A Christmas fantasy with a message
by Jim Lytle

We all loved to hear stories when we were kids -- especially stories about Christmas and Santa Clause.  Here’s one I bet you’ve never heard before. You couldn’t possibly have heard it because I just now made it up. J

Now, back in the olden days there were far fewer people in the world and Santa could carry all the gifts he was to distribute in a single pack. As the population grew and he had to carry ever more gifts, this became increasingly impractical as the single pack became much too large and heavy for him to carry.

So he started filling additional packs, keeping each one just the right size for him to tote comfortably. But this presented a logistics problem. He had to keep careful track of the packs and place them in just the right order for distribution along his planned route.

One early December morning Santa pulled into Fennville in preparation for his gift distribution that would take place here on Christmas Eve.  Checking the packs in back of his sleigh he discovered to his horror that he’d forgotten the Fennville pack. “Oh no!”  He exclaimed. His worst nightmare had come true.

What could he do? He couldn’t go back to the North Pole to retrieve the forgotten pack as that would disrupt his carefully planned schedule. He turned to Mrs. Clause, who had accompanied him this trip.  Like most good wives, she always seemed to have a solution to his problems. “Not to worry” she said. “I have an idea. We’ll shop locally for all our Fennville gifts! You stay here with the sleigh and I’ll do some reconnoitering to see what’s available right here in town. When I get back we can decide what we need to buy to cover our gift commitments here in Fennville”

The first place she stopped was at Salt of the Earth restaurant. While enjoying a slice of Cinnamon Raisin bread with her coffee, she couldn’t help but admire the Holly decorating the dining area. The waitress told her the Holly came from Baragar Pines Farm.

On her way again, Mrs. Clause passed Cris’ Hair Styling and couldn’t resist stopping in for a look. Mrs. Clause came out with a new look after Cris worked her magic.

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Continuing her tour of the town she stopped at nearly all the local businesses including True Value Hardware, Alexander’s Drug Store, Fenn Valley Winery, Baragar Pines Farm and Cranes Pie Pantry.

She could hardly contain her excitement when she reported back to Santa with the results of her mission.

“Santa, you won’t believe it.” She said excitedly. "There are more than enough things we can buy right here to satisfy all our gift requirements for Fennville. Check out this list I made out. It only lists the highlights of what each business has to offer. There’s much more than this available.”

Salt of the Earth --  Fresh baked pastry and bread, including country sourdough, cinnamon raisin and seedy salt.

Fenn Valley Winery – red wines, white wines and specialty wines.

Alexander’s Drug Store – toys for kids, office and school supplies and holiday goodies

True Value Hardware – Holiday decorations, gadgets and tools for the handyman, gifts for the home

Cranes Pie Pantry – famous homemade Michigan fruit pies

“Very impressive” said Santa. “There’s so much to choose from here I couldn’t possibly get it all in just my Fennville pack. By the way, you look different. I can’t quite put my finger on exactly why, but you look different.”  “It’s the new hairdo I got at Cris’.  Like it?”  “Very much” said Santa. Too bad we can’t deliver a new look like that to some of the ladies on my list.”

“You can” said Mrs. Clause. “Cris’ along with every other business I visited offers gift certificates in any amount you wish.. Here, I bought a box of envelopes and gift cards at Alexander’s Drug Store for you to use. You could give everyone on your list a gift certificate to one of the local businesses and let them choose their own gift.”

“Great idea” said Santa. “The folks here in Fennville sure are fortunate to have such a wide variety of local shopping opportunities.”

So my story ends happily as Santa fills out gift certificates for all the people in Fennville.  Well, not quite ALL the people -- he does after all know who's been naughty and who's been nice. J




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