Santa’s Map Maker

Santa's first map

Hi boys and girls. I have another story for you. Today’s story is a bit longer than past stories. Did you know Santa has a head map maker? No? How do you think he kept from getting lost? Anyway, Santa does have a head map maker, and her story is worth hearing, at least if you don’t want Santa to get lost. I know you don’t want that to happen!

Most of the time when parents give a baby a name, it is just a name. Sometimes, that name creates a destiny the baby will fulfill over the course of his or her life. For Santa’s head map maker, her name created just such a destiny. Astrid has been Santa’s map maker since she was little, little even by Elven standards. Seldom do kids here rise so quickly to such heights, but, Astrid is special.
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Why Santa and the Elves say “Ho! HO! HO!”


A few of us elves and Santa were sitting around a cosy fire warming our toes and roasting marshmallows waiting for Klem to arrive for our weekly meeting last week. Klem is always late, for everything. When he finally arrived, we shouted our customary greetings to each other, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” As we said that, Santa started to laugh. Not just a little laugh, but one of his deep belly laughs, and Santa has a deep belly from which to call one of these laughs.

Klem said “Santa, why are you laughing at me? You know I don’t try to be late, I just can’t get places on time.”

Santa responded, “Klem my friend, I’m not laughing at you. I know you try to be on time, but you have been late for everything since before you were born, which you were late for too, I should add. No, hearing everyone say ‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’ reminded me of how we came to say ‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’ as our greetings. Because all of you are so young, you don’t know the story. Well, since Klem was only a little late, we have some time for a little story.”

After everyone refilled their hot coco and got a new marshmallow to roast, Santa continued. “This story dates back to what Mrs. Claus and I were doing during one particularly hot summer day about three centuries ago. As you know, Mrs. Claus and I have a big garden and one day we were working in it using garden hoes to get rid of some weeds. Mrs. Claus was busily working away, but I fell asleep on a bench in the shade under a big tree. My garden hoe leaning against the tree, also taking a nap.”

Santa with garden hoe“Santa, is that the great big garden Carmela takes care of?” Gwillym asked.“Why yes it is Gwillym. I hear the two of you spend a bit of your free time wondering around in the garden. I hope you two don’t accidently get lost in there.” Santa replied with a wink.

With this Carwyn blushed and the rest of us started laughing. Gwillym didn’t know we already know he and Carmela spend a lot of time together.

“Well, anyway,” Santa continued “I was about an hour into my second nap when Mrs. Claus started shaking me. When I woke up a little, she handed me my garden hoe, and, looking at me straight in the eye, she stated ‘Hoe! Hoe! Hoe!’ in unmistakable terms. I think she was suggesting that I should help her to hoe the weeds in the garden. This was only fair since I ate a lot of what came out of that garden. Anyway, at the very moment Mrs. Claus was calling out ‘Hoe! Hoe! Hoe!’ to me, a number of elves were passing by, and they thought that Mrs. Claus was calling out ‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’ to them as a greeting. Ever since that scolding Mrs. Claus gave me, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” spread throughout the North Pole, and now all of us use it as our greeting.”

“Santa, is that really why we say ‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’ to greet each other?” Heilyn asked.

“Of course it is. Would I ever tell you a tall tale? Especially one so easy to check with Mrs. Claus about.” Santa replied with a little smirk on his face.

“Sebastian, enough of my stories, what is first on the agenda this week?”

How "Merry Christmas" is Said Around the World

If you click on the map above it can be made bigger so it is easier to see. You can click and drag to see a different area and zoom in and out. If you click on an icon you will be given the country name and how they say “Merry Christmas.” The color of the icon generally shows countries that say Merry Christmas the same. That is true except for the square turquoise icon that shows countries with their own saying.

Hi Kids. Aloysius has let me show you another map he has been working on for Santa’s big trip. As you know, Santa visits kids all around the world and who speak many languages. So Santa can celebrate with all of the kids he has learned how “Merry Christmas” is said in different languages.

The map and table also come in handy when Santa is undercover. Sometimes, Santa likes to walk around a town dressed in a different suit than his typical red suit. There is a rumor Santa even likes to wear shorts if it is warm. He likes to see what people are up to and how they celebrate Christmas. Knowing a bit of the local language helps Santa walk around without being noticed.

Are any of you traveling to another area for Christmas or do any of your friends say something different than you? If so, maybe this map and table will help you too. Keep spreading Christmas Cheer!

I hope I didn’t make many mistakes or forget anywhere. How many different ways can you remember? You can also see how language is shared between people of both different and similar cultures.

Click this link to see the list – it is very long

Reindeer Training Program

As you kids know, Santa’s reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh all around the world on Christmas Eve. That is more difficult than you could ever imagine. Santa and his reindeer visit every country and stop at every house with kids. And remember, Santa’s sleigh is very heavy – it is filled with toys and presents to put under every tree and goodies to put in all of the Christmas stockings hanging inside of every house.


Keeping Santa’s reindeer healthy and fit for their important job on Christmas Eve is my responsibility now. I thought I would give you the inside story about how Santa put me in charge of Santa’s reindeer and how I keep them healthy and fit.

Many, many, many years ago, Santa came to me and said: “Sebastian, I would like for you to look after my reindeer to make sure that they are ready to complete our entire trip on Christmas Eve.” This happened after a year when a few of the reindeer – I won’t mention names here, but you know who you are – were so out of shape they almost couldn’t pull the sleigh to kids’ houses in the last few countries. Santa almost couldn’t finish Coach Santahis trip. Luckily, a nice and smart little boy and girl left magical reindeer food out for the reindeer. This boost of energy revived the weary reindeer and Santa could finish his big trip. I bet you can guess who got a few extra presents under their tree that year.

Ever since then, Santa sends magical reindeer food to a few kids around the world to put outside their houses to keep his reindeer happy and full of energy. Other kids frequently put out carrots for the reindeer. Reindeer love carrots. After all, Santa gets lot of cookies and milk or hot cocoa to keep him full of energy, so why shouldn’t his trusted reindeer get a few treats too?

It was clear that we needed to do something to make absolutely, positively, super duper sure that this problem never happened again. Because there are more and more kids every year and they live farther and farther away, we wanted to make sure the reindeer had the energy and stamina to visit every kid around the whole world. So, Santa and I agreed to do whatever was necessary to make sure that his reindeer were healthy and in great condition for Christmas Eve.

We started out by making sure that Santa’s reindeer were eating the right foods. We make sure the reindeer have healthy hay and grass growing in the lush meadows in the high mountain valleys that are close to the North Pole. We also started a garden just for the reindeer that grows vegetables like snow peas and winter squash.

We also started an exercise and conditioning program. This program goes all year long to help build up the reindeers’ strength and stamina. Every year we start this program the month following Christmas. At first every reindeer spends one hour per day pulling Santa’s small sleigh all by themselves. Each week we add additional toys and presents to the sleigh. This goes on until each reindeer can pull 100 toys and presents in Santa’s small sleigh for a few hours without getting overly tired.

After the reindeer have strengthened their muscles, we start working with them in teams of two reindeer at a time, and then four at a time, and then all of the way up to the full team. This helps get the reindeer used to talking with one another, and cooperating and working together. This is a very important for Santa’s reindeer – and for all kids to learn as well.

This daily exercising and conditioning goes on right up until two weeks before Christmas. Then all of the reindeer get a little time off to rest and get ready for their big trip with Santa on Christmas Eve. Santa’s reindeer have been able to make the entire trip on Christmas Eve ever since we started this program. That makes all of the kids happy, and happy kids make Santa happy.

We’re getting close to the Big Day! I know you can feel the energy and excitement. I know I can. I watch the Christmas Spirit Meter and I can see your excitement build over time. I know Santa’s sleigh is going to fly high and fast this year. Keep helping out and spreading Christmas Cheer!!!

Santa’s First Sleigh

Santa's First Sleigh

Hi Kids! Can you feel the excitement? It’s like there’s electricity in the air. I sure hope that electrical feeling isn’t from that loose wire I saw on the tree last night. I have been able to watch the Christmas Spirit Meter get ever closer to 100%. I know with your help we can get it up high enough for Santa’s sleigh to fly. Thinking of Santa’s sleigh, I think I’ll share a story with you about the very first sleigh Santa had designed. The winning design is shown above.

Santa used an old sleigh he had around the barn when Great Gram MaMa Tatiana first started working with him. That sleigh worked fine at first. But then, as the number of kids grew, and Santa’s big trip became longer and longer, it was decided that Santa needed a new sleigh. A sleigh that could handle the long trip without breaking down. Santa also had to be able to spend the long bumpy ride comfortably with all the toys.

Bike SledSanta decided that instead of taking his time to try to design a sleigh, which he had never done, he would ask for designs from noteworthy designers. Santa told each of them that the sleigh had to be tough. It had to be comfortable and easy to handle while having a large capacity to carry things. We know he meant toys, but he didn’t tell anyone else that at the time. The sleigh had to be able to handle any sort of terrain, from sandy beach houses with thatched roofs to ice covered igloos. He didn’t tell anyone how the sleigh would be pulled. He was keeping that he was working with reindeer a secret. He also didn’t tell anyone the sleigh would be flying, because no one had seen a flying sleigh before.

Axel was one of the first designers Santa spoke with. Santa and Axel were friends from the North Pole Bike Club (NPBC), which Axel was in charge of then. Few people outside the North Pole know, but Santa loves to ride his bike in the summer. Bike riding is one of the activities Santa does to stay in shape so he can make his big trip. The NPBC’s motto is “Riding the Tundra since before Time.” Axel’s design really didn’t pay any attention to Santa’s request or incorporate any of Santa’s needs. But, Axel wanted to keep riding his bike during the long, cold winter, through the snow and over the ice. His design is basically a bike with spikes on the rear tire and runners to glide over the snow.

North Pole Bike Club LogoSanta reviewed Axel’s design an laughed. Because Axel and Santa were friends, Santa decided to play a joke on Axel. The following Christmas Eve during Santa’s big trip, Santa left a big lump of coal in Axel’s stocking hanging by the fire to dry. Santa knew Axel would hate for his clean stocking to become dirty again, forcing Axel to wash all the coal dust out of it. Ever since that night, Santa leaves a lump or two of coal in naughty kid’s stocking to let them know they were particularly naughty that year. I sure hope none of you have been naughty.

Wheeled SleighSanta also spoke with John. John was an interesting character back then. He really wanted a sleigh that could go anywhere, anytime. He was really an adventurer at heart. John thought Santa’s request was the perfect opportunity to finally design his all-terrain sleigh. John added not only runners to the sleigh to glide over snow and ice, but wheels too for on hard surfaces. After a few test trials it was decided that, although the design was interesting, the wheels would get full of snow and the runners would get ruined in gravel. So, although a good attempt, John’s design was not selected.

Bob SledLots of other designs were also submitted. William designed a super-fast bob sled. Although this sled would have helped Santa go even faster, it was neither very comfortable not could it carry many toys. William went on to race his design against all the locals and eventually started a new sport.  Louis designed a sleigh with a cargo area the could pivot on pins and dump cargo out. While interesting, Santa’s cargo really wasn’t that heavy, so that design was also not selected.

Self Dumping SledAfter much consideration and a few trials, Santa decided on the design Albert submitted. It was sleek and quick. There was enough room to carry the toys and for Santa to be comfortable. It was nimble and easy to handle. It was nearly perfect for the time. Santa has had many sleighs designed over the years since that first one. Santa keeps all of his old sleighs in the barn where a team of talented elves keeps them in tip-top condition. I can’t even count how many sleighs are in the barn. Santa also has fancy and very decorated sleighs he uses just for parades. Maybe you have seen one of these sleighs and Santa in a parade.

We’re getting close to the night when Santa’s new sleigh will be coming to a house near you. Keep spreading Christmas Cheer!

How Elves came to be Santa’s Toy Makers

Great Gram MaMa Tatiana and Santa

Once upon a time, a long, long, long, long time ago, Santa was just starting out on his life-long dream to make kids around the world happy by giving them presents and goodies on Christmas. Santa knew he would need lots of help. He began working on all of the pieces needed to make his dream come true. It took a number of years and few mistakes, but after all of this, Santa had talked with people from all around the world about how best to proceed.

I found the original Help Wanted ad from all those years ago as I was looking through some boxes a few weeks ago for Christmas decorations. I thought you might like to see the ad Great Gram MaMa answered way back then.

North Pole Help WantedA while before Santa was to begin, he realized he needed a toy maker. Not just any toymaker would do. This toy maker had to be able to make every kind of toy there was, and then some. The person to be hired also had to have nimble fingers, a jolly attitude, and love snow. Santa decided to place a help wanted ad in the local paper, The North Pole Times. That ad proved lucky for my family. You see, my great, great, great, great grandmother, Tatiana, was one of those who applied. Great Gram MaMa Tatiana, as we refer to her, was only a beginner toy maker, but she loved kids, and cookies and hot cocoa, and playing in the snow. Santa knew she was exactly who he was looking for so he brought her on-board.

Great Gram MaMa Tatiana turned out to be a natural. She was one of those rare elves who understood not only how to make toys, but knew, just knew, what each kid would want and how to make them happy. As there came to be more and more kids, Santa and Great Gram MaMa needed help. She and Santa were making so many toys they didn’t have time to play. That simply wouldn’t do. There were snowelves to be made, hills to sled down and snowball fights to be had.

Great Gram MaMa had been spending so much time with Santa and making toys she didn’t know a lot of other people or elves. Great Gram MaMa decided to talk to many of her relatives about how great it was working with Santa and asked them if they wanted to help. Over time, most of the northern Elven clan came to work with Santa and Great Gram MaMa Tatiana. Elves are naturally so good at making toys and knowing what makes kids happy, that Santa has never considered anyone else to help him. The rest, as they say, is history.

I have stories on the design of Santa’s sleigh and how reindeer became involved, but those are stories for another day. Until then, keep spreading Christmas Cheer!

Santa Claus’s Name Around the World

If you click on the map above it can be made bigger so it is easier to see. You can click and drag to see a different area and zoom in and out. If you click on an icon you will be shown the country name and that country’s name for “Santa Claus.”

Hi Kids. I asked Aloysius, our Head Map Maker, to prepare a map for you. This map shows the name kids around the world use for Santa. Many of the names mean the same thing, usually either Santa Claus or Father Christmas, but are said in their language. Do you have any friends who refer to Santa by another name? Don’t worry, no matter what name kids use, the letters all get to Santa.
Click Here for the Complete List

How Santa Knows

Santa and Friend at Secret Meeting
Every year a few kids say to themselves “Santa can’t really know what I’m doing all the time” so they misbehave. When there is no quick indication Santa saw what they did, they misbehave again. Those are usually the kids that end up on the Naughty List. I know none of you would ever do that.

What these kids don’t know is that Santa has a vast Network of Friends checking on kids to decide whether to put them on the Naughty or Nice List. This is one of the most secret of secrets here at Santa’s Workshop. Please, please, don’t tell anyone, especially Santa, that I just told you Santa has a Network of Friends checking on kids around the world. If Santa ever found out I told you . . , well, let’s just say it’s not a good thing when a trusted elf ends up on the Naughty List. Yowsers!

It all started one quiet evening centuries ago when Santa invited some close friends to sample a fine vintage of hot cocoa and talk about how best to keep on eye on kids. One of the ideas was to have the reindeer do some of the checking on kids. That idea was discussed for a long time. Then someone mentioned that everyone knows Santa has reindeer, so that idea wouldn’t work. But then Donner, one of Santa’s most trusted reindeer friends, mentioned his elk cousin Lizbeth constantly looked at everything she saw and wrote it down in a little book. She is a most curious elk. Because no one was aware that Santa knew any elk, it was decided to try the elk out.

This worked very well for the first few hundred years. The elk and Santa developed ways to pass information along to each other and how to keep an eye on kids without being noticed.  Santa eventually decided he needed to expand his Network of Friends. More Friends were needed because elk only live in certain areas and kids live all over. Lizbeth talked to Viktor, one of her deer cousins whom she spent vacations by the lake with, about keeping an eye on kids where he and other deer live. The group soon asked the rabbits and squirrels and birds to keep an eye on kids all over the world.

Today, Santa’s Network of Friends is huge. The Friends constantly watch kids’ behavior and report back to Santa. While not every elk, or deer, or rabbit, or squirrel, or bird is watching over kids, you never know who is . . .  or is not. If you find you are being visited more often by any elk or deer, or if the squirrels or birds are visiting your yard more often, it might mean Santa is making one last check on how you are behaving. I would be extra good if I were you.

Remember, please don’t tell anyone I told you about how Santa keeps his eye on kids all over the world. As I said, this is one of the most secret of secrets up here at Santa’s Workshop. I’m telling you because you are one of Santa’s Special Kids and I want you to stay on the Nice List. Now, I have to go see if any of the Friends are in my backyard watching.

Questions Santa has Received

Having been Santa’s long-time Chief-of-Elferation, Bernard and Santa have had a lot of conversations about all kinds of topics. Over the centuries Bernard has asked Santa a few questions. Here are a few questions and answers that I, Bernard, think you will find interesting.

How do my Reindeer fly and pull my sleigh full of presents up into the sky? You see, I experimented with this for many years and finally the Elves and I came up with just the right formula. All year long we feed the Reindeer special hay and alfalfa that is grown in lush meadows high in the mountains. It is very nutritious and builds up the Reindeers strength. Then, three weeks before Christmas Eve we change their feed to a special blend of beans. By the time Christmas Eve arrives, they are jumping and flying all over the place.

Why is Santa’s suit red? Many, many years ago I used to wear a white suit. You may have seen some old pictures of me in my white suit. But a number of years back Mrs. Claus declared that every Thursday night up here at the North Pole would be spaghetti dinner night for the Elves and me. Well, so much red spaghetti sauce would get splashed onto my white suit – the Elves like to put one end of the spaghetti noodle in their mouths and suck it in it in until all of it is in their mouths – that Mrs. Claus asked me to start wearing my red suit. My red suit had been my working suit, the suit that I wore when I was painting toys. Now, I just wear my red suit all of the time and I love it.

Why does Rudolph’s nose glow? Im not sure, but can only imagine what happened here. As I mentioned before, for most of the year my Reindeer eat special hay and alfalfa that is grown in lush meadows high in the mountains. Then, one year there was a shortage, and we were forced to use some hay and alfalfa that came from a field next to some kind of a power generating plant with big silos. After eating this hay and alfalfa, all of a sudden Rudolph’s nose started to glow. On the many dark and stormy Christmas Eves that we have, I’m sure thankful that Rudolph’s glowing nose lights the way for my Reindeer to find your house.

Why do the Elves say Ho! Ho! Ho! ? The Elves started saying Ho! Ho! Ho! during one warm summer about 100 years ago. Mrs. Clause was out working in our garden, hoeing the weeds between our carrot plants. I was snoozing close-by on a bench, carefully watching the situation. Some of the Elves came walking by, saw Mrs. Clause hoeing, and called out Hoe! Hoe! Hoe! to try to encourage her to keep up the good work she was doing. Over the years this friendly greeting just got shortened to Ho! Ho! Ho!, and now the Elves say it all of the time.

Welcome to North Pole News

Hi Santa’s Special Kids!

This is Bernard, I’ve been Santa’s main helper up here at the North Pole but I am now trying to retire. My son, Sebastian, and I are helping Santa prepare this special edition of the North Pole News. It will be filled with secret inside news and information designed to keep you, Santa’s Special Kids, up to date and fully informed about all that is happening at the North Pole.

We’ll be posting special updates and activities up until Christmas. To see what is all here click through the site – read the news, work the puzzles, color the drawings, sing the Christmas songs. Just enjoy yourself (and maybe eat a few cookies to get into the Christmas spirit, you can tell your mom or dad you are taste testing them for Santa).

Remember, none of the other kids will know this secret inside news and information, so don’t be shocked by the surprised look on their faces when you tell them what is really happening.

You can contact us (always with your parents’ permission) if you click on the “WELCOME” page above and fill-out the form.

We’re so excited to be doing this and sharing a few secrets and fun activities with you!

Bernard and Sebastian
Ho! Ho! Ho!