Lights, Camera, Santa Pyramid Image.

Tripp Horner
© Copyright 2000 by Tripp Horner

The bells in the tower of city hall announced it was twelve O'clock, as Jason Alexander drove past the Town Square. He had just picked up some needed equipment, from the hardware store, in order to finish a job he was doing a few miles out of town. This small town, where he grew up, seems like it had been designed from a Norman Rockwell painting. Quiet streets lined with trees where people scurry along the sidewalks going in and out of the many different stores on Main Street. There is a Bakery, a Grocery Store, a Dry Cleaners and a Hardware Store, just to name a few.

On the corner, near the Town Square there is Walker's Apothecary. Owned and operated by the towns oldest citizen. Inside Mr. Walker's drug store there is a soda fountain. Where you can find the best ice cream sodas and the best banana splits in the entire world, According to those who have sat at the counter on the swivel chairs, since his Father opened it in 1916. Back in those days the town was a resort where some very rich and powerful people from New York City, who vacationed here some Eighty years ago.

During the time of the Great Depression, a man that Jason knew when he was young drove a horse drawn carriage around town. One day John D. Rockefeller himself gave the man a shiny new silver dime. As Mister Rockefeller was famous for doing. In those days a dime went a whole lot further then they do today, and to get one from him was very special. The man was so proud of that dime he had it put away in a safe place and in later years had it mounted in a frame so he could show it to his friends when the came over to his house. Many times Jason has heard the older gentleman recount of that day.

People have come and gone threw the years, but the town has never really changed. On this bright and sunny fall afternoon, Jason's mind started to wander. He began to think how the weather seemed to be out of place with the season, waving to some friends as he drove across the railroad tracks that bordered the city limits. Driving along the country road, in his pick-up truck, Jason was thinking how much like summer it seemed to be. Thoughts of the approaching holidays and trying to come up with an idea to make some extra money were laying heavy on his mind.

He and his friend Jerry Howard were talking about how tight money was this year. They both agreed that they needed a way to make some extra money, to insure their children have a Merry Christmas. Jerry has a small office in town, where he has his accounting business. Jason worked as a carpenter. Each was married and has children. Jerry has a son, and Jason three girls and a boy. Both men have been close friends since childhood. They lived only a few houses away from each other while they were growing up. They went to the same school and shared many adventures together. Driving along he began thinking of his childhood and how different things were back then. Memories of Christmas past began to fill his mind. He remembered the things he received when he was young, like his first train set, and his first bicycle. How different the things are now, and how much more is available for his children to choose from.

 His children have already been passing subtle hints of things they want for Christmas this year. His oldest daughter would like a new stereo system, complete with a CD player. The soon to be sixteen year old daughter, wants a new wardrobe. She claims the clothes she has now are "out of style". He remembered hearing those same words from her older sister not so long ago. His son wants an assortment of video game cartridges and a computer. The youngest of the tribe has but one request. She wants everything in the department store wish book.

It made him feel sad as he compared Christmas past, to Christmas of today. He felt an empty feeling in his heart for a moment as he realized the children didn't believe in Santa Claus like they used to. With a Santa on every street corner and in every department store, it's easy to see why they get confused.

He remembered the time when Santa Claus was someone to believe. He was as real to the young as anyone could be. Now as life has been catapulted in to the space age, between outer space and cyber-space, it seems that his image and importance to people have become no more than a means of advertising. Today on the TV he is being used to sell everything from computers to hot chocolate. Christmas has become so commercialized over the years, that it's no wonder the boys and girls find it hard to believe in St. Nick. If only Santa could somehow reach out and touch the children the way he had in the past. Oh how much better Christmas would be for them.

Then it hit him! Why not have Santa visit the children in their own home on videotape. Just about everyone today has a video player. Jason turned the truck around and headed for Jerry's office. He ran upstairs threw open the door, and said, "I've got the idea of the year." He sat down and explained his idea. Jerry listened to every word, reached for a pen and started writing down notes on the project. They spent hours laying out the plans. Late that night everything was ready. The very next day they started to put the pieces together and their plan into action. They went to the town hall and registered a name for their company. Jerry went and opened a bank account, then got a mailbox at the Post Office. Jason went out to get the props, lights, and a video camera. Later that day they met at a garage lent to them by a friend. The rest of that day was spent setting things in motion. They built the backdrops. Set up the lights. Tested the camera and by nightfall they were ready to start. Only one thing remained someone to play Santa.

Early the next morning they started their search. They both knew the type of man they needed. It was so important to find the right person to play the jolly old elf. Jason went to see Mr. Johnson, who owned the local hardware store. He fit the role physically, 68 years old, short, stout, and a big belly. With a wig and beard to top it off, he could be Santa. He was a good choice and he liked their idea, but he just didn't have the time to do it. They asked Mr. Miller, Mr. Smith, Mr. Flowers, and all the other older men in town who could fit the part. They also thought it was a wonderful idea, but none of them had the time either.

 "Well, now what do we do?" said Jerry, scratching his head. "Hmm, say Ho-Ho-Ho for me." Jason said, as he looked his friend up and down. "That's not funny, wise guy. You know as well as I, that neither one of us can do it." Jerry replied with a halfhearted laugh. They sat down and tried to think of someone else who could play Santa. Little did they know someone was listening.

Outside of the window, in the shadows, there was a very short, unusually dressed man taking note of everything being said. His name was Bartholomew. Head of the S.S.E.P. ( Santa's Special Elf Patrol.) Organized by Emma Claus, Santa's wife, to help keep track of all the children in the world. As he listened he thought to himself. " What a clever idea. Santa must be told at once!" So in the twinkle of an eye he climbed atop Donder, Santa's oldest Reindeer, and off they shot up into the star lit sky. They traveled so fast that a trail of cosmic dust was left behind like the tail of a kite. Throughout the years when people would look up in the sky at night and see a shooting star, it could have possibly been Santa and the Reindeer taking their weekly exercise flight. For they each look the same to the people on the ground. Imagine a trip that would take the fastest jet hours, reduced to minutes upon the back of Santa's magical Reindeer. The flight to the Christmas Village, at the top of the world, was as fast and easy as a trip across town. A very small town at that!

The Northern lights danced over head as their destination came into view. This was the time of year that the North Pole is blanketed in darkness, but the glow from the lights above made it easy to see what lay below. The first building to come into view was the wondrous toyshop itself. The largest of all the buildings there. It is a huge, brightly painted building, surrounded by smaller buildings, each painted as bright and beautifully as the toy shop. They all looked like buildings someone would see in the French Alps. The smaller buildings were where the Elves live. As they grew closer other buildings came into view. One had a large dome on it, It is the place where the reports and records on children from all over the world are gathered and stored. Just above it, and by far the most beautiful of all the buildings, is the home of Santa and his wife Emma. It sits on a hill facing the village, so Santa can see all that goes on.

In the center of it all, stands the worlds most unique clock. It towers over all of the other buildings and is shaped like a giant Christmas tree. What makes it so special is the face of the clock. Where you see numbers on the face of a normal clock, on this you see the months of the year. At the top where the number twelve should be, written in beautiful colors, are the words, Christmas Eve. The hands on this clock only go around once every year. When both hands meet at the top, beautiful chimes ring out letting everyone know it's time for Santa to deliver his gifts to all the good children around the world. It also marks the most northern part of the globe. The true North Pole. The last structure, the one Donder has set his sights upon, are the stables where the Reindeer are kept. This is where they are fed and groomed. Here is also where their harness and Santa's sleigh are kept. When Bartholomew arrived, all of the elves were busy working. Scampering about putting together gifts, wrapping them, and loading them on the sleigh. It was only November 5th, but with the ever-growing number of children in the world, they have to start earlier each year. After putting Donder in his stall, and giving him something to eat, he ran to the workshop. "Where's Santa?" He asked.

"He's up at the big house with Mrs. Claus." Answered one of the elves. So off he ran. The big house, as it's called by the elves, is where Santa and Emma Claus live. It is located about 500 ft. past the Elves quarters. Running up the path past the displays of Christmas decorations Santa had collected over the years, till he arrived at the front door. The door was hand crafted by Master Carpenter Elves when the house was built. It stood 12 ft. high, with the faces of Santa, Mrs. Claus, the Reindeer, and the toyshop carved in it. There is no other door like it anywhere in the world. Why not, there's no other place like this anywhere else in the world. He reaches up and pulls the bell cord and the chimes ring out a happy Christmas melody. After a few moments the door slowly swings open.

 There standing in her red satin dress with her snow white apron was Mrs. Claus. " Bartholomew!, I was told you were out checking up on the children." She said in surprise" I was; while I was taking a break on the roof of a building, I over heard something that I am sure Santa would like to hear. That's why I came back. Where is he?" He asked as he walked in looking around. " He's in his study. I'll tell him you are here to see him." She then turned and walked down the long hall.

While he waited, his eyes gazed around at the display of things children sent to him, along with their Christmas lists. Some of the things they have made for Santa throughout the years there were many brightly colored pictures of Santa and his Reindeer, especially ones of Rudolf. Sometimes children would leave their lists next to the snacks for Santa to read along with notes about how good they have been. Santa enjoys so much reading the letters and seeing the drawings the children make for him. The letters he enjoys most are letters that a child writes asking for gifts for others rather than themselves. Many a time Bartholomew has seen a tear form in Santa's eye, after reading one of those letters. He loves the children so very much. Santa and Mrs. Claus have no children of their own, that's why the children around the world mean so much to him.

Over in the corner was a clay doll of Santa, made by a little girl somewhere around 1848. It is one of Santa's most beloved gifts from the children. He stops and turns when he hears footsteps coming down the hall. It was Santa coming towards him at a quick pace. "Bartholomew! Why are you back so soon? You have never come home so soon before! Is everything all right?" Santa asked in a somewhat nervous voice. "Everything's fine sir. I came across something I knew you would want to hear." The Elf replied. "Why couldn't you contact me by messenger elf?" Asked Santa. "Well Sir, I felt the information I have was important enough to tell you in person." He then told Santa what he had overheard outside Jerry's office. "...So I stayed around to see how they were doing." He said as he finished his story. " When I left they couldn't find anyone to play you." "Well, from what you tell me these two young men really believe in their idea, and in me. Let's go down to the record department and look them up." Santa said putting on his coat as they turned and walked down the hall.

The records are kept in a specially built building. It is fireproof, flood-proof, wind and weatherproof, and above all, goof-proof. It must be, for inside is the information gathered by the scout elves, on every boy and girl in the world. This is very important. For Santa who must know who's been bad or good. The elves have been gathering information since Santa delivered his first gift, so very many years ago. They entered a large room filled with books. Where about fifty elves are busily working keeping the records up to date. They receive thousands of reports every hour from the S.S.E.P., that must be filed quickly and correctly. Every second that passes a new name is added to the list. In the center of the room, at his desk, is Thadius.

He is the H.E.I.C. (Head Elf in Charge) of all records. There he sits a pencil behind each of his pointed ears, sleeves rolled up and staring at a computer monitor. He seemed to be mumbling something under his breath as Santa entered the room.

One of the younger elves convinced Mrs. Claus that using a computer would make record keeping easier for the elder elf. There he sat among a group of newly opened boxes, looking over the instruction manual through his bifocals. He was sitting attempting to use the famous Hunt and Peck method of programming. As Santa and Bartholomew grew closer he threw his hands over his head and said in a disgusted voice. " Years of keeping records on millions of children, quickly and accurately, now to be slowed down to the speed of a snail by this confounded contraption! Now what is this! A giga what? " He reached out and turned it off shaking his head. "Thadius!" Santa called out. "I need some information on two children. Two older children." He said with a laugh. "Yes Sir. What are their names and where do they live?" Asked Thadius. "Let's see, that would be Jason Alexander, and Gerald Howard, Lakewood, New Jersey. They are both in their thirties."

Before Santa finished speaking,Thadius found their names in his huge index and hollered to another elf. "Get me books numbered 124-333-2245A and 324-524-1335H down from the shelves." Moving faster than the eye can see, the books requested appeared in front of Santa. " Here you are Santa." Handing the books to him he looks to the computer and under his breath muttered. " Hurmph, modern technology."

Books in hand Santa sat down, reached into his pocket for his glasses and began to look up the names. "Now let's see." He said. turning the pages. " Jason Alexander, 39 years old. Hmm, father of 4, good husband, likes to fish, writes songs, plays guitar, and is a carpenter. Hmm." Adjusting his glasses as he read on. " He seems like a very good man." He sets the book down and reached for the other book. "Gerald Howard, Oh yes here he is. 35 years old, one child, good husband and father. He likes music, enjoys camping, and boating. Hmm, he seems to be a fine fellow too." Santa said as he laid down the books. "You know Bartholomew, I think I am going to help these young men. These past few years it seems like the children don't believe in me as they did in the past.

Maybe with my help they will get the children to believe in me the way they use to." With that Santa got up and left the room.

Back at the office Jason and Jerry were still trying to find the right man to play Santa Claus. "That really wasn't your brightest idea trying out Old Willie for the part." Jerry said to Jason. "I know he may look like Santa, but we could have never kept him sober." "I know Willie isn't the best person for the job, but let's face it. Do you know anyone with as much Christmas spirits in him." Replied Jason. They both laughed out loud. Then they heard a knock at the door. "Come in." said Jerry. The door opened and in walked a very stout bearded gentleman with a small dog on a leash. "Yes Sir, can I help you." asked Jerry. "I understand that you are looking for someone to play Santa Claus." he replied. The old man was well dressed and not very tall, yet he had a certain look about himself, kind of a special look. Hard to explain, but he made you feel comfortable when you talked to him, like a Grandfather. "Yes we are, but so far we have had no luck." Said Jerry. "Well then; I am glad for both of us. I would like to apply for the job." The gentleman said as they sat down at the desk in the center of the room.

"My name is Jerry Howard and this is my friend and partner Jason Alexander." They shook hands. The older gentleman said, " My name is Kris," stopping when he realized he couldn't give his real name. He looked around quickly and spotted a sign on the wall. It read Marty's Candy Shoppe. " Kris Candy, I was down here visiting some friends, and I heard about your idea." He said. " This is great!" Jason commented. "You look enough like Santa to be him." The old man looked at him and smiled." Tell me Kris, where do you call home?" Jerry asked. " I've got a nice little place way up north." He answered. "How long will you be here in town? Asked Jason. "I must be back home before Christmas Eve." Kris replied.

They talked about how they planned to do the tapes Hours went by like minutes. When they heard the clock bell in the Town Square telling all it was eight o'clock, they decided to call it a night. "Kris, you're our man! Where are you staying?" Jerry said smiling. " I am staying over at the Hotel, room number 431, My friends have a small house a few miles from here. So I took a room here in town, so I wouldn't impose on them." He said. "That's perfect, we'll start tomorrow." Jerry said while putting on his coat. "If that's all right with you Kris?" Buttoning his coat Kris nodded and said. "That will be just fine." They all shook hands, and said good night. Kris then picked up his little dog, which was sitting quietly the whole time and left.

Jerry and Jason said good night to each other and left for home. Both with a good feeling about Kris being Santa. The moon was full and the night air felt warm as Kris and his little dog walked to their hotel. "Why do I have to be a dog Santa? I would much rather be a parrot." The little dog spoke out in an elf like voice." Shh Bartholomew," Kris said quickly looking around. " If I were dressed like a pirate instead of a kindly old man, that would be all right. Just relax we'll be at the hotel soon, and I'll change you back to normal. Now you must keep quiet. A talking dog would be a bit hard to explain." They walked across the street to the Town Square. Past the town hall looking at all the decorations in the store windows. There were pictures of Pilgrims and Indians gathered around tables loaded with food. " Thanksgivings will soon be here, then Christmas." Kris remarked as he began to stroke the head of his disguised friend. " Santa!" Bartholomew yelped in an uncomfortable tone. " Quit that." " Oh, I am sorry. I guess I am a little homesick. It is so peaceful here." Kris said pulling his hand away quickly.

A little further down Main St. he could hear, what sounded like children singing. " Do you hear that Bartholomew? " He asked his furry companion." With these ears I can hear every off-key note." The elf replied in a somewhat disgusted tone. Kris laughed at his friend's remark and said. " It sounds to me like a church choir practicing carols to sing during the holidays."

A smile came to his face as he looked at the church where the music was coming from. " What do you think, should we go over and listen? " He asked his little sidekick. " Sure Santa, if that's what you want, it's fine with me." Bartholomew answered. Muttering under his breath still complaining about his disguise. " I'll probably wind up with fleas before too long." So off they went to listen.

The morning came and with it the beginning of another unseasonably warm day. The children were on their way to school. The shop owners were opening up for the day's business. The sky was clear and the birds were singing. It was going to be another beautiful day. Kris awoke, got out of bed and stood by the open window. He took in a deep breath and said. " I love mornings like this." He turned and looked over at the dresser on the other side of the room. There curled up in a dresser drawer was Bartholomew. Sleeping peacefully with a big smile on his face. " Wake up my little friend, it's morning." Kris called out. The little elf stretched and opened his eyes. "Can't I sleep a little longer Santa? I was having such a nice dream." He said as he pulled the blanket up over his head. " Come on now you know we have much to do." Kris said as he came over and shook the little fellow. " All right Santa, I'm up." as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes. After eating their breakfast, Kris and Bartholomew got dressed. "Well, are you ready to become a dog again." said Kris. " Not really, but go ahead." The elf closed his eyes as Kris reached into his pocket and sprinkled Crystal Elf Transforming Dust on his little friend. In an instant he became a little dog again. Looking at his paws he said, " Humph, I want to be a parrot!" Kris laughed while he put on his coat and they were off.

 Jerry was at the office when Kris arrived. Where's Jason?" Kris asked. " He's over at the garage setting up." We'll meet him there after we stop at the post office." Jerry answered. Meanwhile over at the garage Jason was busy.

He checked the camera. Tested the lights and got the tapes ready. It was about 10 o'clock when Jerry and Kris arrived. Holding a batch of envelopes over his head Jerry yelled. " Here are the first ten orders. Are we ready to go?" Jason nodded and handed Kris a red flannel shirt to put on. It was part of the costume, for they decided to film Santa talking to the children from his workshop. Everyone knows that Santa only wears his suit on Christmas Eve. Kris spotted another shirt on the rack. It was a lighter colored flannel shirt. " Could I wear that one over there? I never wear.... I mean I don't think Santa wears red flannel shirts like this around the shop." Catching himself before he gave himself away. What would he say if they asked him how he knew that? Jason handed the other shirt and Kris put it on. He then put on a pair of bright red suspenders, and a pair of boots. They were ready to begin.

 The set they built was made to look like a workshop. The walls were red brick, with a hook to hang Santa's red suit were it could be seen. In the center were a rocking chair and an end table. On the table was a globe and the books where Santa keeps the records of the children. It's a big book and everyone knows Santa always checks it twice. The script was made to match the order forms. The parents or grandparents fill out the questionnaire and send it back. Information received could be put into Santa's book, so he would know just what to say. The form asked the child's name, age, behavior, his or hers likes and dislikes. It had a section on schoolwork, If the child had any chores to do. As well as a list of toys they wanted. The more information filled in the better the tape would be. The first six tapes went perfect. Kris went through them just like he knew all about the children without having to read from the book.

Then they came to Mickey Bergan. His grandmother made the request for the tape. According to her report, little Mickey was an angel. He did nothing wrong. Kris started to read the form and stopped abruptly. He stood up with paper in hand and began to speak, in a voice louder than they were use to.

" Look at this!" He said. " This little boy is no angel! I've had to keep a close watch on him for years. He picks on children smaller than him. He bites his baby sister. He takes things that don't belong to him. He is not..."

Kris stopped when he saw Jason and Jerry staring at him. They were puzzled as to why he was acting that way. "Kris, are you all right?" Jason asked, " What's wrong?" "I'm sorry." He said. " I thought I knew this child. I guess I got caught up in the role." His face still a little flushed he said. " Could we break for lunch. I would like to go back to the hotel to rest for awhile. The excitement seems to be getting to me." Jason shut the lights off. Jerry came over to Kris, put his hand on his shoulder and asked. " Are you sure you're all right?" With a big smile Kris nodded his head and said "Oh yes, I'll be fine after I have some lunch." "I'll drive you over to your hotel. We can start again later if you feel better." Kris nodded. Jason got their coats. Kris picked up his dog and they left for the hotel.

 When they were in their room, Bartholomew changed back to an elf. Kris was sitting on a chair near the bed. " Well, I almost spilled the beans back there," He said. " These two fellows are pretty smart, you've got to be more careful." Bartholomew warned. "You're right." Kris said, " I got so upset when I read that paper. I've had you elves working double duty to keep check on that little boy for years. He's not totally bad, but he is certainly no angel." Kris laid his head back. " You just rest awhile, I'm going to check to see if they suspect anything." The elf said. Kris looked up and smiled " That's a good idea. Let me know what's going on." With that Bartholomew reached in his pocket for some lightning dust. Once he covered himself with it, he could move so fast, no one would see him. In a flash he was gone.

 He reappeared at Jerry's office. Outside the window he listened to Jason and Jerry talk. " I suppose Kris was just a little tired." Jerry said to Jason. " He'll be just fine you'll see." Jason sat down and looked out the window.

" You know, that kid Mickey goes to school with my son. He is a little terror! I wonder how Kris knew? Oh well, as for me, I believe if there was anyone who could be Santa, that man would have my vote." Jason said as he drank his coffee. " Can you believe how good he is, and the stories he comes up with." Jason continued. " I almost started laughing when he told that story about the twin elves. What names did he use? " He paused for a moment of thought. " Oh yeah, Gustave and Gustof.

I can almost see them showing Santa their gadget for shrinking toys so they could load more of them on to the sleigh. Then being asked where they would find the room on the sleigh to carry it to return them to normal size. How about when he talked of Dr. Elfenhimer. Can you imagine a doctor who's only job is removing splinters and treating indigestion from a Hot Chocolate overdose. While Jason was talking Jerry got up from his desk and went over to the bookshelf. Scanning the titles he pulled out a book and began to look through it. " Remember what Kris said about Reindeer Lichens? " He asked his friend. " Yeah, that's the stuff he said they use to make the Reindeer fly. Let's see; he said it is special gold colored lichens that grows only at the north pole and then added with barley and molasses and some special Christmas magic, it allows the Reindeer to fly. Why? "

 Looking in the book in his hand, Jerry reads. " Lichens, I thought it was spelled L-i-c-k-e-n-s, can be found in a wide variety of places. They grow very slowly and can live for a long time. Some golden colored Arctic lichens has been found dating back hundreds of years. Among the animals that feed on lichens are, sheep, goats and reindeer." Jerry closed the book and looked over at his friend. " Kris has quite a lot of knowledge about the North Pole and Santa Claus. Well; no matter, I'm just happy to have him working for us." Putting the book back on the shelf and returning to his desk. " He is quite an amazing man. I wonder if he is a retired actor? " Jerry says as he sits down at his desk. " Oh well what ever or who ever he is, he's our Santa and that's what's important."

Jason nodded his head in agreement and said. "I tell you that Kris is the perfect man for this job. We we're lucky we found him." " I believe you have it backward Jason. " Jerry replied." If you think about it. Kris found us. " Jerry shrugged his shoulders and replied. " You know your right, but no matter how it happened that man is the most perfect person for the job."

 Convinced that Santa's identity was safe. Bartholomew returned to the hotel. Kris was just finishing his lunch as he listened to his helpers report. "I feel we should get back to work." Kris said. "If I get like that again. I want you to start barking to let me know." His little friend nodded in response as they prepared to leave.

About two o'clock that afternoon Kris and his little dog arrived back at the studio. " All rested and ready for work?" Jerry asked as he met them at the door. "Yes I am." Kris replied in a cheery voice. " I am so sorry about this morning. I promise you it won't happen again." He added. Jerry smiled at him and said. " Don't worry about it. You just keep doing what you are doing and everything will be just fine. To tell you the truth, what you did has Jason believing you're the real Santa Claus." He laughed as he walked away. Santa looked down at the disguised elf and gave a reassuring wink that he to felt everything was all right.

 Jason was getting things ready for the afternoons taping. He looked down from his perch on the ladder at Kris winding his pocket watch. Jason had never seen a watch like it. He got down from the ladder and walked over to Kris and said. "That is the most unusual watch I have ever seen. Where did you get it?" Kris handed it to him and said, "It was given to me many, many, years ago. It's one of a kind there is non-other like it in the world." Jason opened it up and read the inscription inside. " A gift of time for one who takes time giving gifts." He looked at it closely.

" This must be worth a small fortune." He remarked handing it back to Kris. " Oh I suppose so." said Kris "Yet any gift given with love would really be of equal value." The rest of the days shooting went well. The idea had become a reality.

Each day they got more and more orders and shooting each video was a unique experience for them. They were amazed at the different ways families prepared for Santa's visit. The different places they would hang their stockings, the various snacks that are left for Santa and the Reindeer. Kris commented on how much he enjoys the wide variety of cookies left for him, winking at his disguised companion. The comment went unnoticed by Jason for he was to engross with his job working the camera. Day after day they continued to film the Video Visits.

One night after the days shooting was done, Kris thought it would be a fine time to check in on the other Santa Claus in town. So he looked down at his companion and said, " I think we should go over to the mall and see how the Santa there is doing. " The disguised elf looked up and said, "but Santa, they don't allow dogs in there. I'll have to change into something else." Santa laughed and said "Well then you should reach into your pouch and change into something a little more suited for the mall." Bartholomew did just that. Now looking like a young boy the two were off.

The next day as Kris came onto the set with Bartholomew close behind, Jason asked. " Hey Kris; where were you last night? I stopped by your hotel room to ask you if you wanted to go out for a cup of coffee, but you weren't there." The elder man chuckled as he hung up his coat. I was over at the Shopping Mall checking up on my.. I mean Santa's helpers talking to the children. According to the reports they gave me, the children have been very good this year. You know they are an important source of information for me, I must get their reports whenever possible." He said as he winked his eye at Jason. The two men laughed and went to work filming more videos.

Because of their success, they made special tapes for children in the hospitals. They did tapes as gifts for children in wheel chairs and for the ones at the county orphanage. One was made for the residents of a nursing home in town, to give them a little extra holiday cheer. They even made one for the President of the United States. All of these were sent as Christmas gifts. Time went past quickly as each day brought new orders for tapes. Letters were also coming in from parents of children who received tapes, the response was overwhelming. They where full of thanks for reaffirming the fact that Santa is alive and well. They planned a cut off date of December 20th. To make sure each order was delivered before Christmas. So by the 23rd, they were finished. "Well Kris without you I don't know if we could have done it Thank you." Jason said as he shook his hand. " Here's what we owe you." As Jerry handed him his paycheck, " Thanks to you, were we able make this the best Christmas for our own children and many other children as well."

Jason then asked. " When are you heading home? I hope it won't be before tomorrow. The family would like to have you come over for dinner." Kris turned to Jason and said. "I would love to come, but I'm afraid I must leave tonight. I am sorry. I told you, I must be home before Christmas Eve. Remember?" Jason looked disappointed and nodded. With that Kris put his hand on his shoulder, smiled and said. " Don't feel bad. If you two do this again next year and need help, I'll know." He threw his arms around both of them. " Now get on home to your families. I really have got to go. My family is waiting for me to come home too." Turning his head he called to his dog. " You never told us what your dog's name was." remarked Jerry. " His name is Bartholomew." Kris said proudly. " He's one of a kind. I don't know what I'd do without him." He looked down and winked at the disguised elf. Bartholomew winked right back.

"Jerry and I want to give you something." Jason said as he and Jerry turned away to get a package they had gift wrapped for him. " Merry Christmas Kris." When they turned back he wasn't there. " Where did he go?" asked Jerry. "Did you hear him leave?" They set the package down and looked for him.

He was no where to be found. He just disappeared! You don't think he really was..?" Jason said looking bewildered. " Na he couldn't be. Could he?" Equally puzzled Jerry wondered out loud. They were left with a mystery.

 Christmas came and for Jason and Jerry things couldn't have been better. Everyone had a very Merry Christmas. The next day Jason's phone rang. It was Jerry calling from the office. Asking him to come over as quick as he could. He sounded strange, so Jason thought the worst. He hurried over ran up the stairs, opened the door, and there sat Jerry at his desk Holding a letter in his hands. Next to the desk was a large package " Read this." He said as he handed the letter to Jason.

To my friends Jerry and Jason;

 I want to thank both of you for what you have done. Your idea has the children believing in me again. I can't thank you two enough. Jerry inside this box is a computer to help you with your business. It was sent to you by my head bookkeeper Thadius. He figured you could make better use of it. Jason, something I know you will like.

Your Friend, Santa Claus

They looked at each other then opened the box. Inside the box was the best office computer system you can get. " I can't believe this" Said Jerry happily. There was a smaller box with Jason's name on it. He opened it up. It was a watch, just like the one Kris had. Inside there was something written. " A gift of time to one who also spends his time giving gifts." It was the same as the one Kris had in every detail. Jason smiled and said to himself " Thank you Santa."

Just then the phone rang. Jerry answered it. He was talking to someone about a gift of money donated in his and Jason's name. He hung up the phone, turned to Jason and said. That was Mr. Brown from the county hospital. He was thanking us for our gift to be used for the new children's wing. He said the $2800.00 will help them get started." Looking puzzled he said. " Wait a second! That's the exact amount we paid Kris!" They both looked at each other, and then Jerry spotted another note in bottom of the box. He opened it and read out loud.

Merry Christmas my friends.

Thank you for the new hat I love it.


P.S. Remember Mickey Bergan? My elves have reported that since he received his video, his behavior has been 100% better.

Jason was looking around the office; he searched in every corner. " What are you looking for?" Jerry asked. " That gift we tried to give Kris. It was right here the other night. Remember you sent me to get him a gift from both of us. Well, it was a new hat!"

Do you ever wonder if there really is a Santa Claus?

Just ask Jerry or Jason;


 Merry Christmas

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