They say behind every good man is a better woman, and behind the man with rosy cheeks and a beard of snow white is a woman with rosier cheeks and a chuckle that brightens even the gloomiest of days: the Mother of Christmas, Mrs. Claus.
With just hours left before the big night, we caught up with Mrs. Claus, who is doing last minute checks on the Naughty and Nice List. Across North Pole Headquarters, Santa Claus is double checking that presents are in order and ready to fly out on his sleigh tomorrow.
“This year has been very busy,” Mrs. Claus said. “There were more children on the Nice List than ever before. The elves have been very busy making toys for the good boys and girls.”
After she finished checking the list, Mrs. Claus sat in her rocker and threw her quilt over her legs to keep warm with the chilly evening at the North Pole. Her quilt is made of photos of her and Santa taken during their vacations after Christmas is over each year. She pointed to one photo in particular of a young Santa and Mrs. Claus smiling for the camera.
“Oh, how we love Christmas; we love presents and gifts, but we also love spending time together at the beach in Miami,” Mrs. Claus said. “I actually met Santa at the beach, oh so many years ago. It was the twinkle in his eye that caught my attention. …So, now every year we visit Miami and remember the first time we met. I sure do love Santa; he still has the same twinkle in his eye.”
Every night Mrs. Claus has a routine: She tucks the elves into bed, reads their favorite book, “The Polar Express,” to them, and then off she goes to the barn to feed the nine reindeer that lead Santa’s sleigh: Rudolph, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen.
Prancer is her favorite though; he eats the most of her chocolate chip cookies, she said.
“The elves are more like children to me. They all call me Mama Claus. It just makes my heart so happy,” she said. “The reindeer are a very big part of our family. Without them Christmas just wouldn’t happen, especially Rudolph, with his red nose leading the way during those foggy nights. Sometimes during the spring and summer months, we’ll take the reindeer out for a ride. It’s so fun to ride in Santa’s sleigh.”
For nearly 300 years, Mrs. Claus has spent every year in the North Pole, but before she was Mother Christmas, she was known as a young girl named Martha. She grew up in London, her mother was the town’s seamstress and her father owned a Christmas tree farm. It was only fate that she would later become Mrs. Claus, she said.
“Growing up, I loved to lay in our yard at night looking for falling stars. I used to make wishes on them,” Mrs. Claus said. “I wanted to make a difference in the world, and I think I am doing just that with Christmas every year. Being the ‘Mother of Christmas’ is the greatest joy in my life and the best wish that ever came true.”
Looking back on previous years, Mrs. Claus said her favorite Christmas memory is when Head Elf Billy came to her with tears in his eyes. He shared a story about a young girl named Mia from Australia who was starting to not believe in Santa anymore.
“We just couldn’t let that happen now, could we?” Mrs. Claus said. “Unknown to my sleeping husband, Billy and I stole his sleigh, hooked Prancer up, and off to Australia we went. We flew onto the roof of Mia’s home, quietly we went down the chimney, and there was little Mia sleeping on the couch.”
Billy woke up Mia with a little nudge, handed her a jingle bell, and told her, “Every time you ring that bell, we will ring our bell at the North Pole.” The duo then gave Mia a swift ride on the sleigh. After a hug or two was shared and a carrot for Prancer was given, Mia went back to bed with that jingle bell in hand and a renewed belief in Santa and the magic of Christmas.
“Mia still believes,” Mrs. Claus said. “She is now a grandma and she has passed that jingle bell to her grandchildren. Every time they ring the bell, we still ring our bell.”
With time quickly passing before the big night, Mrs. Claus realized she forgot to double check one last name on the Naughty and Nice List – Owen Thornton. He is a four-year-old boy in Huntington, Texas “who loves trains and playing with his friend Ethan Ledbetter,” she said.
“Owen has had a very big year. He got a little brother right before last Christmas named Cooper. It’s been a little hard adjusting to a new brother, but he’s done very well,” Mrs. Claus said. “Owen’s been a very good boy this year; he even learned how to spell his own name. That makes me very happy.”
As the night came to a close, Mrs. Claus folded up her quilt, swept up the cookie crumbs left by Santa, gathered her belongings, and gave a quick kiss to her husband as he turned in for the night.
“We better get our rest before tomorrow comes,” she said.
With a twinkle in her eye, Mrs. Claus added, “Never stop believing in Santa Claus and the magic he brings every year to Christmas.”
Santa peaked around the corner and with a cheerful voice he said, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight.’”