The Bears Make A List

Dear bear friends:

It was late at night in the house on the hill. The Ewer bear family gathered. I snuggled down between Franklin and Gus and looked at the dear furry faces of my fellow bears. Time to bring up the question I'd been thinking about all day.

"Alexander", I asked, "What do you know about Santa?"

Make a Christmas ListThe Ewer Bears Make A List

"Santa?" answered my twin brother, "Why, I know all about Santa Claus!" I sat up, amazed. "Let's see," Alexander continued, "Santa wears a red suit, travels in a flying sleigh pulled by reindeer, and brings presents to American children on Christmas Eve!"

"Alexander!" I exclaimed, "How do you know so much about Santa Claus?"

"Perry, old thing," Alexander said kindly, "While you're off traveling with Miss Cynthia, I spend my time reading and studying! Of course I know about Santa Claus!"

"Santa Claus?" asked Prince Hal, "Surely you mean Father Christmas!" A chorus of bear voices arose: "Father Christmas? Who is Father Christmas?"

Prince Hal wriggled to the center of the circled bears. "Chaps, in my home in England, children are visited by Father Christmas. He has a long beard and a fur suit. Oh, British children have the most charming custom!"

"Children write letters to Father Christmas, but they don't post them, they burn them in the fireplace! Father Christmas reads the letters in the smoke, and knows what to bring to fill each child's stocking."

The bears nodded and murmured. "Father Christmas sounds much like your American Santa!" added Prince Hal.

Cokie bounced up and down on his tail. "Fellows, I saw many different Christmas customs when I toured Europe with Miss Cynthia, years ago! Do you know about Sinterklaas? In the Netherlands, children don't hang up stockings. Instead, they fill their wooden shoes with hay and sugar for Sinterklaas's reindeer. On Christmas morning, they find their shoes filled with candy and nuts!"

Grillparzer edged closer to the center. "In my home of Austria," he said, "Saint Nicholas brings presents to children. He has a helper who looks like a little red imp and who carries a little switch. Naughty children try to stay away from the little devil! Children must tell Saint Nicholas their good and bad deeds over the year; good children are rewarded with candies, toys and nuts!"

Gaius Ursus stood up tall. "Dear bear brothers, in my home country of Italy, children are visited by La Befana! She is very wise. She comes on January 6, and she rewards the good children with gifts - but punishes the bad children!"

I spoke up. "Remember my friend Bradley, from Australia?" I asked. "He told me Australian children celebrate Christmas by going to the beach to swim! Remember, it's summer in Australia when Christmas comes!"

The bears growled and murmured among themselves. I sat and thought. Whether I thought of him as Santa Claus or Sinterklaas or Father Christmas, Santa sounded just wonderful - but would he come for bears? Time to find out!

"Bears," I began, "as you know, I'm about to travel to New York City. I know I can find a special Santa Claus there - the one I saw in the parade. We could write him a letter, and tell him how good we've been this year. Do you think if we asked him, he might to visit us, the bear family?"

The bears came alive! "Santa? Come and leave presents for us?" asked little Marco. "Only if you've been a good bear!" said Leif Bearickson, smiling, as he hugged our youngest bear brother.

Alexander held up a paw. We all quieted down. "My friends, if our brave brother Perry is willing, I think we should write to Santa. Perry can deliver the letter, and ask Santa to visit us. From what I know about Santa Claus, I think he'd agree!"

The bears cheered, shaking paws and jostling one another goodnaturedly. Whoops! Little Marco fell off the bookcase again!

Soon, we were gathered around, writing to Santa. It was a long list - but then, we have so many bears! Alexander and I rolled our letter into a nice neat tube. I would take it with me in my little bag.

Now, I must go to New York City and find Santa Claus!

Your bear friend,

Perry Bear Ewer