Cornwall ON – This year, we had high winds and unexpectedly cold weather, which made this year’s Santa Parade a challenge for everyone. But the weather could do nothing to dampen Christmas spirit as people from all over the area worked hard to make Santa feel welcome and warm in Cornwall.
I looked around and found the jolly gentleman in red, who was delighted with the whole event. “The reindeer really like to come out on nights like this,” he told me, “because it gives them some practice for the big trip around the world on Christmas Eve. And after spending almost the whole year living in the barn at the North Pole, and playing all their reindeer games, they really enjoy taking me out to see all the children.”
When I asked him how he and the reindeer liked Cornwall, he laughed. “We’ve always loved Cornwall, and all the Christmas spirit. With all the Christmas lights folks put around their houses and on the streets, we can see Cornwall all the way from Ottawa. It’s one of the highlights of the whole of Christmas.”
“What’s your favourite part of Christmas, Santa?” I asked.
“Oh, that’s easy! It’s seeing all the children, all over the world, as they wait for Christmas, trying extra hard to be good.
“But you know, there’s an awful lot of kids, even right here in Cornwall, whose parents have a hard time at this time of the year. But usually it works out well, and everyone has an nice Christmas. You see, there’s a lot of grown-ups, in Cornwall and everyone else, who remember the great Christmases they used to have. They go around collecting toys and turkeys and all sorts of nice things, which all go to a secret place. Then, when I come to Cornwall on Christmas Eve, we stop there for a few minutes so I can refill my sleigh.”
I took a look at the sleigh. It was a lot smaller than I thought, but I supposed if you had to park it on a roof, you couldn’t have anything too big.
I don’t know how Santa must have known what I was thinking, but Santa knows an awful lot.
“By the time we’ve finished in Ottawa,” he told me, “the sleigh’s almost empty. So rather than having to go back to the North Pole to refill the sleigh all the time, which would take too long and really tire out the reindeer, all the good people have set up these places, all over the world, where we can stop and reload the sleigh.”
“Santa,” I said. “You’ve been doing this for about two thousand years now, ever since the first Christmas when Jesus was born. Who’s the boy or girl you remember the best?”
“Oh, I remember everyone. But I do remember one little boy, about two hundred years ago, in England. His parents were broke all the time, but they always tried to celebrate Christmas and make it a really nice time for him.
“One day, when he was all grown up and getting quite rich, he sent me a letter to thank me for all the happy Christmases he’d enjoyed, and he asked me if there was anything he could do to help me.
“The next time I visited London, we had a talk, Charles and I. That was his name, Charles Dickens. So I gave him an idea, and asked him if he could write a book. And sure enough, he wrote a book, about how people celebrated Christmas, and how they treated others on that day. And it became on of the best and most famous books ever. We called it ‘A Christmas Carol’.”
“Really! That’s wonderful,” I told him. “Well, I’d better let you go, or you’ll be late for the parade. But do try and stay warm. If you catch a cold and have to miss Christmas, I don’t know what we’d do here in Cornwall.”