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  • Santa Claus returns to the North Pole just as the sun has set over the entire globe. He has been hard at work, delivering toys, to good boys and girls, for the last forty eight hours. It takes awhile to make the trip, around the world, to all the homes, so that children awake to find their presents early on Christmas morning. It's an ever-changing moment in all those time zones. By the time Santa pulls the sleigh into the barn, and gets the reindeer unhitched, Christmas Day is pretty much over. He will rest a few days and then begin plans for the next magical Christmas. The elves, though, they have already taken their leave.

    You see, Santa's elves work really hard from about September to December, making all those toys and such that Santa has planned. They get no days off during that time, nor do they get to sleep much. Elves are made like that. Powerful little creatures with lots of smarts. As soon as Santa has taken off in the sleigh, the elves have taken off for their vacation. No one knows for certain where they go for a few months of much needed rest, but I am pretty certain I know where some of them spend the cold winter months. Central California. In a wee little house, tucked into the backyard, set back from a very narrow street where few pass by. In a twinkling, they are there. And in a blink of the eye, they are gone.

    If you watch carefully, you might see one, dashing out for more provisions. If you listen, you will hear laughter, merriment, and some snoring. Warm, cozy, tucked in for a few winter months of rest, the elves occasionally come out to frolic and play among the ferns and redwoods. They toss balls to one another. They feast on fresh vegetables and fruits, all grown in the San Joaquin Valley. Some mornings they will come out and quickly vanish in the dense Tule fog that shrouds the Valley after a long siege of rain, only to appear on a warm sandy beach on the Central Coast, meeting up with some of the other elves. After a great bonfire after sunset, they magically reappear in the tiny cottage.

    For just a small amount of time, the elves take their leave of the cold North Pole. They will return to Santa's workshop to hear of his plans, rested and relaxed and ready for the next round of toy making. Maybe, if you are walking by, you too will catch a glimpse of the house where Santa's elves spend their vacation time.
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