Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Which one of the Reindeer are you?

Stumbled across this fun quiz in my Santa mail this morning. Take the test and see which of Santa's reindeer you most resemble (in spirit, not physique!)

You Are Prancer

You are the perfect reindeer, with perfect hooves and perfect flying form.

Why You're Naughty: Because you're Santa's pet, and you won't let anyone show you up.

Why You're Nice: You have the softest fur and the sweetest carrot breath.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Santa's gearing up for big night - and packed for vacation!

Dateline: North Pole Santa is standing by the window, sipping a cup of steaming hot chocolate (special dark chocolate laced with cream) and going over last minute details with Mrs Claus while he watches the elves fasten down the last of the items on the overloaded sleigh. Santa and Mrs Claus are thinking about the joy of millions of children in the upcoming hours, but they are also dreaming of something else - their beach vacation that begins in just a few long days!

"Did you remember to put the shampoo in little bottles and inside a ziplock?" Santa asked.
"Not only that, but I remembered the underwater camera, the guidebook to the best snorkling reefs and there are extra batteries for the GPS", Mrs Claus replied.
"This will be the best trip yet, dear!" said Santa "I'm going to spend the entire month with less than 25 pounds of clothes on!"
"Well, you won't catch me out lying in that sun, but I do plan to spend some time tasting new recipes in the cafes", Mrs. Claus replied, "I really want to eat some of the local fish - anything that doesn't taste like sugar and cinnamon!"

You would think that after Santa's frenzied trip clear around the world this week, he would be ready to settle in and never travel anywhere, but you can see him here trying on his beach clothes and making sure the toys are handy. Road Warriers like Santa need some R and R and he's ready!

This particular Santa model is available (for now, anyway) at Everything Nautical. They always have two or three nautical Santas and right now if you grab more than 1, you get each one you buy for $39.95. Pick up all three for next year's display.
Update: Sorry, these Santas are no longer available at this merchant. It's a sad reminder that when we see something that fits the bill, we should go ahead and take care of ordering it. Shop the stores featured on the sidebar and find more perfect Santas.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A teary-eyed Santa story for your season

I have a life-long friend who doubles as a Santa during the season and he dearly loves the ol' elf as much as I do. Yesterday he sent me this story, which is just a perfect Santa Christmas story. I know it's long and I don't know if it's true, but here it is anyway, just to bring a tear or two.

My friend said:
This is what Christmas means to me.
I hope you feel as warm after reading it as I do.
Have a Merry Christmas.

Three years ago, a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at
Mayfair Mall in Wisconsin. The child climbed up on his lap, holding a
picture of a little girl. "Who is this?" asked Santa, smiling. "Your
friend? Your sister?"

"Yes, Santa," he replied. "My sister, Sarah, who is very sick," he said sadly. Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby, and saw her dabbing her eyes with a tissue.

"She wanted to come with me to see you, oh, so very much, Santa!" the child exclaimed. "She misses you," he added softly.

Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy's face, asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas. When they finished their visit, the Grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted.

"What is it?" Santa asked warmly.

"Well, I know it's really too much to ask you, Santa, but " the old woman began, shooing her grandson over to one of Santa's elves to collect the little gift which Santa gave all his young visitors. "The girl in the photograph . my granddaughter .. well, you see ... she has leukemia and isn't expected to make it even through the holidays," she said through tear-filled eyes. "Is there any way, Santa ... any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That's all she's asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa."

Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do. Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon. He knew what he had to do. "What if it were MY child lying in that hospital bed, dying," he thought with a sinking heart, "this is the least I can do."

When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening, he retrieved from his helper the name of the hospital where Sarah was staying. He asked the assistant location manager how to get to Children's Hospital.

"Why?" Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his face.

Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah's grandmother earlier that day. "C'mon ... I'll take you there," Rick said softly.

Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa. They found out which room Sarah was in. A pale Rick said he would wait out in the hall. Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and saw little Sarah on the bed. The room was full of what appeared to be her family; there was the Grandmother and the girl's brother he had met earlier that day. A woman whom he guessed was Sarah's mother stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah's thin hair off her forehead. And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah's aunt, sat in a chair near the bed with weary,sad look on her face. They were talking quietly, and Santa could sense the warmth and closeness of the family, and their love and concern for Sarah. Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered the room, bellowing a hearty, "Ho, ho, ho!"

"Santa!" shrieked little Sarah weakly, as she tried to escape her bed to
run to him, IV tubes intact. Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug. A child the tender age of his own son -- 9 years old -- gazed up at him with wonder and excitement. Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches from the effects of chemotherapy. But all he saw when he looked at her was a pair of
huge, blue eyes. His heart melted, and he had to force himself to choke back tears.

Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah's face, he could hear the gasps and quiet sobbing of the women in the room. As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to the bedside one by one, squeezing Santa's shoulder or his hand gratefully, whispering "thank you" as they gazed sincerely at him with shining eyes.

Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly all the toys she wanted for Christmas,assuring him she'd been a very good girl that year. As their time together dwindled, Santa felt led in his spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked for permission from the girl's mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family circled around Sarah's bed, holding hands. Santa looked intensely at Sarah and asked her if she believed in angels.

"Oh, yes, Santa ... I do!" she exclaimed

"Well, I'm going to ask that angels watch over you,! "he said. Laying one hand on the child's head, Santa closed his eyes and prayed. He asked that God touch little Sarah, and heal her body from this disease. He asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep her. And when he finished praying, still with eyes closed, he started singing softly, "Silent Night, Holy Night . all is calm, all is bright." The family joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah, and crying tears of hope, tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed at them all. When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed again and held Sarah's frail, small hands in his own.

"Now, Sarah," he said authoritatively, "you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this summer, and I expect to see you at my house at Mayfair Mall this time next year!" He knew it was risky proclaiming that, to this little girl who had terminal cancer, but he "had" to He had to give her the greatest gift he could -- not dolls or games or toys -- but the gift of HOPE.

"Yes, Santa!" Sarah exclaimed, her eyes bright.

He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead and left the room. Out in the hall, the minute Santa's eyes met Rick's, a look passed between them and they wept unashamed. Sarah's mother and grandmother slipped out of the room quickly and rushed to Santa's side to thank him.

"My only child is the same age as Sarah," he explained quietly. "This is the least I could do." They nodded with understanding and hugged him.

One year later, Santa Mark was again back on the set in Milwaukee for his six-week, seasonal job which he so loves to do. Several weeks went by and then one day a child came up to sit on his lap. "Hi, Santa! Remember me?!"

"Of course, I do," Santa proclaimed (as he always does), smiling down at

After all, the secret to being a "good" Santa is to always make each child feel as if they are the "only" child in the world at that moment. "You came to see me in the hospital last year!" Santa's jaw dropped.

Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest. "Sarah!" he e xclaimed. He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy -- much different from the little girl he had visited just a year before. He looked over and saw Sarah's mother and grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.

That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus. He had witnessed --and been blessed to be instrumental in bringing about -- this miracle of hope. This precious little child was healed. Cancer-free. Alive and well. He silently looked up to Heaven and humbly w hispered, "Thank you, Father. 'Tis a very, Merry Christmas !

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Are you Santa or Grinch?

This morning I stumbled across this blogthings quiz and figured that I better find out if I'm a secret Grinch. I have to admit that I get mixed feeling about Christmas this time of the season - I'm worn out and I haven't even started with the physical chores yet. How does Santa do it? Other than the exciting high-speed travel - he's got the worst Christmas chore list of all.

Anyway - guess I'm not a Grinch - what about you? Take the quiz - let me know, OK?

Nope, You're Not a Grinch
Although you may feel Grinch-like at times, it's just because you're worn out from the holidays.You get into the holiday spirit more than most people - and you truly enjoy celebrating with your family and friends.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Some email forwards are worth getting

Visions of Sugarplums

I got the following story in my email today. This is the Santa Claus I know and love and also the one I want to be:

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered "Even dummies know that!"

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day
because I knew she would be straight with me I knew Grandma always told the
truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when
swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns. I knew they were
world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her
everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus?" She snorted...."Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun. "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars.

That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car. "Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's. I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself.

The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, and the people who went to my church.

I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's second grade class. Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough; he didn't have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!

I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that. "Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. "Yes, ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby." The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons
and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible). Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa's helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going." I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.

Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby. Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes.

That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team. I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.

May you always have LOVE to share. And may you always believe in the magic
of Santa Claus.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Finding more Santas

It's the best time of year for finding Santa, of course. It seems like I find a fabulous one daily this year. I hope you like this one.

Here's where I found it:

Russian Mystery

I believe in Santa Claus

I Believe in Santa
I Believe in Santa
Art Print

Buy at AllPosters.com
Framed&, Mounted

Santa's dreaming of a White Christmas

OK - Here's a link with the Flash Santa Dreaming of a White Christmas that worked when I posted it Christmas Eve, 2006.

This post has been edited numerous times trying to keep a current copy.

I guess the server crashed from the email traffic or something - it doesn't work here or from the original email anymore. That's too bad - it was cool.

I got this link in my email yesterday or the day before. It is so cool. It appears to be the Flash Christmas card created by this guy back in 2002. I think you'll get a kick out of it. We've been trying to identify the singer but we're coming up zero. Please let us know if you figure it out, OK?

It's the Drifters - and it's apparently becoming a hard-to-find classic.

You might need a Flash player to view it. Well worth it. Turn your sound on!

United States Air Force Holiday Concert

Rockford, Illinois
Yesterday the United States Air Force Band of Mid-America presented their holiday concert "Celebrate the Season" at the Coronado Theatre in downtown Rockford. We attended the afternoon show; it was our first time for this particular event.

We were entirely thrilled with everything from the beautiful Christmas music, the talented singers who performed tributes to Willie Nelson, Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys and even Elvis. There was more than I could ever recap here, but the part that was especially touching was when they invited all the children in the audience to come up on stage and sit around the narrator of a Christmas story - The Polar Express. Accompanied by a slide show and musical background, the children's story came to life for all of us, but watching the rapt attention of tiny little kids and medium kids dressed for the season was delightful.

Mr. And Mrs. Claus

Just as the story ended, who should arrive but Santa ! Mrs. Claus came along for the visit to Rockford; she explained that the elves were loading the sleigh and Santa needed a nice weekend of rest before the big night. Mr and Mrs Claus sat on stage with the children and visited during the performance of "Little St Nick" by the psuedo Beach Boys and we all enjoyed every minute of it.

If you get the opportunity to see any performance by The United States Air Force Band of Mid-America, don't miss it. The one here in Rockford was a free concert sponsored by the Park District, Rockford Health Systems, and SupplyCore. Thank you, one and all!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Another Petals Christmas Santa I found

In a previous post, I displayed a picture of a Santa inside a red Christmas ornament. The Santa pictured here is from the same store, but will appeal more to the figurine collecters like me.

This Santa figurine has an antiqued appearance and the children are dressed in Victorian clothing. One of the things I look for in a collectible Santa is the face. This Santa face has the right look, with a believable expression and a realistic beard and mustache.

I found a coupon code for percent off - it will expire sometime soon, but if it's still December of 06, go ahead and use it if you like:
Petals 10 percent off code WEB5105

Best ever gift from Santa - Worst gift from Santa

I'm just curious - do you remember something that would qualify as the best gift you ever got from Santa? What about the worst?

Here's what comes to mind for me - there might have been others I blocked out.

The best Santa gift of my life was a diamond ring that my husband saved for out of his lunch money back when we were pretty hard-pressed to even get the kids everything we wanted for them. I'm not sure he even knows that it's my all time favorite. I'm sure he thinks about the size and the cost, but what I remember is that he kept it a complete secret and he sacrificed something real to buy it for me.

The worst? I can't remember what I actually got the Christmas this is about, but I was in elementary school and the only thing in the world I wanted was a pair of those plastic roller skates you strapped over your shoes. My Mother was mad at me at the time (surprise, surprise) and Christmas morning all my brothers and sisters got a pair of those skates and I got something else.

Here's hoping you can only come up with a favorite thing - but please share both if you can.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Santa's the butt of a beer suit?

Pardon the immature play on words in the title, but I've been good all year, Santa, and I just couldn't resist. Our story is about a brewery in Maine that seems to have trouble with the State of Maine censoring their beer names and label art - almost an annual tradition.

The story is at MSN through this link http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15995399. The brew is called Santa's butt and the artwork on the label is Santa with his back to us, enjoying a brew. The butt is a play on industry terms, in that butt is also something to do with a keg of beer.

Cute, but no world-shaking. I fully expect to see an email circling sometime next year with the long sad story about the evil bad guys trying to destroy Christmas and a request to forward it to 8 of my favorite reindeer or my Christmas, or is that Holiday, stocking will be full of coal.