Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Brown Family Christmas

On Saturday, December 26th, I celebrated Christmas with my sisters and their families.   This year was kind of tough for a lot of us, but especially for my oldest sister Sandra and her two daughters.  Her husband died suddenly and unexpectedly in April of this year.  Tom was a great family oriented dad and husband.  It's hard to absorb such a loss and continue on with daily life and holidays.  My heart goes out to them.  I am very grateful that they came over to our home to be with us even though it had to be very difficult for them.  Spending time with family is so important, we never really know how long our life on earth will be.

I think we all had a pretty fun time.  We had laughter and great food to share.  My sister Janice had some beautiful pink scarves knitted for us in honor of Cheryl's successful breast cancer treatment. Last year at this time, she was just finishing her chemo.  I am grateful for the gift of family and hope 2010 will bring more happiness, good health, and much success our way.  Blessed be..

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Daily Prayers will help get you through some difficult times.

Some of my best friends in life now are my Santa friends.  I have met so many in cities and towns across the world.  I am ever so grateful for their help with e-mails and prayers.  This was one of the many that came my way when my son was at some of his lowest times and unable to accept help from anyone.  I have seen a change for the good and know this daily prayer has made a difference in both his life and mine.  My anxiety is lifted and a sense of calmness flows through my body.

My Heavenly Father,

Please open my son's heart and let him know you are there. Give him signs that he can see. Surround his heart so that he may feel safe and away from harms way. Lead him back to us anger free. You are more powerful than any man made alcohol or drug. Through you sobriety and freedom from addiction is possible. Show those with this disease the way to your arms. I have given my pain and heartache to you, it is there at your feet. I will raise your name up in praise and help those who I can. I am doing as you ask and that is be still and watch as you take care of this for me. You are working through me to help my children, I am strong thanks to you and I hold their hearts. Thank you for my children. I will continue to pray for my son and I hope you do not take him home just yet. He is beautiful inside and I would like his children to see him in your light. He is your child, please show him the way. I love you Father. In your name I am still. Amen

Monday, December 28, 2009

"Get with the New Generation"

Have you ever been told you should "Get with the New Generation" ?  From what I have seen of the new generation, I certainly haven't been overall impressed.  Gone are the days of respect, love, religion and family committment.  Everything is disposable and that just isn't material things, that's everything in life.

People who are my close friends know I am having a tough time within my church, Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church.   Randy and I were married in my childhood parish St. Peter's Catholic Church in Delano in 1977.   It is a beautiful old Catholic Church with about 50 steps to get into.  Immediately after being married there, we began to search for a Catholic Church with no steps.  We not only found one about 20 minutes from Delano, but we fell in love with it the first time we attended Mass.  Our entire life has centered around this church.  We looked for land to build a home on and found some just 2 miles from the church.  All of our children and even our grand daughter were Baptized, received First Holy Communion, and were Confirmed through Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church.   We are friends with many who attend the church.  We volunteer and are chair persons with our children for The Incredible Festival.  Randy is a Eucharistic Minister, Max is an Usher.  It is the one thing in my life that has always been stable. 

In our dioceses, Priests are allowed to remain in a parish for 12 years.  We have experienced 3 different ones since becoming a member of Our Lady of the Lake. While we are always sad to see a change in Priests, we have been able to weather the change and become good friends with the Priests.  This time has been an emense challenge for my faith.  I just am having the most difficult time in my life and desperately need my faith and beautiful Church in my life.  However, I just can't relate to our new Priest no matter how hard I try. He is another nationality and I can't understand his speech.  I feel so ashamed and alone.  I am in tears most Sundays and just can't make myself go to Church. 

Yesterday, I woke up and said it is the Feast of the Holy Family.  I need the Holy Family to help me get through this.  I have to go to church.  I have talked to others in our parish and they say they read Father's Column in the bulletin.  What he has written in print is what he talks about for the sermon; so that is what I did. 

He wrote that the Church is what should be the center of your family life. It's not about praying and just having faith.  We need to come together as a group and make a commitment to the Church.   Too many of us worry about ourselves and material things. We are very selfish and self centered.  We think we should go to an athletic event, shopping, or anything else on a Sunday without even attending a Church service at all  . In summer we need to golf or go boating, in winter we need to go skiing or watch a football game. Instead of having our church in the center of our lives, we push it to the side.  We dispose of it as the "New Generation" does with so many things. 

I came away from Mass yesterday knowing I need to keep Our Lady of the Lake Church as the center of my life no matter what.  I am committed to the Catholic religion and continuing to make the church the center of my life.  I once again have my focus in life where it needs to be.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Wow, what A White Christmas for Minnesota

I started working on Santa's bookings in June 2009. Someone booked a party for today, the day after Christmas. Then more and more of our regular customers began to book their dates.  I worked very hard to accommodate everyone's special party dates and requests.  Sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming. 

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are the most challanging.  Little did I know, we were going to be hit with the largest holiday snowfall in decades.......The sky opened up and white snowflakes began coming down on Wednesday December 23rd and reaally did not stop until 2:00 a.m. this morning.  What some don't realize is that Santa Randy also does snowplowing.  He was up at 2:00 a.m. on Christmas Eve morning plowing away.  He got home about 2:00 in the afternoon.  He quickly took a shower and got dressed for his Christmas Eve visits.  The first 3:00 p.m. visit needed to move down to 7:00 p.m. because some of their guest were coming from out of town.  After working so hard to have a well thought out, smooth flowing schedule it started right off going crazy and continued from there.  Santa was at least 45 minutes behind schedule after being on time for the first visit in Prior Lake.  He ended up in Delano at 9:10 p.m.  He was suppose to finish up in Elk River but I had to call in his back-up brother in red, Santa Ron who was doing visits in Princeton and lives in Zimmerman.  He ended up having to drive over to Elk River which was out of his way.  However, being the kind and gentle brother he is, made a very special evening for a child's first White Christmas as he was from The Dominican Republic.  I will forever be grateful to Santa Ron.

Santa Randy finally got home at 10:40 p.m. on Christmas Eve and we opened our presents as a family. He then fell into bed about 12:30 with the alarm set for 2:00 a.m.  Out the door on Christmas Morning to plow all over again.  He got home about noon in time to get dressed up and out the door for a Christmas Day visit in Spring Lake Park.   When he got home from that visit, he once again went out to do some plowing and clean up.  Our children spent Christmas Eve Day and Evening as well as Christmas Day shoveling at the Our Lady of the Lake Church numerous times to try and keep the sidewalks clear for people to go to church.  This morning, Saturday the alarm once again went off at 2:00 a.m. for him to go out the door to snow plow.   This has definitely been a Christmas we will never forget !!

Today, my sisters and their families are coming over to celebrate a "Brown Family Christmas" gathering.  Santa Randy has one more visit this evening to the family who booked way back on June 6th, 2009 !!  I am looking forward to an afternoon and evening of good food and family laughter.

I am very grateful to God for giving me such wonderful healthy children and an amazing husband who continues to work hard as work becomes available.  It has been a very tough 2 years for us.  I have never lost sight of the Lord and continue to pray that we will make it through this very hard journey of our life as an even stronger Christian family together.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Our Final Week is upon us !

Saturday and Sunday were two of Randy's busiest days so far.  He left in the morning and I didn't see him until 9:30 p.m. on Saturday and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday.  I become a bit weary and worn out after trying to make sure everything is pulled together each day for his schedule.  Sometimes I am frantically re-typing pages for his "Naughty & Nice" visits as Santa is going out the door.  Sometimes, the GPS just won't acknowledge an address I have and I have to print out Mapquest directions just as a backup. 

I know each visit is a special one to the family he is seeing and I want it to be magical for them.  I spend time filling Santa in before each visit by cell phone as well as a typed page of things to remember before he goes in......Finn is the name of the puppy you brought 4 years ago; you gave him a soccer ball that year and are bringing him a new one today,  Lola is visiting from New York,  Bobbie has his own room now that his parents finished an addition to their house, Ben got his blue karate belt, Jennifer is in gymnastics, etc. etc. etc. Sometimes we practice children's names several times, only to find out that is not how they pronounce their name !!

Then, sometimes, when I wake up in the morning and turn my computer on I find wonderful notes like this:

Dear Deb and Santa Randy,

Thank you from the bottom of my heart! You were both amazing to work with from start to finish! The magic you brought to our party will be remembered by so many! You instilled belief into those children that were on the edge. You probably see the magic in the children's eyes everywhere you go, but I believe one of the most magical parts for me was the magic witnessed in the adults eyes too! I took 350+ photos and am in the process of hand editing them right now. The warmth I have in my heart still today is over abundant. I just can not thank you enough! My daughter was petting Finn last evening and I heard her ask him, "Are you happy Santa came back to see you? I told you he would always remember you, I bet you'll see him again on Christmas Eve. You are one lucky little dog!" Thank you for all you did. It may have just been another hour of work for you, but it was the best hour of Christmas for me!


This makes it ALL worthwhile and makes me continue to strive to make each visit as special as possible.
This is the most wonderful season of all !

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Better Not Pout !!

We had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Noah who came to our home for his first pictures with Santa.  He was the most delightful little boy.  So happy and easy going.  He smiled for most of his pictures with Santa and wasn't afraid at all.  I know everyone loves a picture of a smile with Santa.  This one just captured my heart and brought the saying "You Better Not Pout" to my mind. 

Thank you Noah for a wonderful visit !
May God BlessYou on Your First Christmas and bring much happiness to your life.  We truly enjoyed your visit !

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Novena

While some people start the Christmas Novena on the first Sunday of Advent, I personally do it as a 9 day Novena ending on Christmas Eve.  I thought I would share it with those who might not have yet begun.  It is to be said 15 times per day however you wish to do.  I say it 5 times at 3 separate times during the day.

                                  Christmas Novena

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother.                  Amen.

Blessed Be,
Debra Ann

Monday, December 14, 2009

Special Christmas Celebrations

Last night, Santa Randy was invited to Fort Snelling to be at the 2nd Brigade MP, 102 Division, family Christmas Party.  Luckily he arrived a 1/2 hour before party time, because as everyone knows, the military base can be quite confusing.  A GPS dosen't help you get where you need to be.  After checking in at check-in point (wrong one of course), he was told to go to a building "just over there" !   When he got there, they looked quite surprised and confused.  It was a Christmas Party, but not the one he was supposed to be at.   After a few more calls and an escort, he arrived the the right place.  Wow, was everyone happy to see him.  Lots of smiles and hugs.  He had a great time with the families and received a beautiful framed plaque and a "Excellence" coin from the Command Team. 

We are so grateful to all the military service men and woman along with their families.  While we may have our minds on shopping and decorating, and baking.......stop to say a prayer for the United States Military and their families each and everyday.  Pray for World Peace.  Pray that our soldiers return home safely to reunite with their familes. 

Think about sending a care package to a soldier in combat.  It may be too late for Christmas, but a New Year's gift would greatly be appreciated also, I am sure. 

Some links:

God Bless our United States Military Service Personnel
Proud to be Godparents of Sgt. Erik VanderLinden of the USMC

Friday, December 11, 2009

and without Attitude !!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Minnesota Snow and Frigid Temps

Well we got our first winter blast yesterday with 6” of snow, this morning I woke up to -6.2 below 0. Randy plowed snow yesterday so that is good. The fact that he left before his alarm clock went off at 2:00 a.m. was not good.  I hadn't sleep very well and so I stayed in bed when he left.  I had just dozed off when this horrid sound woke me up.  The radio alarm had gone off and I was hearing two stations crossing at once.  I thought I could just pull the covers over my head but it got the best of me !   So I started calling for Lindsay who was down the hall in bed with her door closed.  My voice was hoarse before she actually woke up and decided I was not calling her in a dream. 

This morning Randy got me out of bed about 6:00 a.m. and I came into my office and saw light outside (yes, you late sleepers, it's dark outside at 6:00 a.m.). I though the kids forgot to turn the garage light off, but then I looked closer out my window and low and behold, Paige, our grand daughter is outside swinging away on the swing at these frigid temps. She never ceases to amaze me. She thinks nothing of it. Swinging back and forth causing her own windchill in additon to the below 0 temps. At least she had boots on this time. Last year, she would swing at below 0 temps in sandals. Yes flip flop sandals. She actually got frostbite on several toes and the skin peeled off in several layers. She didn’t think that would happen. Since she did that, she now believes her toes could and would turn black and need to be amputated.

For those of you who have seen our amazing "concrete" swing set/playground, you now know it is put to good use ALL year long.   Paige is outside swinging at all hours and all temps.  She puts her ear phones on and I-pod blasting and singing very louldy and very off tune ! It is one of the only times she is really really happy, being a teen is very tough you know.  We are just really really happy when the windows are closed.  Seriously, I wonder what the neighbors think when they hear that extremly strange sound coming from up our hill !!  I can't explain what it sounds like, you really have to experience it yourself !!  In the summer late nights, Lindsay will holler to stop singing (that is puttig it nicely) because her window is facing the swings and she can't sleep.  Tootsi actually growls when she hears the singing. She must think a predator is on our property.  I love you Paige, even though you sing way off tune and don't like me because you are in your teenager years.

The older I get, the less I go out in winter.  The white snow looks pretty from this side of the window, but I also get the winter blues for the long months I am stuck indoors.  Long gone are my days of sledding and making snowmen.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Grandma Broke the Couch !!

There are always a few good stories that Santa brings home after a visit.  This is one !

Santa went to a "naughty or nice" visit on Saturday night.  It was a multi-family party.  They wanted one picture with all the kids in it along with Grandma.  There were about 10 kids piled on the couch with Santa.  They were just about to take the picture when someone spotted Grandma from Texas wasn't in the picture yet.  So Grandma shuffles over as everyone squeezes even closer together.  Finally there is a spot for Grandma who sits down.  There was a loud crack !   Being a very "respectful" family someone quietly whispers......."Grandma broke the couch !"   The mom, whose house it was said "It was worth it !".  Grandma who is hard of hearing and  doesn't speak much English had no idea she had broke the couch.  It was a great time...had lots of cookies and laughs !  They were a wonderful family to visit.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cutting down the perfect Christmas Tree !

We usually just get a Christmas Tree from a lot.  However, the last few years, the trees have been cut and on lots by Halloween.  By the time you put the tree up in December, it's dropping needles before you get all the ornaments on.  This year we have friends coming to visit from Texas and plan on having a gathering at our home on January 1st.   I talked my 3 adult children in to going to a tree farm for the first time in their lives, yes together in the same vehicle.  (Those who know my children, know this is a Christmas Miracle all on it's own !)    They are very strongly opinionated and a bit stubborn. It's the combination of the Irish and Polish heritage.   My niece offered to have them join her and her husband and a group that they go with every year.  However, since this was their first time, I was a bit nervous on how it would all play out ! 

It didn't start out all that well,  my son Max is a "let's go and get this done" kind of guy and the girls like to first get fully awake and then get ready to go.   After a few "choice" exchanges of words, they all hopped into Santas big 1 ton truck and took off.  I watched from my office window and blessed them, something I learned from my mom for a safe journey. 

                           The first picture I received from Allison's phone was this one of Lindsay.
Santa had told them not to bring too large of a tree home.  We do have vaulted ceilings, but where we put it is only 8' 6".    The ended up getting a 12' tree and having to cut it twice to get it to fit in the house.  It is beautiful though.  Allison put good use of all the extra branches in the barrels outside, so nothing went to waste. 

The living room was freezing cold as that  tree unthawed and warmed up.  This afternoon, the tree fell out of the tree stand onto the floor.  Good thing we didn't get any ornaments or lights on yet.  Santa assures me he has corrected the problem down in his workshop and the tree is once again standing.

I believe this will be a wonderful memory for my children in year's to come.  I am hopeful, this will be a family tradition for them each year together. 

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Rosie's Story

I couldn't sleep last night and just had to get Rosie's story out so people can call the Golden Valley Humane Society in Golden Valley, MN or send them an e-mail on their contact us upper Right hand corner website:

Rosie was a 5 year old female cat who was a family pet and very well loved and taken care of. Rosie was an inside cat who had been spayed. Rosie snuck out side when one of the family members went out the door on Friday November 27th. Once it was realized she wasn't in the house the family began frantically looking for her in the neighborhood. They went door to door with her picture and posted posters with her picture on. The father, Marcel, began visiting shelters on 11/30/09. He visited the Golden Valley Animal Humane Society on 11/30/09 and 12/2/2009 to view pictures. He were told she was not in their shelter and to keep coming back to view new pictures. He asked if he could see the stray cats that were being brought in and was told no. He then asked if he could see the animals that listed as “Camera shy” and was again told no this was against policy. On 12/3/2009 Amber was viewing the animals on line at the advice of a neighbor that received our flyer.  Rosie's picture was on their website, she was up for adoption. The family was estatic !   She contacted her husband right away and had him rush to go get her. He arrived at 6:15 and was told they were closed. An employee was nice enough to allow him to view our cat and make a positive ID. He was able to pet her through the cage and talk to her. He was told he would not be able to take her home because no one was available to fill out the release paperwork due to them being closed but to come back tomorrow to pick her up.   The father said he would be back the next day around 4:00 p.m. ( taking off work early) and also asked if they did micro chipping to insure Rosie was able to be identified should anything like this happen again. He was told that yes, they did micro-chipping and they would have that done before he came the next day to pick up Rosie.

Their daughter who is in first grade was so excited. She wanted to get out of school early to pick up Rosie. However, she had a spelling test last hour and her parents assurred her she would be able to hug and play with Rosie that evening.   Amber & Marcel arrived at the Golden Valley Humane Society at 3:30 p.m. to pick up Rosie. They were told that Rosie had been mistakenly killed by lethal injection approx 1 hour before they arrived. They were shocked and heart broken. Instead of bringing Rosie home for a homecoming party, they brought her home dead in a box to bury.

This is the second time in less than a month that a pet has been killed by lethal injectionn that rightfully belonged to someone. Both of these animals were at a Humane Society facility for less than 1 week. Call or e-mail the Humane Society and DEMAND that they take the appropriate precautions so no more loved family pets are killed.

Read Felony's story:

Rosie was the most friendly & social cat you would ever find. She loved to talk to you and be pet and slept with a little girl who loved her so very much every night.

The Humane Society needs to be held responsible for their failed protocols and incompetent staff.
Thank you for reading, please help to get the Humane Society to do their jobs properly. Call or e-mail them and tell them you heard about Rosie. Mistakes like this are unacceptable.

I am an animal lover and advocate.
A friend of Rosie and the family;
Mrs. C.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Memories of Christmas

Where does time go......As I work on Santa's schedule and getting a bit stressed, I often think, what would my Mom who loved Christmas so much think of Santa Randy.  The memories of being at home in a family of 4 girls and a Mom who loved and cherished Christmas makes me realize how fortunate we were to have her.  Holidays were tough for Mom with Dad being an alcoholic when we were young.  However, we always knew Mom was there for us no matter what and Santa would be bringing all kinds of toys under the tree on Christmas Eve.  The beautiful flocked Long Needle Pine tree in the living room with twinkling lights cut down from Northern Minnesota near where our cabin was and glistening hardwood floors with toys arranged picture perfect is what we would wake up on Christmas morning to see.  Dad would most likely be sleeping in after a party or two the night before.  Mom would get up (after probably just getting to sleep) and be as excited as we were when we found our gifts from Santa under the tree.  Christmas was the best time in my childhood life.   Once we were grown and married, our children got to experience my Mom's Christmas Excitement and Love.  From the Holiday Barbies she worked so hard to get the first year they came out to G.I. Joe, Legos, Batman, and other boy toys she was getting to know; she never failed to put on an Amazing Christmas.   I remember the Christmas when she wanted to get the Dayton's Santa Bears for everyone.  She tried, but was unsuccessful and was really sad.  Then Target came out with these adorable puppies "Kriss Mut" with hats and scarfs on.   She sent Dad out all over to different Targets.  He purchased one for each of the grandchildren and at the end of the gift opening on Christmas Eve she came out in the living room with all these huge adorable stuffed puppies in white bags thrown over her shoulders.  She looked like Mrs. Santa ! The smile on her face was unforgettable.  I know I have a picture somewhere, I need to find that.  That is a Christmas I will never forget.  Thank You Mom for the most wonderful Christmas celebrations.  I know you are smiling down at Santa Randy as he visits the young and old during the Holiday Season.  I miss you so much during the Holiday Seasons and am grateful for the love and generosity you instilled in each of us to carry on in our Holiday Celebrations.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December has Arrived !!

Yesterday was a very busy day for scheduling parties for Santa.  Everyone must have flipped their calendar and realized not much time until Santa arrives.  It was a fun day which seemed to fly right by.

Most of the house is decorated...just the living room left.  Elf Allison has been putting in many hours to get it looking good !  Stopping at garage sales this summer kind of put us over the top, but a good deal is hard to pass up !!

This Saturday we will get a fresh tree from a tree farm and then it will even smell like Christmas.  I am hoping by cutting a fresh tree we will be able to enjoy it through New Years Eve without it drooping and dropping needles all over.  I have a huge artificial tree, but no one wants to take the time to put it up.  We used to use that one on the years we traveled to Florida after Christmas.  However, with the economy, vacations are not going to be for quite some time.

Snow is in the forcast today, it will definitely brighten up the outside which seems so brown and dreary.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pilgrim Santa

Thanksgiving is now over, but we have so many things to continue to be thankful for.  Santa Randy comes from such a large family of 10 children.  It never ceases to amaze me that they are and continue to be a close knit family.   I feel so Blessed to be a part of it.  Although they lost their parents way to early in life, the tradition of gathering for holidays is carried on.  The poppy kuchen is still freshly baked and brought to share at our holiday gatherings.   How proud Art & Priscilla must be when looking down from Heaven upon our celebrations together.  Thank you Lord for the Gift of Family !  Thank you Santa Randy for bringing me into your family.  I cannot imangine my world without you all in it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

We are thankful for new born babies, Santa's favorite visits !

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hazzards of a Santa website..

I have heard from other professional Santas and their wives how there will always be at least one child a year who will get your phone number off the internet or a business card their parents have been given and ring your phone off the wall. was the day !  A young boy by the name of Corey seems to be up to some mischief on this Saturday......25 calls in about 10 minutes. 

I finally answered a few of the calls with "Ho Ho Ho, someone is going to be on the Naughty list "...but that didn't get him to stop.  I then answered  "I guess someone doesn't want any presents this year."  It been silent for about 5 minutes now.....

I've also been getting some "santa requests" filled out by most likely children also. 
The fill in things like:    name: abdefghijk    address:   123456 Minnesota  
number of people at party:  5,000,000,000     I just delete those as they come in.

I guess there is a hazard to every job !  Still quiet.....I guess Corey found something else to do !

Friday, November 20, 2009

Late Nights at the North Pole .......

Santa's been working some very late nights getting his naughty and nice list updated. New elf reports are coming in quite seems everyone is really trying hard to move up to the nice list in this late month of November............NOW you are going to be GOOD ?!?

Well I guess, better late than never !! Every year, thousands of children young and old, just squeek under the wire !

Maybe next year, you could start a little earlier ! It sure would help Santa.

Santa Claus' 2009 "State of the Pole" Address



NORTH POLE HEADQUARTERS, ARCTIC CIRCLE, 12/22/2009 --- Once again, Santa Claus' Royal Palace and Toy Workshop came alive this evening as a mass assembly of Elves, Helpers, and Immortals of Civilized History gathered together to listen to the words of their merry old leader, for this, his traditional "State of the Pole" Address, in which Santa, in accordance with his customary rituals, reviewed his various adventures at the closing of the year, and previewed the vast assortment of adventures that await him in 2010.

As usual, Mr. Claus made his comments in the Throne Room of his Palace, his dear wife of many aeons seated next to him. They had traded in their usual regular clothing for the royal robes and regalia of Their Serene and Royal Majesties, King Nicholas and Queen Vivianne, Lord and Lady Sovereign Monarchs of the Realm of Eternity. Here, by tradition, King Nicholas personally welcomes those who, at the end of their alloted time upon the Earth, have proven themselves brave, truthful and unselfish --- the required credentials needed in order to be granted permanent residency in the Realm of Eternity.

Here is the full text of the 2009 "State of the Pole" Address:

Welcome once more, my good friends, and Merry Christmas to you, each and all!

Once again, it is my distinguished pleasure to report unto you, my faithful subjects, concerning the previous adventures that have involved me in the year just past. And as always, we begin with our dear colleagues in Denmark. Where last year's World Santa Claus Congress went the silly route by designating Denmark's Hulk Hogan as their Santa of the Year, this year, our delegates at Bakken turned to Sweden's Royal Family and gave the title to someone far more sensible: Her Excellency the Duchess Camilla af Rosenborg, whose tireless efforts on behalf of children's cancer research were paid much honest tribute, and of course made Her Excellency well deserving of the honor. I'm sure those of us assembled here in the Workshop will agree with me when I say that the quality of giving can only reach its largest potential when someone decides to give something back. Duchess Camilla has demonstrated this more than I believe she will realize; and so, we accordingly salute her tonight.

As always, unfortunately, Christmas Eve Nights are not necessarily all fun and games. The recent news regarding the economic state of the world's countries continues to be monitored by our elven work-force even as I utter these words to you now. There are still many questions yet unanswered about the world's economy and its obvious impact on everything we do here at the Top of the World .... And I certainly hope we will make every effort to answer those questions.

Still another bit of big news that came our way in 2009 involved two significant mergers that will almost certainly have a profound impact upon my already heavy workforce. When two of the world's most famous toy retailers, Toys "R" Us and FAO Schwarz, joined their collective forces under the Toys "R" Us banner, there were few who figured that the deal would amount to much. But then, as we sometimes do, we underestimated the might of our friends at Disney. For an astonishing $4.1 billion, the Walt Disney Company has acquired the Marvel Entertainment Group! No doubt that even as I speak, Elves across the cosmos are wondering where the road that has brought these two together will take them. Even now, I sense that most of you are indulging in Marvel/Disney fantasy adventures in your chatrooms; no big whoop, no big deal here, etc.

But once more, it has been brought to my attention that the so-called "Santa wars" are once again causing disturbances from many of my impersonators throughout the United States; further, one of these, based in Atlanta, Georgia, is doubtless making it tougher for his loyal fanbase to see him, so much so that he has seen fit to charge $15, by appointment only, if there are those who wish to share an audience. In my day in time of old, I would not dare deny the children the opportunity to see me in person; and you all have my assurance that that policy remains effective for the forseeable future. Pinkie-swear!

Well, meanwhile, in California, there's bound to be an especially busy bunch of Santas doing their thing between now and next summer. You will all be happy to learn that the Hollywood Christmas Parade has had its old name restored; and that our very busy friend Tim Connaghan will be more than jolly, escorted at the end of the Parade, as per usual, by the Long Beach Junior Concert Band. Finally, there shall be two last summertime flings for us jolly old elves --- as Anaheim's famous Crowne Plaza Resort hosts the International Santa Claus Jamboree --- an event whose five days will be packed with so much energy that we'll barely have enough before we're all summoned back to the Gatlinburg, Tennessee Convention Center, for the second Celebrate Santa Festival and Holly & Shamrock Parade! Indeed, I would suggest that, by the time everything's all over, we'll all be ending up turning our thoughts back to our dear Bakken friends, and the 2010 World Santa Claus Congress!

There are so many adventures at the end of this season, and even more at the beginning. I am especially looking forward to welcoming President Barack Obama as he, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their two young daughters attend their first lighting of the National Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C.! This year, for the first time, those of our Elves in the D.C. area will be able to see the Ceremony on several selected PBS affiliates, most notably WETA/Washington; those of our Elves, meanwhile, who still have a passion for things C-Span are encouraged to watch the festivities at just before my Christmas Eve journey.

And if you think I've been rather fast as far as journeying in my sleigh goes (that's presuming, of course, that I'll have time to get out of my royal raiments!), well, see what the good folks responsible for Pasadena, California's Tournament of Roses Parade have done --- and the strange part is, they've done it all at a pace even I didn't notice until quite recently! The Parade's 2010 theme has already been chosen --- "A Cut Above the Rest" --- reflecting the fact that, besides the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl College Football Classic, the 2010 Tournament will spotlight the Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game! The idea for this year's Rose Parade theme was chosen by Gary DiSano, who had been chosen to serve as President of the Board of Directors for Tournament Year 2009-2010. As Gary explained: "With thousands of spectators gathered along Colorado Boulevard, and billions more watching on television each January 1st, America and all the world look to Pasadena each New Year's Day to bring forth a celebration better than any other."

Sadly, Gary DiSano will not be among his fellow Mortals on Friday, January 1st, 2010 to see the results of what he assembled. Knowing how passionate Gary was about the Tournament of Roses, the Board of Directors has wisely decided to keep the event going as per scheduled, for it is, one surmises, what he would have wanted.

Indeed, they've already chosen the 2010 Rose Parade Queen and her Court, not to mention the Parade's Grand Marshal! Please join me as I congratulate these seven lovely maidens: Queen Natalie Innocenzi and her Princesses --- Katherine Hernandez, June Ko, Lauren Rogers, Kinsey Stuart, Ashley Thaxton and Michelle Louise van Wyk!

In keeping with the 2010 Parade theme of "A Cut Above the Rest," the Rose Parade folks have decided that only one person best exemplifies that concept. I watched with most of you on January 15th, 2009, as US Airways Flight 1549 plunged into the icy depths of New York's Hudson River. The remarkable courage perpetrated by a strong-hearted crew, led by Captain Chesley Sullenberger III, has since become the stuff of legend. Needless to say, the Tournament of Roses has chosen the man called "Sully" as their Parade Grand Marshal! Congratulations, dear Sully!

Lastly, I bring these remarks to their close with a few words about our future. As always, you know that we, the denizens of Santa's Workshop and Toy Factory, remain committed to keeping watch over childhood dreams in every timeframe across the cosmos; our history, our culture, and our repeated legend will, I'm sure, remind most of you that there are great and incredible adventures not yet accomplished. Together, with your help, this foolish but very Jolly Old Elf will continue to make Christmas magic come to life, anytime ... anyplace ... anywhere.

I only ask in return, as I have asked countless times before, that each and every one of you believe in me --- believe in us --- believe in all human beings, and their power to share the force of love. For without love, the human race cannot exist.

Well, my friends, that's that. I think I've had my say. I hope that the second decade of the Twenty-first Century will bring even more adventures and experiences to light .... for that is as it should be. And with those kind words, I say to you all, as I have said many aeons before and beyond ----