Skip the cookies, kids, he’s partial to apple pie; oh, and write to elvesPublished 9:30am Friday, December 4, 2009
By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News
Rip the bow off holiday hype and Santa Claus is just a regular guy.
He’s sick of cookies (prefers apple pie), behind in his mail, not beneath using his clout to plug particular products (John Deere tractors), plays favorites (Vixen is top reindeer; he showed off her antler in Dowagiac Thursday), travels by red car while his reindeer rest up and leaves toy production to 67 elves.
No apparent outsourcing at the North Pole. Not only does Santa employ 67 elves, they are highly specialized, just as Claus can casually converse about the physics of six-sided snowflakes.
“Santa brought snow for you,” he says, explaining that the BBs beating the playground iced up falling through warmer air or rain. Only if they were pure ice they would they be hail.
“But if you look at that BB carefully, you’ll see the shape of the snowflake inside,” Santa said.
Plates lack pointed arms, and if the star shapes thicken they become columns.
Wind can snap points off arms, creating powder. For more on snowflakes, check out the Web site SnowCrystals.com.
Thursday, Dec. 10, Justus Gage Elementary School will be visited by reindeer.
Here is what each elf does: Sara, makes Brat dolls; Scott, builds rocking chairs; Sue Ann, weaves baskets; Gary, builds fishing poles; Kyle, makes tennis rackets, Henry, makes sleds; Issie, makes ice skates; Katie, stuffs Teddy bears; Grayson, carves hockey sticks; Neal, makes basketballs; Louis, makes footballs; yes, Virginia, you weave socks; Cameron, blows glass Christmas ornaments; Ed, carves boats; Bruce, makes firetrucks; Mike, cuts puzzles; Maeve, weaves jump ropes; Jason, puts together Jack-in-the boxes; Lewis, stuffs toy animals; Spence, sews shirts; Rex, makes toy soldiers; and Ginger – who else? – makes gingerbread houses.
Also: Walter, bends wood and makes toboggans; Paul, makes toy tractors; Francis, makes toy whistles; Ann, sews mittens; Brian, carves wooden trains; Lothar, makes metal train sets; Carolyn, sews doll dresses and clothes; Peter, makes peppermint candy canes; Brett, feeds and takes care of reindeer; Susan, bakes Christmas brownies; Wendel, makes and maintains reindeer harness; Raymond, paints toy soldiers; Lila, knits sweaters; Cara, sews aprons; Patricia, boxes games; Jennifer, supplies wrapping paper; Jeff, wraps gifts; Barbara, makes hot chocolate; Sylvia, prints Christmas cards; Tracy, makes ribbon; Chuck, carves walking sticks and canes; Kathy, bakes and decorates Christmas cookies; Ken, carves toy horses; Rick, carves baseball bats; Dennis, makes toy cars; Rod, makes toy trucks; Stewart, sews neck ties; and Jan, makes fiddles, guitars and banjos.
And: Carl, packs fruit; Alice, bakes fudge; Tony, builds bird feeders; Lester, makes Christmas lights; Manny, folds ribbon into bows for gift boxes; Jay, makes roller skates and roller blades; Pierce, makes transformers; Carla, makes Barbie dolls; Virgil, boxes Barbie dolls; Garren, assembles bicycles and tricycles; another Ginger, makes American Girl dolls; Connie, makes Bakugan Battle Brawlers (action-figure warriors tucked into spheres that pop open when they’re rolled onto a game card); Felix, puts together laptop computers; Horst, invents video games; Otto, packages iPods; Hertha, knits scarves; and Gerald, makes scooters.
Santa skipped a pop quiz, but he did give Justus Gage students a homework assignment to write to his elves.
He also took students’ questions. Here’s a sample:
Why does Rudolph’s nose glow?
A. “That’s an interesting question. Santa truly doesn’t know, but lightning bugs have a luminescent chemical that becomes bright when it mixes with the air. That’s the only thing I can think of.”
Which reindeer is your favorite?
A. Vixen, maybe because she think’s I’m her dad. She follows me around like a puppy.”
Are you afraid Rudolph’s red nose will wake up a family?
A. “I have kind of a GPS clock that tells me when kids aren’t sleeping. I have to sprinkle dust.”
How many reindeer pull your sleigh?
A. “Eight, but I have over 30 in the stable.”
What do reindeer like to eat?
A. “Hay and grain, like cows, goats and horses. What they like to eat is apples and carrots.”
What do you like to eat?
A. “My favorite thing to eat is apple pie.”
How old are you?
“They asked me that this morning, too. I’m not going to tell you.”
Have you ever been caught by a dog?
“The same potion that makes kids sleep makes dogs sleep, too.”