Dear Elf Ernest, I teach first grade in Cheyenne, Wyoming and I am going to have my students come up with questions for Santa. I was wondering if you would answer the questions for us.
Dear Mrs. Hall,
Of course! That's my job. Your questions and answers are provided below.
How does Santa get down the chimney?
One inch at a time.
Santa Claus is a big man. Many chimneys are very small. So I get asked this question a great deal.
The thing to remember about Santa is that he can do many things that people just don't think is possible. For example, here at the North Pole there is no faster runner than Santa. Now, who could believe that? Santa's a big, big man. He's not too tall but he is a little wide. Guys built like that aren't supposed to be fast. But he is. So we've learned never to doubt what he can do.
But Santa is also a reasonable man. If he comes to a house and he sees a chimney that is just too small, he will go in through the door or even through a window. When a house doesn't even have a chimney that is what he does too.
Remember: the main reason that Santa goes down a chimney at all is because it is fast. The lands on the roof and the closest way to get into the house from a roof is through the chimney. Also, that's the closest place to the stockings.
When you think about how Santa does things is it a good idea to think why, too. Many times Santa does things simply because it is faster. After all, there are a lot of kids to visit each Christmas and being quick is important to Santa so that he can visit them all.
How do elves make toys?
Every elf was once a kid. And that is a very important thing to remember. To make a good toy, you have to know how to play. And kids play a lot.
The most important skill you have to have as an elf is the same skill we all have as kids - we know how to pretend. Did you know that is a skill? Oh, yes. It is a very important skill and you should NEVER give up your imagination - no matter how old you become. The Imagination is key to doing anything well.
And that's why there are so many more great toys today than there was in days of old. A toy was once just a thought in someone's mind. (Usually an elf, by the way).
How does Santa make reindeer fly?
By asking very nicely.
Truly, that's the way it happens. Santa can't make them fly by himself, it is something that the reindeer do on their own. Now, not all types of reindeer can fly. But the ones Santa uses do fly and they only fly because Santa is very polite.
If you ask nicely, good things happen.
How does Santa put toys in Christmas boxes?
Santa puts toys in lots of things - boxes, stockings, bags, balloons, buckets and containers of all kinds. We usually do this in the workshop for Santa but sometimes he needs to box things up when he is in the sleigh. That is why he always has a big supply of containers with him when he travels. For example, when he visits the boys and girls in Brazil he sometimes has to put toys in Tupperware containers. You see, it rains there a good deal and he doesn't want the toys to get wet.
How does Santa fly in his sleigh?
Well, the reindeer power the sleigh. It is very, very fast. In fact, there is no vehicle on earth that is faster than Santa's sleigh. Not even the space shuttle is faster than Santa.
Actually, the sleigh can go much faster than Santa actually flies it. Reindeer love to go fast. Santa usually finds that he has to slow them down or else they get too tired too quickly and can't make it around the world in one night. Also, when reindeer fly fast they use a lot of energy and that is why it is always a good idea to keep a little reindeer feed out for the reindeer on Christmas Eve. They love carrots.
How can Santa be magic?
Santa can do a lot of things but you must understand, girls and boys, that Santa is just a man. He knows a lot and he is very old. But he is not a wizard or a magician. He is just a man.
A kind man. A very good man. A man who just wants people to be happy and nice with each other. He works hard every day of the year but one day of the year he tries to have a little fun with kids of the world by bringing them goodies. Many kids want to know how he does this and for him the great fun is not letting them in on the secret of how he does it all.
But I will tell you this: he has a lot of help. Yep, it's true. Santa has millions of elves all over the world who help him do his job. Think about it. How can Santa know where your house is? (An elf tells him). How does he know what you want if you don't tell him? (An elf tells him). How does he sneak into your house when you are sleeping without anyone hearing him? (An elf helps him).
Think about it. How much magic does Santa have or need when he has elves EVERYWHERE helping him? Look around you. An elf can be anybody. They can be short or tall. They can be a boy or a girl, an adult or a kid. Anyone can be an elf. Maybe even your teacher is an elf. I don't know and I can't tell you. You see, elves are sworn to secrecy. They can't tell they are elves. To do good, like elves do, you have to be willing to do it without anyone knowing that you're an elf. That way you'll always have happy surprises. So be nice to everyone. Because you never know if you're talking to an elf.
What do elves eat?
Elves love food -- all kinds of foods. At this time of year, we like sugar cookies and candy canes. But we like all types of food. We eat a lot of fish. We love, love, love peas. And salad is a real delicacy for us because up here at the North Pole the weather is so bad we can't grow our own vegetables. So we love salad and fruits of all kinds.
I guess you can say that we eat the same foods you do.
How does Santa bring presents?
In days of old when folks didn't understand Santa he brought gifts late and night and put them in stockings. People then just didn't get it. They didn't understand someone who would give them a gift for absolutely nothing in return.
Of course, now we understand Santa Claus. We know that he gives us things just to make us happy and to teach us to give freely to others so that we can all be happy. So Santa doesn't need to hide his presents when he brings them. Once a year he brings them himself. And other times of the year he works with other people to bring presents.
Think about it. The Salvation Army, for example, gives clothes to people who don't have them or can't get them. They work for Santa! The Red Cross works for Santa. The Boy Scouts - friends with Santa too. Oh, Santa gives and gives and gives. That's his job and he loves it.
Why does Santa go only in the snow?
Santa doesn't go only in the snow. Oh yes, he lives at the North Pole where there is a lot of snow (especially this year). But he will travel to places all over the world. In fact, most of the world does not have snow on Christmas. Santa will land the sleigh on the sand dunes of Saudi Arabia, in the jungles of Cuba, on the mountain tops of Peru, in the lagoons of Hawaii and even on the faraway beaches of Australia. Santa goes everywhere.
How does Santa and the reindeer know if the kids are asleep?
I'd like to say magic but to tell the truth it is really just good science.
Remember that Santa lives at the North Pole. If you think about it, it is a very strategic location. After all, everywhere is south to Santa. He lives at the top of the world.
And from that vantage-point he can see far more than the rest of the folks living in the world. Take a good look at a globe some time. When you look at New York and San Francisco you can see that they are far apart. When it is noon in San Francisco, it is 3 o'clock in New York. But when it is noon in San Francisco, what time is it at the North Pole?
Tough question, isn't it? Time works different for Santa, you see. And so do a lot of other things.
Because Santa lives at the top of the world he can see many things. Knowing when you are awake and when you are asleep is really easy for him.
How old is Santa?
As Santa likes to say, he is as old as his tongue and a little bit older than his teeth!
Truthfully, it is safe to say that Santa is very old. His legend is more than 500 years old now. He was a Bishop in Turkey long, long ago when his love of giving gifts to children secretly was discovered.
But is actual age is unknown. And like many people who are elderly, Santa doesn't care to talk about it.
How does Santa go to Washington when it is far away?
Santa travels the whole world. When you have reindeer that can fly faster than the speed of sound, going a distance like Washington isn't that difficult.
When did Santa grow up?
Santa grew up long before cars and television and computers. He grew up with a Mom and a Dad and was raised around a lot of animals on a farm. In fact, he tended horses for his father and that is how he came to be so knowledgeable about animals.
Santa doesn't talk much about his growing up years. But we know he was very happy because he does talk a good deal about his mother. He has always said that if you can't make your mother happy you won't make anyone happy. He is a big believer in doing as Moms say.
How does Santa go in the house to put toys under the Christmas tree?
Lots of folks know about Santa and chimneys. And most of the time that is Santa's favorite way of getting into a house.
But since not every house has a chimney, he will go through windows or doors. It just depends on what is fastest.
If you watch a lot of Christmas movies you might see scenes where Santa shrinks in size to get into a house. That is simply not true. Santa does not get smaller or grow larger. He stays the same all the time.
How does Santa know what the kids want?
Again, no magic here. Santa knows what kids want because they tell him. Kids write letters. They visit with Santa at the mall. And the first thing he is usually asks is "What would you like for Christmas?"
If a kid won't say, Santa will ask a Mom or a Dad. Or a friend or other family member may be asked to inform Santa. Sometimes, Santa will just have to guess. He will look over your room, talk with people that know you and he'll figure out what to give you based upon that information. Santa tries very hard to give presents that kids want and that would be good for them to have.
Does Santa like cookies?
Santa LOVES cookies. He loves all kinds of cookies but his favorite cookies are the ones made at home. He can eat store bought cookies but he really likes the ones that kids make on Christmas Eve at home with their families. He says he can taste the love in those cookies far better than anything you can buy at a store.
How does Santa go around the world and not go to the bathroom?
Who says Santa doesn't stop to go potty? He stops all the time. In fact, if you ever notice your mom or dad cleaning the bathroom on Christmas Eve before you go to bed it is because they are worried that Santa might need to make a pit stop.
But to tell the truth, it is the reindeer who need to take frequent potty breaks when they go around the world. But we don't need to get into how all that happens.
How does Santa go around the world in one night?
As I've told you previously, Santa has very fast reindeer and he lives in a very strategic location. That makes visiting the world in one night a simple thing to do.
He has some things he uses to make himself go faster. But he won't tell anyone exactly how he does it. He says that it has nothing to do with magic. He is afraid that if anyone bad learned how to go so fast they might want to use that knowledge to do bad things. So he keeps the secret to himself.
How do the elves make clothes?
Elves love clothes. Not only do they make them but they love to wear them and to show off in them. That is why Halloween is such a big deal at the North Pole. It is a dress-up event and elves love to dress up.
You may be asking this because you get a lot of socks and underwear for Christmas each year. And yes, it is true, elves do make them. They may not be as fun as toys to you but they are things that you need. And the elves love to be useful, so that's why you get them.
Where does Santa shop?
Believe it or not, Santa doesn't shop a lot. He goes to stores and he watches kids play with toys. He learns what they like. And he studies what is popular. But he rarely buys anything. He leaves the real shopping to Mrs. Claus because she is very, very good at it. He's content to just drive the sleigh, poke around while Mrs. Claus shops and help her load whatever she buys into the sleigh.
But remember: Santa is an elf. And as an elf he loves to make things. So if he sees something in a store he likes he will go home to the workshop and make it himself. And most of the time what he makes is much better than what is in a store. That's just the way Santa is - a high quality guy.
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