I think your helpers must get the jobs because they look like you. But how do they know what they should look like if no one ever sees you?

It is five sleeps until Christmas so don’t feel you have to write back to me straight away, if you’re busy wrapping and things. Don’t forget my pram. I know I told your helper – but he might forget because he was very old.

From Caitlin Lane, aged 7.

santa face_66541651Hello Caitlin,

Don’t worry, my dear, the message about your gifts did get through to me. The in-store Father Christmas you visited has not lost the plot quite yet. He does like a drink, mind you – but let’s not go down that road.

Sadly, there are so many helpers in so many shops, grottos and arcades around the world that I can’t possibly be in control of the hiring and firing of all of them. That’s for the businesses concerned to deal with.

It was so much easier to oversee things back in the day. The first in-store Santa in that fine American store Macys was in the 1870’s – a very long time ago. I could even manage a few shifts myself. But once the idea grew and spread, it became too unwieldy.

However, I insist to this day that I am informed about any bad Santas. Failure to live up to my requirements of ruddiness, happiness, cleanliness and beardiness will result in my impersonators getting struck off.

It is the power of Santa Claus that no one has to see me in person to know what I look like. I’m a global brand, whether I like it or not. My image has changed through the years. Advertising campaigns and movies have helped mould me. Mrs. Claus would say a little too much.

Do you ever feel you are becoming a caricature of yourself? Of course you don’t. You’re seven.

As for female Santas, why not! As long as I have my dinner on the table promptly and hot chocolate brought to me in bed, Mrs. Claus is free to do as she chooses…and other women should be the same. I am, of course, joking. I don’t have hot chocolate in bed.

Okay, I’m joking again. Mrs Claus will not be happy with me. Women hold some of the most important roles in business, industry and government in the world today. In my early days – indeed for much of my life – that would have been unthinkable. There is still a long way to go – and certain countries are scarily backwards in this issue. But dream big, my dear Caitlin, and you can be anything you want to be. That includes a female Santa Claus.

Happy Christmas,

Santa.

PS Mrs. Claus insisted I tell you that behind every great man is a great woman. In my case, she could not be more accurate.

PPS That last bit made me sound big headed. I don’t want to suggest I’m great or anything. Then again, I am Santa Claus.

cards seal stamp with tree_117433057December 21st

From: Cole in Herts.

Dear Father Christmas,

Just before the big day arrives, I wonder if you can tell me how the whole gift thing works. Dad is not very helpful at all.

He says that you bring some of my presents and that he buys the rest. So what’s the arrangement? Is it 50-50 or do you have to bargain with each other?

Hope to see you in a few nights. I’m sure I heard your sleigh-bells last year and this year I’m going to stay up to see you as well. I’ve got cakes and a Kit Kat for you and some oats for the reindeer.

From Cole.

santa face_66541651Hello Cole,

Merry Christmas! What an interesting question. Yes, there is some sharing of the gift-buying duties. But the negotiations between parents/guardians and me have to remain confidential.

Let’s just say it varies from year-to-year and from house-to-house. I have to take into account the annual rise in child population and factor in my overheads, then take it from there. It is also a question of logistics. Look that up if you don’t know what it means. Logistics. Say it out loud. It’s a good word. Logistics! Anyway, say every child in every country that celebrates Christmas had a Christmas list of 10 items, I would have to deliver billions of presents.

My sack magically replenishes itself with gifts as I travel the globe. But there is only so much magic available to me, the sack, the reindeer etc. so the parents have to play a part.

I often yearn for the days when each child received a single gift and was thankful for it. I bet you’ve keeled over with shock at the very thought. That’s right – one gift for each child. One!

But before I get in to a “Kids today – they don’t know how lucky they are” rant, I’ll say goodbye.

Be nice. Be happy,

Father Christmas.

santa letter stamps_89217574

December 23rd

From Megan in Crewe

Dear Santa,

You might not have time to read this yourself, but maybe your office elves can pass on the news. I have been placed with a family for Christmas and they are on their way to pick me up now. They have two teenagers and a dog and are not called Foster.

It took a little while to sort it out because they had to make sure they could adapt their house for my wheelchair. But now they have ramps and things.

They are taking me to see Gran on the way to their house so I can give her a present. I have drawn a picture of Mummy, her and me in a flower garden and have made an angel out of a toilet roll tube. It was on Blue Peter. Do you have that in the North Pole?

I hope Snowy Hare enjoys his carrot.

Merry Christmas to you all,

Lots of love,

Megan, aged 8.

PS I hope all this moving around does not confuse your reindeers. Does Rudolph have sat-nav?

santa face_66541651Dear Megan,

It is Christmas Eve – the most magical night of the whole year. Father Christmas is about to take flight. Just imagine the excitement that is flowing through this place. This is what we work for all year.

He asked me to contact you before the big night to say how thrilled he is you have a new home for Christmas (I have used his notepaper with his picture on it, I hope he won’t be cross). He also wanted to say a big thank you because without children like you, who believe in him as powerfully as you do, there would be no Christmas spirit and magical nights like this would not be possible at all.

So thank you, thank you and thank you again for keeping faith when others in your situation might have lost theirs. I hear you have a surprise for me. How wonderful. What would we do without Christmas?

Love from Snowy Hare.

PS No, we don’t have Blue Peter – but yes, we do have our own form of sat-nav (that’s satellite navigation I believe). It is called star-nav.

sant letter envelope red_85300093

December 28th

From: Megan in Sandbach

Dear Santa and Snowy Hare,

You found me. I knew you would. I love my pushchair (and so does Daisy) and dolphin. It is helping me as I start to walk again. Thank you.

I missed Gran and Mummy on Christmas Day, but June and Peter made me feel at home. I even have my own room in purple.

Their children are called Lucy and Pete and take it in turns to help me when we go to the park. They have been very kind to me. They understand about my car crash with Mummy because their brother died a few years ago. We lit candles for them on Christmas Day.

I hope you are all having a good rest. You must be shattered. Did you have turkey? We did. Casper ran off with some of it. That’s the dog. He’s black and white and cute, but naughty sometimes.

Do you stay up for New Year? I might be allowed to this year. I don’t really know what that means, but Lucy and Pete are excited so it must be something good.

I’m about to open my selection box so will say bye for now.

Love,

Megan.

santa face_66541651Dear Megan,

Your letter once again filled us all with joy. Christmas is all about love and faith and hope. No one captures those festive feelings quite like you, my dear child.

I know your Gran is most content and well looked after in her new home and I strongly suspect you may have found the family to guarantee that kind of security for you. I’ve checked and Lucy and Pete have never been on the naughty list. Not ever!

Now, Snowy Hare is pestering me – so I will let him jot down a quick line in his somewhat scrawly writing.

Hello Megan. It’s me – Snowy Hare. I’m wearing my splendid new red jumper from Mrs. Claus. Father Christmas keeps saying “A jumper for a jumper – how fitting”. He thinks he’s very funny, but I haven’t laughed at all. I am very hippity and hoppity, though. Oh yes indeed. That’s because your happiness shines through. You being happy makes me…well, hippity and hoppity. My love to you and your new family from Snowy Hare.

Megan dear, it is Santa again. Have you ever heard such a cheeky creature? I am almost certain he laughed at my silly joke, but he now denies it. But he is certainly a jumpy jumper in a jumper since he heard of your happiness, so I will forgive him.

I look forward to your next letter in a new and exciting year for you. Let us hope it is an exciting year for us all. Yes, even Snowy Hare.

Love,

Santa.

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Copyright Philip Jones 2014