December 2017 January 2018

I’m most grateful for the opportunity to fill in for your publisher, Mr. Parker, who allowed me a chance to let you in on a little secret! As you may have guessed, I’ve been around the world a few times, having spent lots of time in big towns and small towns—maybe not as much time as I’d like to spend on account of my hectic Christmas delivery route, but I do appreciate small towns the most, especially Jacksonville.

It’s always so nice to arrive in your tiny village on Christmas Eve and see all the decorations on California Street—with all the shops lit up for my arrival. Don’t share this, but that great big tree outside the Beekman Bank is always my favorite tree of the season. Speaking of which, your town tree lighting celebration, parades and Victorian Christmas are well-known events up here at the North Pole—the elves, Mrs. Claus and I all read the Jacksonville Review online and keep up on all the happenings during the year. If I was ever to retire, Jacksonville would certainly be a nice place to live! Even though my herd of reindeer couldn’t join me, you’d have plenty of other deer to make me feel at home.

Now… for those of you on my “nice” list, I needn’t remind you about the importance of taking a moment to thank the kind folks who make your holiday celebration so special. There’s that nice, well-dressed Tim Balfour at your Chamber of Commerce, who works so hard all year finding volunteers to sing Christmas carols, pour cider and volunteer to help out at all sorts of events. That sweet lady, Mrs. Graham, who owns the toy store, is a real gem. She not only helps organize the entire Victorian Christmas, but she’s been helping my team with toy inventory for so long, I’ve lost count! And then there’s that distinguished Mr. Smith, your Town Crier and Historian, ringing that bell and telling stories about your town’s history while making visitors feel so welcome!

I don’t have much space left here and the list of folks to thank for putting on Victorian Christmas is longer than an 8-year-old’s Christmas wish list. Rest assured that I KNOW who’s helping and I’ll surely be leaving them something extra special when I visit their home this Christmas Eve in Your Small Town with Big Atmosphere!

Merry Christmas from Santa…