It is a point of pride with Woodbury Patch Editor, Kris Janisch to never celebrate Christmas the same way twice. Just ask his loving family & friends. Some years the decorations are made from empty soup cans, Burger King hats, & tie-dyed blog pieces. Some years, every corner of the house is crammed with trees, branches and leaves, adorned with twinkle lights…or moss. One year the neighborhood’s stray dogs and cats were the motif as they dragged a sleigh around ala The Grinch. “The Christmas tree is a real Frazier this year”, he told me, but the aborist within could only find boxers and Psychoanalysts named Frazier. Kris is of the school of purists that finds Christmas trees, especially ones with a Charlie Brown quality, sufficiently beautiful on their own.
After a harrowing week of twists and turns (I’ll get to the story shortly), Kris did decide to waltz with snowshoes on while portaging a yule log in long johns… and headed up to the Cabin. It almost never did happen…
Kris Janisch, as well as children from a north Woodbury school became upset after a visiting priest implied there was no Santa Claus. Don’t fret Woodbury readers of the Patch -- reassurances have been given to Kris and the distraught children by parents and staff from the school that the priest was mistaken, and Santa does indeed exist.
The priest who made the blunder while visiting Central Park and Washington County Library last week believed he was speaking to mainly sixth grade pupils. But even so; are we THAT jaded that 6th grade… it’s OVER!?
Father Martin Hearty, a retired priest who was filling in for the parish priest, was visiting Woodbury to explain the message of Christmas.
During an exchange with children in the 4th, 5th and 6th classes, Father Hegarty implied Santa Claus did not exist. A number of children & Kris got upset and at least one 11-year-old child began crying. It has been reported that Kris’ mouth, upon hearing this bulletin, gaped open… disbelief and disillusionment!
A meeting of the board of management was called to discuss the matter. Kris was in the front seat, begging for an explanation, fully expecting his Christmas presents to be delivered up North this year. Surely the Fadder (…That is Father to ye. If you are Irish you know there is no “th” in the English language) was mistaken…
Father Hegarty, who is understood to be deeply embarrassed, told the Woodbury Patch on Wednesday he did not realize the children were upset. Must be from the Iron Range? He also remarked to the Patch that Woodbury children got more presents than other city at Christmas time. Most likely they are the nicest? “So they needn’t worry, the presents will come, whether Santy comes or not,” the priest said. Directing his next comment at Kris, he looked resigned, ’well son, I’m at a loss for words for you. You here for the confession?’.
In a statement last night through the diocese of St. Paul, Father Hegarty said the following: “I regret any upset that I have caused the children, Kris and to the parents of Woodbury. My intention was to talk about the birth of Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas. I must admit that Santa Claus is not my area of expertise.”
Some parents told their children “the priest was certainly experimenting with spoiled eggnog.”
ALL IS WELL NOW…
Whew! All is well. Christmas is a time when grown-ups get into a tizzy too. As I write, the snow whirls, and nature decorates with a lavish, if icy, hand. And nobody should feel too much pity for the distraught Kris. His happiness is found hunkered down with family and friends -- knowing Santie will be on his way soon.
But; in his rush to bustle to his northern refuge; Kris left his letter to Santy unmailed. Lemme see what it says. Glancing, I see, “Why should all the 6 year olds have all the fun and none of the pressures?” I agree Kris. And then it rambles off a bit. But, er wait. There’s a response. FROM SANTA!!
Jingle Bells Jingle Bells… Santa’s On His Way! Ho! Ho! Ho!
Merry Christmas Kris, Father Christmas writing you!
I’m in the holiday spirit Kris. Are you? The Deer are having so much fun playing games as we wait for Christmas Eve to get here. Comet has been sneaking into the fridge …again! He just loves to eat frozen chocolate Dove bars!
Today was a BIG day at the North Pole. It was Reindeer Games Day! What a jolly time we all had. The reindeer have to be in tip-top shape. Rudolph pushed a very big log. He got a new Reindeer World Record. As Christmas grows closer and times drawing near I reread your letter today, Kris Dear.
You wrote and questioned if Comet and Rudolph fly well. They fly very well. Ho! Ho! I have ways and the means to get into your house and inside the cabin Kris so no need to worry about your friend Santa. We have lots of reindeers and hundreds of elves working.
Those mischievous elves take a lot of looking after as well – they get to play with all the toys to test them before they are delivered, but sometimes the toys are so much fun that the elves can get carried away and do more playing than packing!!!
Mrs. Claus is mending my red suit because it had so many holes in it from sliding down all of those chimneys!
Now, I’ve checked out my list not once but twice. I pushed my spectacles up high on my head and peered through them deeply to see what it said. Kris…there was your name on my list!!
My stool fell over; I threw my head back and laughed with a roar because your friends over at the Stillwater, Hudson and Fridley Patch did not make the list... HO! HO! HO! I will be writing Shawn H., Michael F., and Chris S next. If they hear me on their roofs it will be me delivering for sure. “Tis coal they will be receiving this year. Ho, Ho and Ha! Ha! It is very important not to display naughty behavior. Maybe next year will be better for the boys!!!
Enjoy the lights, the lovely spirit of Christmas and the best part... is spending time with your family and friends who love you. I think you try hard to have a caring attitude and friendly nature. That’s what Christmas is all about, not parties and presents, but love and kindness.
When my new friend Ebenezer Scrooge discovered the real meaning of Christmas, he said,
“I will honor Christmas in my heart,
And try to keep it all year round”.
Mrs. Claus is calling me now for one of her special hot chocolates so I must go to warm up my toes. It is very, very cold at the North Pole now…Ho! Ho! Ho! Brrrrr!
Before you pop to bed on Christmas Eve, don’t forget to leave me a little milk, a cookie and a few veggies for the reindeer!
Keep up the splendid work.
I understand that you asked your folks for a few special presents this year. The elves and I think you deserve something nice for being such a nice fellow, for working hard at the Woodbury Patch delivering news, treating everyone fairly and loving everyone the way you do. We cannot make promises but we shall do our best to make this a special Christmas for you all. Please continue being good and I will visit you – with the reindeers leading the way.
HO! HO! HO! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!