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 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!