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I recently received a very special message from a Very Important Person, who lives in the area, specifically at the North Pole. Santa Claus asked us to share his letter with you, and we always oblige the big guy in red! Merry Christmas, Aurora

The most wonderful time of the year

To my dear friends near and far,

Ho, ho, ho, and merry Christmas! My favorite holiday is almost here and I am so happy to share it with all of you. Year after year, your carols, good cheer, hearty get-togethers, and especially your kind letters make the season truly special for me. At the North Pole, we’ve been busy getting ready for Christmas all year long! The elves have been tinkering and hammering, Mrs. Claus has been trying new cookie recipes, and I’ve been planning my journeys with my eight tiny reindeer.

I know your holidays will be busy, but this year, I’d like to invite you to visit a part of the world that knows all about holiday cheer and is a magical, beautiful place to spend time in. I’m talking about the snowy wonderland that is the Whiteface Region, where the snow is extra sparkly and I get to call home. To get you in the spirit, here are a few of my favorite things and favorite ways to spend the holidays.

Check your lists

My friends, it’s a great joy for me to deliver special gifts to people across the world, young and old, so I know how much you understand and like to give gifts, too. While I like to craft my gifts, I also appreciate the many places close to my home in the North Pole that offer special items perfect for Mrs. Claus, the elves, and friends. Of course, they enjoy these shops too; Mrs. Claus is known to stop by Young's Studio and Gallery or the Jay Craft Center, since both carry handsome pottery, locally-made art, and gifts for all ages. Our neighbors love it when Mrs. Claus buys a baking dish, makes cinnamon rolls in it, and gives it all as a gift! Both shops are owned by artists who embrace the magic of winter in the Adirondacks and the celebrations of the season!

The interior of a store selling a variety of pottery, photography and art.

Unicorn Square is another favorite, especially with the elves. They love buying the fairy dolls and sending them to their families and I bet you'll like them, too. They're handmade right here in the Adirondacks and full of love. Unicorn Square has a number of other great items that will warm your heart and soul. Tell them I sent you and embrace the magic!

A handcrafted fairy doll wearing pink sits on a shelf in a shop.

Play in the snow!

When you visit us here in the Whiteface Region, I want you to promise me that you'll do something extra fun, no matter how old you are: go play in the snow. When there is snow in the air and on the ground, I think everyone should feel like a child. There are a lot of ways to play here!

Did you know that in some places I have to deliver my gifts on skis? I get plenty of practice, though, both downhill and cross-country! To prepare for my steep deliveries, I always go to Whiteface Mountain for a day, or even an afternoon, of skiing and riding. I'm an old friend of the folks at the mountain and they are fun to ride with. They'll even teach you to ski and ride if you're new! I like that kind of welcoming atmosphere and I'm sure that when you visit, you won't want to leave! Bring the kiddies; there's much fun for them, too, plus tasty snacks and cocoa. Oh, and did you want new skis on your list? Let me know!

Santa Claus looks surprised on a ski chairlift, in his red suit and ski helmet.
I had a small mishap with my razor, but don't worry, I'm fine!

Some of my friends who live in snowy places require deliveries on snowshoes or cross-country skis and we have some beautiful places in our serene woods for those kinds of snowy adventures. Winter here is so pretty, it's like being in a toy snowglobe and you know how much I love snowglobes. Glide or 'shoe on quiet forest trails, among snow-capped pine trees, along frozen brooks, and don't forget to watch for reindeer tracks! You never know where you might find them. You can also visit my friends at High Falls Gorge; they've built a series of walkways right in the river gorge and the scene in winter sparkles with snow, ice, and the mighty Ausable River. It's a beautiful way to enjoy nature.

A man and woman smile for a photo in front of a snowy river gorge.

There's no food like holiday food

I don't mind telling you something: I have a good appetite and I believe that a great meal with loved ones and friends is a wonderful way to warm your heart, especially at the holidays. When I'm not enjoying Mrs. Claus' specialties — and cookies! — I like to get a treat at one of the local eateries. Year-round, we eat well here in the Whiteface Region, where we can have everything from a diner breakfast to trout to pizza, and where holiday decor makes every meal cheery, bright, and will put a twinkle in your eye.

Many years ago, I was friends with a fellow named Arto Monaco, who created a theme park especially for small children; everything was child-sized and it was a happy, happy place. The Land of Makebelieve is gone now, but you can enjoy a hearty meal in the building that used to part of the park! The Adirondack Mountain Coffee Café in Upper Jay has wonderful meals, fresh donuts, and rich, fresh coffee. It's a pretty spot and I know many families love it. Families are also welcome at the Country Bear Diner, Fratelli Pizza Restaurant, and R.F. McDougall's Pub. Each is festive, fun, and has something that will hit the spot. You might even try a festive ale, cocktail, or cider! I'm partial to milk, but a special, holiday-themed drink is a fun treat, just for this season.

A couple sits by a fire holding cocktails and beer.

Since it's Christmastime, please don't forget dessert. The fine folks at Adirondack Chocolates, whom I've known since they were just little Adirondackers in snowsuits, always have an enticing array of goodies for sale, including chocolates that look like me and my reindeer! The shop also has many special items full of the holiday spirit, including ornaments, stuffed animals, kids pajamas, and much more. I think that when you go here, you'll find more than a few things to put under the tree back home.

A chocolate shop features a glass display case and Christmas decor.

Destination: North Pole

Throughout the Whiteface Region, there are many wonderful places to visit, activities to enjoy, and kind people to meet, but deep in my heart, there is one place that I most hope you'll visit: Santa's Workshop. I know I'm partial, but it is truly full of magic. It's a place where the joy, love, and friendship of Christmas comes to life. Holiday- and winter-themed rides like spinning ornaments and bobsleds bring out big smiles, and the all-reindeer carousel makes even the big kids smile. A tiny train toots and puffs its way through the snowy woods, and the toymaker, chocolatemakers, and ornament decorators offer up beautiful gifts. You can even get a hat just like mine with your name on it! Don't worry, the hat shop has sizes for kids of all ages.

A small train rides tracks across a snowy landscape with a mountain in the background.

In the reindeer barn, get to know my eight best friends; they'll be so glad to meet nice people like you. While you stroll through the village, which glows with happiness and festive activities, you may see a nativity pageant, join in on some caroling, or stop to see a certain old fellow in his cozy house. If you come for a special Village of Lights evening, you'll delight at the thousands of lights twinkling everywhere while sampling s'mores, cocoa, and delicacies from the bake shop! The Workshop is so pretty on these evenings and creates a sight I treasure. Why, I bet I could get a good view from up above, in my sleigh!

This winter, visit us in the Whiteface Region. We love the fluffy snow, the sound of skates on a frozen pond, the lights and songs and smiling faces all around. When you're here you can find a cozy place to dream about sugarplums, toast the holidays, and explore many winter adventures.

Have yourselves a merry Christmas!

With love and a hearty "ho, ho, ho,"
Santa Claus

A vintage illustration of Santa on skis, surrounded by snowflakes.




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