I got your nice long letter yesterday. One of my helpers handed it to me just as I left the big toy barn.
I am truly sorry to say, I do not have any reindeer that are ready to retire, Markie. I know how much you have wanted one of your very own. Let me tell you something about deer, Markie. They love peace and quiet, and are unhappy anywhere but deep in the woods. They need to be free. It would be very selfish to keep any wild animal fenced up so that you could look at them whenever you wanted to.
But you can keep an eye on the apples that fall from the trees near the edge of your woods. I think one day a deer might appear there in the early morning or late afternoon. And you could watch it eat, and see it return to the woods in great, beautiful leaps. Believe me, it would be wonderful for you to watch.
I never cage up any of my reindeer. They roam free, and return to me before Christmas. They keep themselves in very fine shape for the Christmas run. They practice take-offs and landings, just like your mom does at the Concord Airpark
All of my reindeer are a little different from each other. Donder and Blitzen are the friskiest, liveliest, most joyful of all. They ride in back of my team right in front of the sleigh. I used to hitch them to the very front, but they were so fast, the other reindeer could hardly keep up. Then they would be so tired after the toys were delivered that sometimes I was afraid they wouldn't be able to finish the trip back home. And the rascally Donder and Blitzen also kept flying off course and pulling us into all kinds of trouble.
Then one of my elves came to me and said, 'Santa, Donder and Blitzen are very high-spirited, and it makes us all happy to fly with them. But Dasher and Dancer are older and wiser. They should be the ones to lead us. They will not run your sleigh into dangerous places, because they have seen the things that can happen. They will fly fast, but not so fast the other deer will get tired before we have delivered the toys.'
What a fine idea! With Donder and Blitzen right in front of the sleigh so close to me, I was able to soak up their energy, and I never again fell asleep at the reins anymore. They make me feel quite young.
I appreciate your advice on good landing spots, Markie. I usually touch down where you said, in the backyard at the edge of your grandpa's back porch next door to your house. Quietly, quietly... I do not make a sound when I land.
You asked me what my Christmas trip is like. Oh my! I love to fly! On Christmas Eve, I give my sleigh a pre-flight check. I make sure the runners are on tight, and the packages are tied down. I check my reindeer harnesses and my own extra large seat belt. I dress warmly, and give my reindeer warm oatmeal with raisins and syrup and milk. And then we hitch up!
I use a special night-time flight chart to show me the way to the houses where children live. I keep an eye peeled for planes, and I have seen quite a few. But I don't think they see me, I whoosh by so fast! Rudolph is my navigation light. My reindeer move us through the night sky so much quieter than airplanes. The only sound we make is a kind of swish, like the wind. And every now and then, I hear the reindeer click their hooves together. It is so peaceful.
When I fly over the Concord Airpark, I holler HO-HO-HO because they always leave their runway lit for me. If I have time, I shoot a few landings for fun. Your friend Adolph Luhta always checks for our tracks on his runway on Christmas morning.
I have to go back to the toy shop now, Markie. I still have a lot to do to be ready for Christmas Eve. If your mom has soloed by then, please tell her to keep the plane on the ground on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. It's just better that way!
Thanks for the apple bits you always leave for my reindeer. And remember to look for our tracks in the yard on Christmas morning!"---Love to you from Santa Claus"
He might be surprised to know that I now use it to write my own Christmas letters to Santa. I may be an older woman and a grandmother now, but I still believe in Santa. And he still believes in me!