Tag Archive: Christmas


S.A.N.T.A.

Let’s get one thing straight, I might need you but you need me too. So let me just start with a what the hell! You have got to be kidding me … right? This cannot be real. I mean, are you serious?!? What more do you want!?! Okay now that that is out of the way let’s try for full disclosure.

I am a Nisse and my very existence is now threatened, once again I might add, because so many of you with your oh so fact driven mindsets do not believe in Santa. This is getting old folks. We dealt with this issue way back in the 1500s, originally that is, and then again in the 1800s. I mean really;

Is there a Santa Claus? Does Santa really deliver all those presents? How does Santa visit all the good boys and girls?

Your incesent disbelief has become like a school yard taunt, unoriginal and repetitive. We have heard these questions with increasing frequency over the last 50 years, and I, for one, am tired of having to watch adults stumble through explinations. However, and perhaps more troubling, the questions have now reached critical mass. They have become a threat to our lives.

Before you dismiss me out of hand allow me to explain how you and your questions are slowing killing me. See Nisse are actually lesser fairies, by which I mean we walk not fly, and like our sparkling June-bug sized kin we require your belief. It sustains us like water to a flower; without it we slowly wilt and fade. 

I know that outside of Scandinavia few know our true names therefore it might be hard to imagine that enough people believe in us at all for us to still exist. You’re not wrong. We first faced this issue back in the 1500s when fairy lore was slipping into mythology. We transitioned from doing helpful deeds to delivering gifts. It still was not enough. The population was growing but sadly belief in us was not. Around this time we heard tell of Father Christmas a genial and jolly man keeping the works of Saint Nicolas alive in England. We immediately saw him as the answer to all of our problems. You see here was another population who already believed in a gift giver who even had his own holiday. So we fashioned ourselves after him going door to door handing out gifts of food requesting only that the recipients hold on to these yuletide feelings year long.

We spent years toiling away spreading Father Christmas’s brand of cheer but all it did was build his fame. Gift giving by a magical being on Christmas was happening all over Europe, thanks to us, but everyone was forgetting the ground work we were putting in. So in the 1800s when Father Christmas was busy becoming Santa Claus, thanks to the up and coming Americans, we made an executive decision to unify the two endeavors. We, the Nisse, would be the work force helping to make the gifts, now small toys, and the deliveries, now done secretively via chimnies, and Santa Claus would be the face of the operation.

And what a hype man, I mean everyone knows about Santa Claus and his hard working elves. His involvement has been key to our continued survival, but it’s a two-way street. His noteriety lends us the credability we need, even if you use the wrong term, what’s in a name anyway. Without us he would have been a failure, no man is an island including the jolly Mr. Claus.

So I would like to take this moment to make an official statement. 

Yes, S.A.N.T.A. exists, and yes, S.A.N.T.A. delivers all the presents in one night. The Secret Aggregrate of Nisse for Toy Aqusition makes sure of that. So save your cookies and milk what we want as a thank you is a little faith and a little gratitude, you know if you’re feeling generous, or you will be stuffing your own stockings. Warning to the wise.

All rights to the owner whom I thank

Halloween was over and they were looking Thanksgiving square in the eye.  It was crunch time, the danger zone, 11th hour.  He took a deep breath as his hand ran through his hair knocking his hat askew.

“Logistics!”

His barked command was met with a scuttling of feet and a shuffling of paper before, “Printed, ah, in duplicate, and out for round one.”

He looked up with furrowed brow “You’re sure?”

“Positive sir, absolutely.”

“Good.  Transportation!”

“Aah!  Hemhem.  Uh, good sir.  All in fine running condition.”

This time the look in his eyes was almost quizzical.  “Everything’s fine?”

The question within the question hung in the air as Transportation read back over the slightly crumpled report in her hand.  “No it is sir.  Lights are a go, speed checked out, it’s … It’s all good?”

He sat back in his chair swiveling back and forth thinking.  “Utilities?” the question was quiet this time almost unsure.

“Well, we’re well within the range.  I mean not full capacity but … You know solid.  I mean If tonight was a go we’d make it.”

His hand shook slightly as he pulled the crooked hat from his head.  “Production what do you have for me?”

“Sir I’m proud to say that we are ahead of schedule.  We haven’t missed a quota since July one.”

“So what your telling me is that Christmas is only 45 days away and you cannot find a single problem.  No issues.  None whatsoever?  Not with the naughty/nice list, the sled, the reindeer, Christmas’s spirit, or the gifts!”

“Number One, sir, isn’t that a good thing?” The elf from production asked.

“Well Production let’s see.  Records!  What happened the last time nothing threatened Christmas?”

“Sir?” the tiny elf holding a giant leather bound book squeaked.

“You heard me Records.”

“It’s just …” he poured over pages of script, “It’s just …”

“It’s never happened Production.  You get it yet?  No problems, no Christmas miracle, no …”

“Jing..gle…bells!”

“Yah not on my watch Production.  Now talk to me people how are we going to ruin this Christmas?  We have millions of children depending on us.”

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All I want for Christmas …

The piped in Christmas music was the least abrasive thing about the room.  The technicolor tinsel “trees”, grotesque leering Santa, and haphazardly glittered snowflakes a distant second.  It was the people …the awkward silences, uncomfortable closeness, and unwanted over share of my tipsy coworkers that had me eying the little pull on the fire alarm.

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*******

HAPPY HOLIDAY PARTYING!
🙂

I can still remember how magical it was the first time I rounded the bend at sunset and saw it dancing in the setting sun.

Tucker my beagle had yanked me off our normal path through what I had long ago dubbed my trees, not caring enough to look up the actual name of the small wooded area almost exactly one mile east of our farm, following his busy nose onto a much less well trodden path. However, being 13 and ripe for adventure I let him pick.  We must have wandered on that path for over 20 minutes before the trees started to thin, and thinking we had hit the other side we both started to run for the dappled light only to find ourselves instead in a small clearing.

In those first few moments I didn’t wonder who had done it or why I just accepted it at face value.  Here in the middle of my trees stood a smallish fir-tree trimmed for tomorrow’s celebration of Christmas.  The whines and snuffs of Tuck’s detective work didn’t even break the spell; it was as if I had never laid eyes on a live Christmas tree before.  I marveled at the simple glass ornaments, the silver tinsel garland, and the golden star on top until the sun set behind the trees effectively dimming the dazzling reflective light that had made the tree appear to be covered in twinkle lights as well.

I never mentioned the Christmas tree to anyone, enjoying the secret my trees had shared with me that day and perhaps sensing that I had intruded on something private.  However, that couldn’t stop me from returning each day of Winter break to see it again.

It became my Christmas tradition.  Every year I would visit the clearing in my trees from the first day of school break till the last trying to catch the miracle maker either putting everything up or taking it all back down, but I never did.  Though like clockwork the tree would sparkle from Christmas eve till the 31st, that is until my freshmen year of college.

I was just about to the clearing and sun hadn’t even started setting yet so I was untroubled by the lack of silver and gold flashes, that was until I stood face to face with that fir-tree.  It looked so small in the clearing though I could tell it was very old by the size of the trunk, but without the trimmings everything just looked off.  I stood there clutching the nearest tree for support the questions I had never thought to ask rising to the surface; who had done this for so many years, what had it meant to them, did they know what it meant to me, why would it have stopped?  The final question ringing in my ears I ran from my trees and their clearing, distraught at the loss of my tradition, until I found myself at our storage barn.

While I hadn’t planned it, it felt right.  “There,” I whispered to the smallish fir knocking pine needles from my coat, “that’s better I think.”  As I walked away I glanced over my shoulder so my ornaments were plastic, my garland was rainbow colors not silver, and an angel sat where the star had been maybe the idea behind the tradition might not care about those little details.  I would come back tomorrow and see if the tree could still dance in the fading light.

When I returned I found that my tree trimming had worked the clearing again seemed full and alive, but I was unprepared for the note inscribed at the base of the tree in the earth which read simply

Thank you.

Unsure but excited I stooped to leave my own message

Thank you…

But that was years ago, and now I stand looking at the clearing in my trees and see the fir festooned with glitter snowflakes and icicles and topped with a silver star preparing to leave my second message, and while I write I smile and remember the magic of when I first rounded that bend.

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All rights to artist

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As seen on Shutterstock

Sitting in the hard molded plastic chair in the stuffy room not one inch of Holly St. James was comfortable.  The temperature in the small room ratcheted up another degree or two.  Closing the door on five people in an 8×10 room when one of them is panting and half the room is covered in computer screens is just poor planing, but here they were.  Like some kind of a bad joke opening line, “Did you ever hear the one about a manager, a police officer, a middle aged woman, a techie, and a holiday help sales clerk who go into a back room?  Well…”  Though Holly was looking at the ground she knew what they were all watching from at least three different angles.  She didn’t have an excuse, well not one that she thought they would entertain anyway.  As the sounds of the first crash filled the tiny security station she started smiling.  By the time you could hear breaking glass, stomping feet, and swearing she was laughing, belly shaking knee slapping laughing.  Each tiny scratch stung, but Holly couldn’t help herself.  She just felt so happy and satisfied.  The teenage techie paused the video feed as every one turned to face the hysterical middle aged woman.  The manager looked so distraught he might actually start pulling out his salt and pepper hair at any moment, the holiday help was feverishly working to be the first on to post the mess on YouTube, and police officer looked concerned as he thumbed his stun gun.  The timer on the pause went off and the footage continued. 

“What do you have to say for yourself,” the manager barked in a semi rhetorical tone. 

Holly could hear herself give an triumphant shout of glee on the recording followed by a small squeak of fear.  “I never realised how many people worked here,” she said eying one of the computer screens.  They all turned back to the security footage in time to watch all 5’5 of, 47 year old, Miss Holly St. James emerge from the destroyed wreckage of the Christmas section and attempt to out run the 30 plus employees chasing her down.  The camera angle was perfect.

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As seen on photocase

Christmas Questions

Samantha made a drive for her phone to stop the ringing from getting any louder, and though the caller was an unknown she picked up.

Hello?

Have you been a good girl?

Oh…okay, I bet you think that is ho ho hilarious don’t you?  I thought prank calls were dead?

Is it a hard question to answer…Samantha?

No, it’s…how do you know my name?

Would it surprise you if I said I know a lot of things?

But not if I was good this year?

What do you think?

I think, why the hell am I still allowing this call to continue? 

Curiosity?

Fresh out, any other guesses?

Did you know that idle bored girls often appear naughty?

Don’t they have 900 numbers for this creepy shit?  How about you try one of thoes, and leave me alone?

Now, now Samantha where are your manors?

Could I possibly reserve them for people I actually know not weird holiday drunk dialers?

Do you not remember me?

How the hell did you get this number?

Are you going to answer my question?

Which one?

Which would you say was the most important?

Oh, I don’t know probably, “I wonder who’s calling,” what do you think?

Sarcasm?

You think?  Seriously, why are we still talking?

Ever make a bet with yourself?

A bet?

Yeah, like if you get done with shoveling the driveway before lunch you’ll let yourself splurge on carryout…you know?

I guess?

Well I bet there were no good people left, so…Samantha?

What was the wager?

Why would you care about that?

I’m not sure, but isn’t it important?

Would it affect your answer?  It could don’t you think?

What if I said good-ish?  Not a saint obviously but not really mean or evil either, is that a thing?

Good-ish?  Not a word, but it sounds like a thing, that answer my question though?

Yeah?

You sure?

Look I’m not a bad person so I must be a good person, right?

I don’t think it works like that; your not bad fine but are you good?

Listen guy, why does this mean so much to you?

To me?  Why doesn’t it matter to you?

Maybe because I’m not nine anymore hoping for Santa to leave me presents.

No hoping at all for you anymore?

Doesn’t everyone hope for things?  It’s just…

What?

Did you want to be right, about your bet?

How does anyone truly know what they want?

That isn’t an ans…never mind, were you?

Was I what?

Were you right?

No, I don’t think I was, guess that means I should get back to work.

Why, what do you do?

Deliveries?

You do know it’s Christmas eve right?

Yes I do Samantha, merry Christmas.

Then there was only silence as all three minutes and 23 seconds of conversation started to sink in.

The Battle for October

          Deep in the forest past the point that the dark swallows the light was a clearing that was surrounded by large old growth trees, giant sentinels in this a very sacred place.  It had been quite a long time since the clearing had last seen any visitors but still the round table stood as it always had, expansive and clean of ornament.  It was ringed by stout chairs two placed together at regular intervals with each setting backed by one of the sentinel trees bearing the crest of chairs inhabitants.  Many of the seats were already filled while others sat empty, ignored, the same went for the coat of arms behind the seats few gleamed new and fresh while others were faded or battle scared.  Pulling the attention of most of the table’s guests were the pair seated before a great orange and black crest, it was crowned with a black bat and the body was that of a large sinister pumpkin with crossed bones at the foot separating the words trick and treat, the woman was Hecate Queen of the Witches and with her sat Jack the Pumpkin King.  The anger emanating from them was palpable and seemed to cause black night to seep out of the woman in thin tendrils. 
          To their direct left was seated an elderly Puritan and his wife who cautiously eyed everyone more often then not looking at their neatly fold hands.  Next to them sat two empty seats before a crest of crimson with a pine tree dead center with the phrase “You Better Watch Out” written in gold around the edges.  With the sudden sound of sleigh bells everyone seemed to quiet, then from beyond the ring of trees emerged the Kringles.  Everything about him was broad and heavy both his beard and hair fell past his shoulders, which brought to mind those of blacksmith’s not a delivery boy’s, the way he walked and sat suggested that he did not suffer fools or disagreements well.  Sitting together they looked every inch the warlord and shield maiden.
          Though the table was round the fact that to his left the chairs of Imbolc sat empty and to his right sat only the diminished presence of faded Thanksgiving it gave the appearance that he and his wife were at the head of the table, a position which gave him a dangerous advantage.  The silence felt heavy in the early dawn air.

“Why…why have we be called here,” the one of the leprechauns asked in a shaky voice.

“The Kringles have once again over stepped their boundaries,” was the Pumpkin Kings response.  No emotion could be seen on his cared face but the fire inside danced high and with a malevolent glow.  “What have you to say for your self?”

          The man in red may have smiled but none could see it as most all expressions were masked by his beard.  In answer his wife laid a battle weary musket on the table.  An audible gasp escaped the Puritan’s wife as they both pulled back from the table and studied the ground. 

“We well not be forced,” Hecate said through clinched teeth pulsing night, “we are still desired and relevant.”  Without meaning to she glanced at the empty seats directly opposite her where the dancing bone fire on a field of midnight blue stood neglected. 

          She was pulled from her revere by the sound of Kringle’s voice, “No my lady you are mistaken, we are desired,” he said gesturing to his wife, “and we shall have what we want.”

“Not without consequence,” Jack said his eyes never leaving the faded Puritans.

          As his massive fist slammed to the table the Kringle sprung from his chair “To the field then,” he said with a sneer.

          As the flags and pinions snapped in the late afternoon air the clearing’s guests stood among the trees waiting and watching as ghouls, goblins, and other assorted monsters filed in to the right and elves, Yeti, and polar bears to the left.  The break in tension as the two side charged together was almost a physical sensation.

“…Jessica…Jessica Margaret, have you heard a word I’ve said?”

          The girl stood blinking and shaking her head facing the store isles which sadly held only close out priced plastic pumpkins and boasted more Christmas filled ornamentation than anyone could stand. 

“What in the world are you thinking about, Jess?”

“Mom was there ever a time when Christmas was only in December,” Jessica asked, but as she turned she could have sworn she saw a gleam in the toy Santa’s eye.

One Raw Moment of Christmas

It was here.  I could feel it.

But what was there to be happy about?  A few ohs and ahs then nothing for another year.  So what if every passing year it seemed to come a little sooner; it was never soon enough and gone before I knew it.

Still I sat, still I waited with bated breath, Christmas.

It seeped into the air the icy chill, a promise of snow to come, perfumed with peppermint and gingerbread.  Small things I know, only noticed fleetingly, but they were mine, and they made it all so real.  Brought everything back so vividly the opaque layers of memory building one upon the other in bright flashes which makes everything dull in comparison.

I hear the seasonal sounds reverberate through me.  Not just the old Christmas standards being sung or hummed but so much more.  Beautiful lines from classical holiday movies, the bubble and spark of laughter to the more modern Christmas tails, soft sighs of contentment from enveloping oneself in the familiar, and almost silent the gentle fall of snow.  So soft through the window it can only be heard in the small hours of the morning before the winter sun starts the brave birds chirping and the hanging ice to dripping.  But it is there.

The colors, all my memories I see through a haze of green pine, twinkle lights, and reflective paper.  Why is it that Christmas comes in so many colors?  Never a drab tan, or boring white instead it dazzles in gold and silver, enlivens traditions in crimson and hunter, or blazes a new trail in ice blue or royal purple.  The color of this season rivals the simple beauty outside the window pane, standing out in the night in stark contrast to the all too often gray sky heavy with un-freed snow angels and men.

Your hand upon me gives me purpose makes me feel special.  It is perhaps this touch I wait for the most.  A deliciously bittersweet moment when I am simultaneously desired and yet begin the count down till the season passes.  For at that moment all stands still blinking in my eye.  Your smile makes the tarnish disappear leaving only a clear raw second of Christmas.  It isn’t perfect, it would not be all that it is if it were, but only then can I reflect the true joy of this my Christmas.  So close your eyes and hold your breath allow the wonderment in, and even if only for a heartbeat let the possibility of belief roll through you as you hit the switch.  Let me watch you from my perch as you take in the spirit of the season for it is that glow which keeps me warm the whole year through till you hang me high again.

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