Tag Archives: winter

Where Santa’s letters actually go

In the village of North Pole, Alaska, lives a man named Santa Claus.

Or so the story goes.

Fun fact–the town of North Pole is actually South of Fairbanks, where Heidi lives. So she can claim with utmost authority “I live North of North Pole.” Of course, North of the North Pole is a different matter.

As I’ve mentioned before, the town hosts a very large Christmas store, where you can purchase Alaska paraphenalia, crêches, ornaments, Christmas trees . . .

. . . and even visit with the fenced-in reindeer out back. Hello Prancer. Or is it Dancer? Sorry. . . you all look the same to me.

While we were there in September, we decided to get an ornament. There were so many choices that it was a difficult task.

The felt sweater or the little wooden sled? The snowflake or the moose?

Thankfully, little James had a clear opinion.

Posted on some of the walls and columns of the store . . . letters to Santa!

I guess they come somewhere after all. I heard that parents can pay “Santa” to actually answer these letters. I wonder what Santa’s going rate is these days. Anyway, I wanted to put up a couple of these letters as we enter the Christmas season for your enjoyment and amusement.

Can I please

have three Junie B. Jones. And some Junie B. books. One stupid smelly bus, the christmas one, and a monster under her bed plus some beads. Thanks. Love,


Get Me
a Castle

Dear Santa, am I beaing good for Christmas? I hope I am. Do you have little Elves? How are you doing? How old are you? Here’s a Chistmas list

Fisher Price sweet streets
play CD
a pitcher of you and Mrs. Clas and elves
from Erin kinney

Dear, Santa

I have been a little naghty This year I am sorry. If I end up getting any thing this year I would love to have a puppy, I would help out more at the house. Santa I would not ask for anything els for the rest of the year.



It will be a while before this little guy writes his first letter to the Big Fat Bearded Man.

Lookin’ good in that hat there, James.

Do I have to keep wearing this?

So–did you guys ever write letters to Santa? And did you believe in him? And do your kids write letters to Santa? And how much is Santa charging these days for a response?

I went to Iceland

I may not have mentioned this, but I just returned from a journey to Iceland, where I hiked mountains and set at least two world records.

Our friends Julie and Zane were also there–their hiking expertise came in handy as we faced dangerous icy climbs to the pinnacles of mountain ranges. There’s Zane with his camera in hand, angling to get the best shot.

What an eery, beautiful landscape it was! The textures of the snow were gorgeous . . .

I never knew there was so much to snow and ice.

I almost got buried in a snow drift a few times– and Julie definitely did.

You can climb out, Julie! I know you can!

Oh, you noticed the buildings in the background?  . . . yeah, you probably guessed that wasn’t really the wild mountain ranges of Iceland. (And does Iceland even have mountain ranges, while we’re at it?) It was just our friendly Lake Michigan beach here in old Chicago. Last week it snowed–a lot–and these are the pictures I promised to share.

This was the view from our apartment’s front door as we emerged for the first time after the storm had calmed down.

At first it didn’t seem like that much snow. But soon our views changed.

Our fellow Edgewater residents were coming out in droves, armed with snow-blowers and shovels.

The lines of cars were absolutely buried.

I was more grateful than ever that we do not have a car here in the city. This poor vehicle had been abandoned in the middle of the street. I hope you don’t mind that I did a weird Photoshop effect, to bring out the details of the white blanket of snow.

It makes the buildings look so brightly colored! I could almost feel like I’m back in Guadalajara . . . except a Guadalajara that was transported into snowy northern climates by an evil genie.

We met Julie and Zane at the lovely Zanzibar cafe, where a hot chocolate sent happiness coursing through me.

So good. In fact, here’s my sweetie-bar-pie drinking that very hot chocolate:

From the coffee shop, we hiked towards Lake Shore Drive.

Hi Mr. Policeman! Thanks for keeping Lake Shore Drive an exclusively pedestrian party.

And up we go!

Shot #1: a friendly couple.

Shot #2: A scarily masked man with dubious intentions has suddenly appeared by Julie’s side.

Then again, maybe his intentions were simply to stay unfrozen.

No traffic in sight. We rule the road!

Plus, the plows had already done a great job at clearing the way for us.

Taking photographs in the middle of Lake Shore Drive without becoming roadkill was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

I love that my husband loves Chicago so much. It makes me love Chicago, too.

From Lake Shore, it was time to head down to the actual lake shore, where we took those shots I opened with. The ones I tell myself are from my whirlwind trip to Iceland.

Iceland is a lovely place, lemme tell you.

Their only problem is keeping down the rodent population:

Yep. Yeppity yep yep.

We went from photo op to photo op without a care in the world.

However, soon the sun started going down . . .

. . . the wind started to pick up again, and it was getting too cold for the word ‘fun’ to keep holding its meaning.

So we turned around and headed back the way we came. Talk was made about how much this solitary walk on a normally busy thoroughfare resembled those apopcalyptic movies where everyone is dead except for Will Smith.

So on that note, this shot should totally be the poster for the new winter blockbuster “Snowpocalypse,” in which my husband, Julie, and Zane, are part of a small remnant of humans who have survived the storm. Our three heroes are now making their way into random condo buildings to forage whatever food they can before the snow zombies come out to feed.

Then, it’s each man for himself.