Mr. and Mrs. Claus
What’s the story behind Mrs. Claus?
Mrs. Claus has been absent from Rebunking Santa Claus, and it’s all Santa’s fault. You see, he’s a little embarrassed about how it all started. Mrs. Claus, however, has given me full permission to explain how Christmas’s cutest couple met and fell in love.
Back when he was just getting started in the gift-giving, toy-making business, Santa was running into trouble. His first Christmas had gone great — he’d been able to sneak down chimneys and into homes and surprised thousands of good girls and boys with hand-made toys.
But his second Christmas, Santa hit an unexpected obstacle.
He’d just parked his sleigh on the roof of a sleepy family with three boys who had all asked for toy wooden horses. Santa was excited to deliver the excellent toys he’d made and quietly slipped down the chimney to deliver his gifts.
To his dismay, there were already three beautifully carved wooden horses sitting on the fireplace mantle with ribbons tied around their necks. Not only were the presents there already, but after careful comparison between his horses and those on the fireplace mantle, Santa had to admit that the interloper’s horses were better. The paint was shinier, the horses were smoothed to a silky softness, and the carving was so lifelike that his horses barely even looked like horses in comparison.
Santa decided that the father must have carved the horses for his boys himself. So he shrugged his fur cape back on his shoulders and took off in his sleigh for the next house on his list.
But on descending the chimney, he found the same problem as before. Someone had come before him and delivered the exact presents he had in his sack. And, once again, the quality and care put into the toys was above and beyond anything that Santa had done.
Kris Kringle found the same thing at every house he visited that Christmas Eve. Disappointed, disillusioned, and distressed, Santa took his sack of toys home to his makeshift workshop (this was pre-North Pole, folks) and sat in front of the fire.
How had this happened?
Who else could have done this?
This was a turning point for Santa. He could have given up — he wanted to give up. But what he wanted more than that was to find out who had delivered Christmas presents before him.
So he set out on a search. He questioned his reindeer, who in turn asked around in the other herds. He sent out anonymous letters, posted a reward, and did everything he could to learn where this rogue toymaker was.
Finally, in desperation, Santa returned to the home where he’d found the beautifully carved wooden horses. With a sharp knife, he carved off a small sliver of the wood from the back of each horse. He took the wood slivers back to his workshop and began a search for the trees where the wood had come from.
After months of searching through forests across the world, Santa Claus sat down to rest on a stump in a small forest in northern Scotland. He absently pulled one of the slivers from his pocket and checked it against the wood of the stump.
It was a match!
At that moment that Santa felt someone watching him. He stood up and looked all around but he couldn’t see anyone. As he was just about to sit back down, he noticed a small raven perched on a tree branch — and it looked like it was watching him. With a flap of its feathers it winged off into the forest.
Santa followed the raven until he came to a small cottage in the middle of the forest. Small wisps of smoke came out of the chimney, but when he went inside Santa couldn’t see anyone.
All around the cottage were half-finished toys, wood carving tools, and cans of bright paint. “This must be the place”, Santa thought to himself.
Then he heard a small cough coming from the chimney. He walked over and peered up into the soot-smudged face of a beautiful young woman.
“And what are you doing up the chimney?” Santa asked, a wide smile already starting on his face.
“Trying to avoid you, can’t you see that? Now help me get out of here before I choke on more smoke.”
Santa laughed and helped the woman out of the chimney. As she rubbed soot off her face with a small cloth, Santa again looked around the workshop.
“So you’re my competitor? I have to say, I’m impressed.”
The woman finished wiping the soot from her face, straightened her skirts, and looked Santa in the eye.
“So what if I am? Have you come to bully me out of my job? Because I’m telling you, the children love my toys more than yours and I can do a better, faster job of delivering them too.”
And that was how it started. In exchange for teaching her how to successfully get up and down chimneys of all kinds, Mrs. Claus (of course that’s who it was) taught Santa some of the finer points of toymaking, scheduling, and Christmas Even planning.
They delivered toys together for several years, bringing joy and happiness to children as a team. Though Mrs. Claus doesn’t ride in the sleigh much anymore, she still works alongside Santa crafting beautiful toys for children of all ages.
Remember that toy from years ago that just seemed to be perfect? You can bet your gift against a lump of coal that Mrs. Claus had a hand in it.