The Littlest Santa Claus

When I was a little girl I firmly believed in Santa Claus, or “Julenissen “ as we call him in Norway. But being a very informed and sensible child with a strong sense of logic, I did not buy into the idea of one man delivering presents to all the children of the world in one night, and in a sleigh pulled by reindeer? No, that was definitely NOT plausible. Besides, most of my presents came from my parents and family, and I also knew for a fact that many kids did not receive gifts for Christmas. Our neighbors were Jehova’s Witnesses, and those children certainly did not get any presents. So how could I believe in Santa then? Well, I had heard the legend of Saint Nicholas who gave presents to all the poor children and how his spirit inspired the idea of Santa Claus. I also knew about the Scandinavian Nisse, the little gnome who lived on farms and demanded porridge every Christmas Eve, otherwise he would not help take care of the animals and the farm and would rather make a ruckus of everything. So I decided that Santa Claus was a spirit, a Christmas spirit, that inspired generosity, kindness and compassion, and that anyone who became bearers of these characteristics could truthfully call themselves Santa Claus, therefore, Santa Claus existed, and anyone adopting the role with a pure heart became Santa. So that is what I did one Christmas Eve. I became Santa Claus.

I was probably about 8-9 years old and was the middle child in the flock of cousins. I had one older cousin plus my older brother and three younger cousins, and I was particularly fond of the two youngest boys who were just 3 and 5 years old. I had pleaded with my mother to let me be Santa Claus on Christmas Eve the whole month of December, and she had finally given in, saying it would be the littlest Santa anyone had ever seen. But that did not stop her from going all out buying me a red furry coat, a red top hat, fake beard and glasses ( I had never liked those horrible plastic masks). On Christmas Eve, right after dinner while the men were having coffee and cognac and the women were doing the dishes, I excused myself saying I had to use the bathroom, and snuck down in the basement where my costume was hidden. I was giggling the whole time, I was so excited to try out my long practiced North Pole accent, and to see the faces of the little kids as I asked them if they had been good that year. I stuffed my Santa suit full of pillows, tucked the beard into my red top hat and tried out my Ho! Ho! Ho! one last time before ascending the staircase with my huge old sack filled with presents. I felt…magical! In that moment I really was Santa Claus! I checked myself before firmly knocking on the living room door while asking with my deep and heavily accented voice: «Er det noen snille barn her?» Which means: Are there any good children here? As soon as I entered, the adults started chuckling quietly, and the little kids looked at me very suspiciously, but my older cousins played along and convinced the little ones that it really was Santa visiting. I handed out the presents while putting on quite the show, telling stories from the North Pole and doing my belly laugh every time someone accepted a present. When my sack was empty I wished them all a very merry Christmas and told them I had to get back to my reindeer waiting in the forest (I knew the little kids would check the roof through the ceiling window if I said they were on the roof) before I hunched down under the weight of my five pillows and exited the living room, waving and Ho! Ho! Ho’ing! the whole time. I climbed down the stairs and headed out in the snow through the front door while chiming a cow bell my mother had given me. The kids were watching me through the window as I disappeared into the dark snowy forest. I am not sure the grown-ups were quite aware of this part of the performance, but they didn’t stop me. I waited five minutes before I headed back to the house. As soon as I came into the living room I exclaimed disappointedly: Has Santa already been here? The small boys nodded and handed me my present from Santa. “oh, darn,” I said “Typical I had to go to the bathroom and miss the whole thing!” I heard lot of subdued laughter from the adults, but they all played along telling me I had missed a great show! I smiled to myself and thought happily: I knew it, anyone can be Santa Claus, even a quite small girl with fake beard and five pillows stuffed under her sweater!

* The beautiful artwork above is done by the magical Lisi Martin.

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The Year Without a Santa Claus

“The Year Without a Santa Claus” is a 1974 American stop motion “puppet” film produced by the legendary duo Rankin & Bass. The film is based on the children’s book by the same name written by Phyllis McGinley and illustrated by Kurt Werth.

This film has that old-time American charm which I just love! It is made in a time when filmmaking was not only about people pleasing and money making, but rather about creativity, art and a desire to bring something of real value to the world. I love the artistry in these old stop motion movies, like how beautifully the puppets are made, how the colors are true to the 1950s fashion ( The book was published in 1956) and the whimsical design of the Christmas tree decorations.

The story is not super impressive, but that is not the point of this movie. The charm lies in the yesteryear’s Christmas atmosphere, the sweet songs we all know and love, and in the creativity of the homemade sceneries where you can actually recognize the different materials used to transform little trinkets into movie magic.

I, as many of you know, love everything vintage, and this movie is no exception. My favorite part of the film is towards the end when Santa Claus arrives in the little town with his sleigh and presents to the tunes of “Santa Claus is coming to town”. It can’t get more Christmassy than that! ❤️🤶🏻🎅🏼❤️.

Santa Claus

Santa Claus is a Christmas picture book by the Finnish author and illustrator Mauri Kunnas.
This beautiful book is one of those beloved treasures from my childhood. My brother and I read and reread this book to shreds when we were kids, and all of our ideas and stories about Santa came from this book.

In “Santa Claus” we hear about the life of Santa (who is of course Finnish😊)and his helpers and family who live in this magical place called Korvatunturi. We hear and see what is going on in Korvatunturi, not only during Christmas, but year around.

Korvatunturi has of course a school for the little elvin children, a beautiful workshop, a printing press, a community theatre, an orchestra, a reference library, a bakery, a sauna and a concert hall.

We also find out about the spies sent to earth to spy on the children to see if they are behaving properly 😄.

And if you think that all the presents can go on one sleigh then you are highly mistaken for Santa has of course his own private plane! 😄

I cannot praise this book enough! The story and, more importantly the illustrations, are heavenly! Full of little details to feast your eyes on! This book will make the perfect Christmas gift for a little child, or just a delicious addition to your own Christmas Library.

“Santa Claus” is one of many books Mauri Kunnas has written about Christmas and Santa Claus, and my goal is to collect them all, for when I look at these gorgeously cozy illustrations the whole magic of childhood comes flowing back into me. 😊😊😊

Christmas Story (Joulutarina)

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Christmas story (Joulutarina) is a Finnish Christmas film from 2007 telling the legend of the man we call Santa Claus. There are many films made with the same plot, but this little quiet beautiful film is very different from the rest.

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The story is about little Nikolas who become an orphan after his parents and baby sister are killed in an accident. The people in the village are poor and none of the families can afford to take Nikolas in permanently, so they decide to let him stay for a year with each family in the village. After each year is over Nikolas, on Christmas Eve, gives a gift he has made him self for the family he has stayed with. One year the village has so little food that none can afford to take Nikolas in, so he is apprenticed to the stern and gloomy carpenter who lives outside the village. Nikolas is made to work hard, but he enjoys the work and has soon warmed the cold heart of the carpenter. Nikolas continues the tradition of giving gifts to the village children, and to his surprise, the old carpenter decides to help him.

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This movie is the most esthetically beautiful film I have ever seen in my life. The gorgeous Finnish landscape is breathtaking, and consequently the elegant cinematography unfolds like a dream. The film was shot on the tundra in Utsjoki in Lapland on the border to Norway, and most of the film is showing fairy-like winter scenes. The movie is a declaration of Love to the Finnish-Sami landscape, a true, pure, natural winter wonderland.

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What I love the most about this amazing film is how uncommercial and non-materialistic it is. I feel so many of the more popular Christmas movies, especially about Santa Claus, is just one big sentimental materialistic bonanza, more about the magic of toys and presents than that of Christmas. In “Christmas Story” you will find wax candles instead of flashing LED lights, snow-clad evergreens instead of lavishly decorated Christmas trees, little wooden horses instead of store-bought robots and Legoes. The movie is not only about Christmas, it is about healing from loss, finding new meaning in giving love to gain it, it is about finding hope in unexpected places, and kindness and generosity as a cure for loneliness.

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This movie is definitely on my top five list of my all-time favorite movies.
It is not only a celebration of the Northern landscape, but also of the Nordic cultural heritage.

I will say, if you will only see one Christmas film this year, then it should be this!

I feel, even a hundred million stars is not even enough!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A visit from Santa Claus

vintage santa

Listen! Here is the chime of Santa’s bell
Dearest Santa, do you have a fairy story to tell?
Tell us of presents, tell us of toys
tell us a tale from the North Pole!

And Santa’s so sweet, he gives us a treat!
He puts up his feet, and lights his pipe,
he beckons us children to sit by his side.
And all of a sudden, we are on a sleigh ride!

Up to the clouds and into the night
passed the silver moon shining so bright.

Listen to how the stormy winds blow
freezing blue our little toes!
But Santa knows well, he wraps us in blankets
woven by elves!

Soon we reach the snowbound lands
and Santa commands: Out we go!
into his home of ice and snow!

Here are toys high and low
a teddy bear, and a doll that says hello!

Santa’s elves are working away
for all the toys must be ready for Christmas Day!

They dance and they sing,
and every little plaything
is marching happily
into the sack of the Christmas Fairy!

For do not think that Santa is alone,
no, he can’t do all that work on his own

So the Christmas fairies fly
to far and nearby
to give the children their toys
all little girls and all little boys

So next time you leave
your cookies and milk
for Santa to eat and drink
remember the fairies
who love to eat berries,
and you’ll get a special treat!
maybe a toy or something good to eat!

Now the little children have fallen asleep
and Santa tip-toes without a peep
out to his sleigh waiting in the street
and off he goes until next time we meet

With a Ho-Ho-Ho! and a Ding-Dong-Ding!
gone is Santa, sleigh and everything!