Dec 202013

Phoenix Christmas Eve And Believing In Santa Claus

(Editor’s Note – this is a children’s story that has obviously evolved over some 25 years since I first wrote it. I’ve also read it aloud and it works wonderfully with kids because of my storytelling voice)

That magical night approaches filled with anticipation and trepidation. Butterflies dancing like a dervish within for what the following morning’s sunrise may bestow upon us. To be levitated with unbound excitement and singing with rapture. This is but one part of the magic of Christmas Eve and the arrival of Santa Claus.

This is our true tale shared with you over so many perfect, wonderful years. The magic to always believe. With that, gather the children around and here is our Christmas Eve story for you. My Golden Retriever, Phoenix, and I believe in Santa Claus…

When I was a very small boy my dad, mom and I packed up into our 1960 dark blue Pontiac Bonneville. We left our California town to make the journey to Reno, Nevada to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my beloved Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt and Uncle. As with any young kid the magic of Christmas was always very real though we didn’t have the grand scale of commercialization of the holiday that exists so globally today. My dear Mom instilled in me, whilst having the option of choice, that Santa Claus was always very real and to never give up that belief, if I so chose.

On this particular Christmas Eve it was so very blustery and stormy in this high winter town. Being an only child I sat by the Christmas tree alone in the late evening with the fireplace roaring with a glow nearby. I could hear the muffled chatter of the adults in an adjacent room. I gazed upon the tree with all of the lights sparkling and blinking so festive and bright. The gifts wrapped in their pretty splendor of colors and ribbons. Pondering which one’s might be mine and what I might get. All of a sudden I heard a noise on the roof. Startled, I ran into the kitchen to where the adults were gathered like tall timber. I looked up, eyes wide with fright and my mouth agape and tugged from below on my Mom’s knit sweater. I pointed towards the ceiling, “Mom, there was a noise on the roof! I’m scared!”

She knelt down to me and smiled placing the warm, gentle, soft palm of her hands on my wee little shoulders. She assertively said, yet with a twinkle in her eyes, “Oh honey, that has got to be Santa and the reindeer landing! He must have had trouble with the weather and needed to land early! Hurry, you must be asleep before he can deliver your gifts!”

I ran to the bedroom and leaped into my guest bed as my Mom tucked me in I said, “Mom, the milk and cookies for Santa Claus!” She calmly smiled and kissed me on my forehead and said, “My sweet son, don’t worry your Dad and I will make sure Santa has milk and cookies waiting for him on the hearth before he slides down the chimney. Now you need to get to sleep.” Somehow, I dozed off quickly into a wondrous slumber before I noticed daylight at my very next blink. In my pajamas, robe and slippers I bolted not initially for the Christmas tree but to the fireplace hearth. To my elation and beaming joy I found a plate of some nibbled on cookies and crumbs accompanied by a half-filled glass of milk with a drink stain streaming down. I squealed with delight and jumped with a 6-year-old fist pump…yes! He had truly arrived.

The next few years went on as I got older and my friends began to tease me relentlessly that Santa Claus was not real. I asked my mom for confirmation on this and she said, “Never ever stop believing Mike, if you so choose, because he is real.” This continued in my heart for the next 40 years and I stood my ground to this day on that belief. Christmas would always be magical and he would always come and deliver gifts and toys. It evolved through the years with me being single. Then a wonderful interlude over a period of five years allowed me to vicariously revisit my Christmas vision quest through my fiance at the time and her two young, very special, little boys.

Which brings us to now, on the threshold yet again this year. My beautiful Golden Retriever boy, Phoenix, and I will escape to all of the wonder that Santa Claus might bring. As has been the past 10 years with the two of us. Anything is possible and always in one way or another more magic is always conceived.

I will give you the dialogue from one very special year on Christmas Eve:

Me, ”Phoenix! We need to get outside to wait for Santa!”
Him, “What?! Are you going to throw my ball for me?”
Me, “No silly, Santa Claus! Tonight is the night!’
Phoenix, with his tail waggin’, eyes sparkling and that Golden Retriever grin, “Ohhh, cool! You better get bundled up, Daddy. I love this night. Did you look on the computer to see where he is at?”

You see, these days we have NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) tracking him on the Internet so that helps a bit. You can click right here for you to follow at NORAD Santa Tracker.

Me, “Yes, he just left Utah, but I still want to see if we can get a glimpse of him and the reindeer in the sky first, don’t you?”
Phoenix, “Yep, that’s the best part!”
Then Phoenix paused, “But Dad, how does he get around the world in one night so fast?”
Me, “Ah, that’s the neatest part, honey. For Santa Claus a second is a month, a minute a year, and year is a millennium.”
Phoenix, “What is that in dog years?”
We gave each other a quizzical double-take look .
Phoenix again, “I’m just messin’ with ya, Dad.”

I put on my best winter clothing, grabbed a steaming hot adult beverage and a chair to plant myself in the backyard in the snow. Phoenix sat down next to me on my right side and I petted and stroked his soft, warm fur. We both peered up into the dark night sky looking at all of the brilliant bright stars. I would tell him of my Christmas stories from years gone by. Family, friends, joy, magic and most of all the meaning of Christmas as it exists to me. That being the spirit of giving and not of material things. More so of the love and kindness and the celebration of all that we have with us, around us and within us. That special energy that surrounds us, bonds us and keeps all of us connected.

Phoenix then looked over and up at me in my chair and said, “I like when you tell me your stories, Dad.”
Me, “Well, they are all true. But the best thing about Christmas to me most of all is that it’s about the children!”
Phoenix, slightly alarmed, he eyes more alert, darted a question at me, “Ahem, and Golden Retriever’s too, right Dad?”
Me, “Yes, and Golden Retrievers. And kitties, creatures and all beings on this beautiful Earth, kiddo.”
Phoenix, “Even the cat that teases me on the fence?”
Me, “Yep, even that cat.”
Phoenix, sighing with love, “Well…ok. He’s a good cat.”

I went on to tell him more stories and how Santa always came to deliver gifts and toys to all of the good boys and girls around the world. That it’s not about what Santa can give to us but what we can give to one another. It can come in many forms; love, kindness, charity, volunteering, and sometimes even just listening and being there for someone.

Phoenix, “Wow! All those things are Santa Claus?”
Me, “Yes, all those things are Santa Claus, baby. Well, sort of.”
Him, “Ohhh…so that’s why we help people like we do?”
Me, “Christmas to me is 365 days a year, Phoenix. Santa Claus pulls off the real magical stuff but not always in the form we wish for. It comes when and where we least expect it.”

Phoenix, slurring, “Sooo, if I wush fur yu to ween da lottery but insted yu git a date wif Kate Beckinsale…dat iz Santee Caus?”
Me, “Darnit! You were licking up that adult drink of mine weren’t you? It’s NOT water!”
Phoenix, his eyes a bit glazed over, “Sowee…*hiccup*!”

I continued on for a while and the fresh air sobered him up and he suddenly interrupted me and began pawing at me, “Dad! Look!”
Me, “What?”
Phoenix, looking towards the North Star, intently said, “I think I see something. Over there!”
I squinted into the black sky filled with illuminating stars of the glorious heavens above and saw what he did,” I’m not sure…”
Him, “Well? Do you think it’s Santa?”
Me, noticing possible movement dashing across the outline of The Big Dipper, “It looks like something moving in a position to land, honey. I think you’re right. We better hurry and get to bed!”
Phoenix, “Done!” And he bolted into the house and I could hear him thundering towards the bedroom and plopping into his bed at the foot of mine.

I picked up, locked up and turned off the lights and crawled into bed to call it a night. Before turning off the light on my night stand I looked at him still with one eye peeking hopefully, “You gotta sleep or he won’t come, Phoenix…”
Phoenix groaned with anxious frustration and pretending to sleep through one eye at me, “Ok, Dad…”
I turned the light off and Phoenix barked with alarm!! “Dad! The milk and cookies!!”
Me, “Arrgh! Good call!” I went into the kitchen and gathered the cookies and milk and set them on the hearth.

Then I came back to bed and told my kid, “We’re good now, honey…”
Phoenix, “What would you do without me?”
Me, “I would be lost. I love you, Phoenix.”
Phoenix, “I love you too, Dad. Now shut off the light.”
Both of our bodies relaxed as we fell off somehow into a  slumber of anticipation.

The next morning we awoke as Phoenix gave me his soft morning “wuff” to wake up. I put my sweats, slippers and ball cap on. Phoenix bolted for the hearth not to eat the cookies but to check on their post-Christmas Eve status.

They were untouched…*sigh*

He looked away from the hearth then up at me with the saddest look and then hung his head in despair back at the hearth, “I guess I wasn’t a good boy.”
I got down on my knees and petting and kissed and hugged him. Assertively, just like my Mom would have said, “No way! You are the best, good boy ever!”
Phoenix, “Ya, but…”

Knock, knock on the door…

I opened the door and it was my next door neighbor, Keith, “Hey, my wife and I caught someone walking away from your house very late last night but he just vanished. I know we keep an eye on each other but it looks like whomever it was left you something.”
I hadn’t noticed it but I looked down and it was a huge, wrapped Christmas basket with dog treats and toys at the doorstep.
I thanked Keith, grabbed the basket, closed the door and showed it to Phoenix.
Phoenix said, “Well, what is it??”
I was completely baffled, “It’s a bunch of treats and toys. There’s only a card that has ‘Merry Christmas Phoenix’ on it!”
Him, “Hey, that’s ME!”
I said, “Yep, it sure is sweetheart!”

I let Phoenix grab the paper covering with this teeth and I held the basket as he unwrapped this enormous, mysterious gift. He grabbed one of the toys in his mouth and galloped with joy out into the backyard to play with it.
As he did, I walked over to the neighbor’s house and said to Keith and Camilla with a big smile, “Thank you for doing that for him, you guys.”
Keith was surprised, “Mike, I swear it wasn’t us.”
Baffled, I walked over to Nora, her husband, Grandma and Elizabeth’s house on the other side and explained. Then asked, “Did you guys do that for him?”
They all said, “Nope, it wasn’t us.”

To this day I never, ever found out how the basket got there but Phoenix did come back into the house with his toy.
I started to tell him, “Honey, I don’t know how…”
He cut me off and looked up smiling with that Golden Retriever grin, his eyes sparkling with contentment, “Dad…it was Santa!”
Me with total realization that he had visited us, “Yes it was, honey!”

Love, Light and Blessings to you from us.  Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

My mom passed away far too early last year. She was the ultimate in Christmas and Santa Claus. To always believe in the love and kindness in life we can have for each other. To never forget the magic that is not only Christmas, not only Santa Claus, but life itself.  Something I’ve always told those around me – you are limited only by your imagination. Thank you, Mom….I love you and miss you…and Phoenix and I believe in Santa Claus…

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Mike Vogler

I have been told (many times) that I really need to write a book about my life. The past 50+ years have been an exciting ride, and these days I find myself with a great many passions. However, I feel that this website is a much more personal way with which to share my musings, stories and commentary.

  66 Responses to “My Golden Retriever, Phoenix, And I Believe In Santa Claus”

  1. Hi Mike

    Love the Christmas story!
    We could all use some magic, especially at this time of year.

    Does Phoenix have his wish list made yet! Your interaction between him is very inspiring and fun loving.

    Wishing you a joyous holiday season.


    • Thank you so much, Mary, I really appreciate that! Yes, our relationship is super special and unique and Phoenix has had a profound effect on my life for sure. His list usually consists of all things that will be good for his Dad – meaning calm, peace and happiness. And of course, a tennis ball, a treat and lovings 🙂 Happy holidays to you too, our friend! 🙂

  2. Mike, I think you have this Santa thing all figured out. I hope he’s kind to you and Phoenix this Christmas and in 2014—and I hope he’s kind to those suffering oppressed and frightened all over our country and the world. Perhaps we can all be his helpers.

    • Very apropos on us all being his helpers, Suzanne! I hope our society around the world can evolve into one of far more peace though the swing on the chart doesn’t indicate that too frequently. So many folks need help and we as a people fall far too short on meeting that. Great comment, our friend 🙂

  3. Hi Mike,

    Very interesting story!! Loved reading it! I have never believed that Santa ever visits us….so this story ignited my imagination and I could actually visualise the cookies and milk…with childlike charm!
    May your belief in Santa inspire many more people!

    • I really appreciate that, Balroop! Yes, there is a deeper meaning that I would love to get through to kids in the story if their parents might read it to them. To inspire them towards acting in all things good both giving of themselves and believing in the Right and Perfect in life. That is not by an means in religious context but it is very spiritual 🙂

  4. As stated at the end of my last post, “When you stop believing in Santa Claus you get underwear for Christmas.”

    p.s…. we forgot about “A White Christmas” on your list of movies – and please tell me you’ve seen the movie, “Prancer.” Now there’s a story about believing in Santa Claus!

    • And having no underwear would just absolutely suck, Patti! Yes, I have seen Prancer and you are absolutely right, our friend 🙂

  5. What a beautiful story. I really love that in the US you leave milk and cookies and in the UK you leave a glass of sherry and a mince pie (says a lot about our cultures I think!). We also used to leave a carrot for Rudolf and he’d often have had a good nibble on that when we checked the next day.

    I’m so sorry about your mum. I lost my mum a few years ago and I always find that Christmas is the hardest time because we always spent it as just the four of us (my mum and dad, me and my sister). This will be my second Christmas abroad, which makes me feel incredibly guilty because I’m sure my dad and sister find it hard too and we won’t have each others’ support.

    I hope you and Phoenix have an amazing Christmas and I hope Santa stops by and brings you both some gifts! That Santa tracker is very handy indeed! I wouldn’t want him to catch me still awake! 🙂

    • Thank you, Arianwen, and I loved the UK Christmas take! I had never heard about sherry and mince pie! Great, all of these years Santa has been coming in for landings all liquored up! Ok, ok…so his flight over the pond to the U.S. and the chill of the winter air probably sobers him up. And leaving a carrot for Rudolph! That is awesome! Gawd, I wish I would have had all of this intel before I wrote this year’s post. This is absolutely epic stuff! Oh hun, I know it must be hard for you to be away from family but know that they love and support you in your amazing endeavor that you are succeeding with by the minute. Thank you for you well wishes and all of our’s back to you and your family 🙂

  6. Another beautiful story Mike, I couldn’t finish it without wiping away a few tears. I’m so sorry about your mum.
    Wishing you and Phoenix an amazing and magical Christmas.

    • Aww, thank you so much Freya! Eeesh, your comment put a tear in MY eye now. She was an amazing woman despite our emotional distance and dysfunction. But, your parents are your parents and you never realize how much you love and miss someone until they are gone. That is a huge misstep we make in life in not realizing the power of the moment and living today. All of our best wishes to all of you! And give a big hug and kiss to Tibo from us 🙂

  7. I want to point out…you used the word “whilst”!! Not many do.
    Anyways. Lovely story. Christmas is a time for “believing” and it’s sad how commercialized it has become.
    I always ask Santa for a little something every Christmas. Usually it’s just for snow on Christmas morning, to me snow makes everything that much more magical.
    Don’t tell anyone but I still believe in Santa too! 🙂 (gotta have something to believe in)

    • LOL, Jenn, I used “whilst” to expand my descriptive/creative writing vocabulary, my friend. I only ask from Santa what is Right and Perfect for Phoenix, my family (the couple that are left) and friends. He usually delivers! I love your wish for snow because that is such a beautiful, innocuous desire. Yes, bring on the magic always! And your secret is safe with me…but I can’t speak for the other thousand people that are currently going to be reading this post, my dear 🙂

  8. wait…..Santa’s not real?????

    Adored this post, Mike! So sweet. I love your enthusiasm. And I’m so sorry about your mom. I’m sure she’s very proud that you carry on her Christmas spirit so well.

    Love the Santa tracker! Genius. Phoenix is the luckiest doggie. I believe those of us who “believe” and do nice things for others are Christmas, do you know what I mean? The Christmas Spirit is the people. That’s where it exists. So if you believe, you help maintain its existence, and you pay forward Good Will to others. That’s why I love the season so much. It’s about giving. And wonder. and hope. and finding beauty in everything.

    Merry Christmas, my friend. xoxo

    • Yep, call in the boys from playing. News alert…Santa is real. I know, total upheaval in the Teliho household. And I hope this either gives that Elf confirmation or knocks his smug a$$ off whatever precarious pedestal he may be currently residing in your house on. You really touched me with something, Beth. In that my mom, despite our dysfunction, never got to see my writing take off. I am not saying it’s good writing. But, I am saying she would be so proud. I will keep the faith that she sees from above. I know exactly what you mean about us being Christmas and keeping the spirit alive always! All of our best to you and your family always! 🙂

  9. What a great story. It makes me wish my oldest had more belief in Santa. I think he’s starting not to believe and it makes me sad. He’s too young not to believe in magic and the wonder of Christmas. Very sorry to hear about your mom too. My mom’s gone as well and she too was filled with life this time of year.

    • Oh thank you so much, Krystle! Yes, it’s a real trick to keeping that magic alive these days. I’m sorry to hear about your mom as well and sending our warmest thoughts as you reflect like we do here 🙂

  10. This is a wonderful Christmas story Mike! Of all the holidays Christmas is by far my favorite.

    • Thank you, Samuel, we really appreciate that! What a fantastic compliment to hear from you and agreed. Christmas is very special. All of our best to you and your’s for a very Merry Christmas and happy, safe travels to you always! 🙂

  11. —Dear, Mike & Phoenix,
    Thank you for my goodnight story.
    I shall go to bed with fairies dancing inside my head.
    You are both magical & beautiful.
    I just wuv you guys. Xxxo
    Ps. I think your mum sent the treats for Phoenix!
    Merry Christmas, dears.

    • Kim, I was waiting/allowing for the first person to say what you did. I have believed to this day that my mom sent them too!! Your comment just made our Christmas. I mean that… 🙂

  12. Great story Mike. That makes 3 of us. I also believe in Santa Claus. Sending the warmest Christmas wishes to you!

    • Woo hoo, Agness! Phoenix and I love to have another friend on board the Believe Bus with us. Thank you so much for your wonderful, kind wishes and we send the same back to you and Cez always 🙂

  13. Mike, I could read your to-do-list & be intrigued!! What an incredible childhood story, so vivid, warm & tender!! As for your child like faith. It only affirms what Inion & I knew from the moment we entered your blog. You have the heart & imagination of a child. And that my friend is invaluable!! Oh but to have just a morsel of that magic! And so I leave you dear friend, with this quote: ““Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS” or Mike’s!! Francis Pharcellus Church ~ Merry Christmas to you & to Phoenix!!

    • Oh my gosh thank you so much, Inion n Mathair!! You nailed it with me and the “inner child”. It’s why my biological clock does not match my personality. Meaning to always live young and believe in all things possible in life. And we LOVE your quote, girls! You two rock always! A very Merry Christmas to you as well. Always love hearing from you 🙂

  14. What a charming story to end the year on! We should all treasure the magic of Santa Klaus, always. Your mum’s approach was lovely when Santa landed on the roof of the car 😉 merry Christmas mike and Phoenix.

    • We so appreciate that, Johanna! It’s one of my fav stories to always tell. And it’s about having the children believe at an early age and carry that on in life. We get one chance with them. Once the sign out on Santa Claus then we lose that opportunity for them to expand their own creativity and imagination about Christmas. In my very humble opinion. A very Merry Christmas to you and your’s too, our friend! 🙂

  15. Great! I clicked on the NORAD link and I’ve spent the last half hour playing Christmas Hangman. There goes my productivity level for today.
    Great story, Mike. Phoenix is right, the present did come from Santa.

    • LOL to Christmas Hangman, Ed. We totally appreciate your compliment as always and yes Phoenix was spot on sir 🙂

  16. Thanks Mike for the story. As an adult you forget the little things and the magic and joy of Christmas Eve. I remember always going outside and searching the sky for Santa and his sleigh (Rudolph’s nose) and yet I have never done that with my kids. This year we will. Thanks

    • This comment made my day, Kelly! Mission accomplished. That is exactly the effect I wanted to have on folks in sharing this story. I’m thrilled beyond belief that you will take your kids out to relive your childhood memory. It’s so special and imprints the kids with the magic of Christmas forever! 🙂

  17. Its amazing whtat you hear and realize when there arent any giraffes flying around. ;0)

    This story makes me a little teary eyed because I can totally see the banter between you and Phoenix. Its very sweet.

    I have no idea why I havent done this with my daughter. I guess being in a rush to get her to sleep for some of the magic to happen. This year on Christams Eve, we will be doing the same buddy. What a great memory to make.

    Thank you to you and Kelly for this.

    • Awww, thanks for the banter comment between me and my kid, Tony! Yes, it’s very special. I’m so thrilled you and Kelly will go out and have this experience with your kids! Go full on and tell your daughter your own stories over your lifetime. Make some hot chocolate, etc. It’s super special, our friend! 🙂

  18. Like Tony said, christmas is so exciting for younger kids and those who still believe. I love the looks on their faces, its so hard not to believe when you see them light up. Who would ever want to ruin that spirit. I read the story to my 8 and 6 yr old girls, and they liked your puppy talking they said 🙂 a 6 yr old is always a good critic, just never ask if a certain outfit makes you look funny, because they will tell the truth.

    • Wow, what a thrill and honor to me that you read it to your girls, Chad! Oh absolutely on keeping the belief and I like how you described them lighting up. And I so appreciate the compliment that they liked Phoenix talking. He’s a chatterbox but I wise one. And LOL to your last sentence and the 6 yr old critic and funny outfits 🙂

  19. What a lovely Christmas story 🙂 I remember all too well how restless I would be going to be on Christmas Eve. The anticipation was so awesome. I really miss those days at times.

    • Jeri, we so appreciate that compliment and on my gosh yes on the restlessness. I still remember it well. Phoenix and I keep that special memory alive each and every year channeling our inner kid 🙂

  20. That is such a sweet story with lovely sentiments…that Christmas is 365 days a year and that it’s even for cats. I’m sorry to hear about your mom. That’s a wonderful dedication to her. Merry Christmas.

    • Well, Phoenix insisted we include cats, Michele! We really appreciate your very kind compliment and thank you for the remark on my mom. Merry Christmas to you and your family too! Very nice to hear from you 🙂

  21. What a lovely story and sentiment! 🙂 Sorry about your Mom. 🙁 You must miss her a lot, especially at this time of year.

  22. Mike I love this!!!
    I hope that Santa brings a great big bag to you and phoenix!

    • What a great compliment, Hilary, and thank you so much! We hope Santa treats all of you with the joyous gifts of the heart ten fold this year as you deserve it always! 🙂

  23. Wow! What a beautiful story! I like the dialogue between you and Phoenix, too. Your mother sounds like she was a very special woman. Merry Christmas, Mike!

    • Thank you so very much, Lisa! Yes, my mom was incredibly special. A very dysfunctional and estranged relationship but in her final year we bonded like no other mother/son could. So much of how I am today is because of her. A very Merry Christmas to you as well! 🙂

  24. Such a wonderful, engaging story, Mike. You really have a talent with words! I feel like you should really publish a book of short stories. I’m so sorry that you lost your mother last year, but I’m so glad that you continue to share her light with the rest of us through storytelling. Wishing you and my buddy Phoenix a very Merry Christmas!

    • Dana, I agree with you. I’ve been trying to nudge Mike to do just that… get him to publish a book of short stories. Maybe we should formulate a plan…

      Great story Mike!

    • That is an enormous endorsement coming from a seasoned blogger like yourself, Dana! Thank you, thank you. I just replied to a comment that so much of what you see “in” my writing and kindness comes from mother. While we didn’t have much of a relationship I took all of her best qualities and assimilated them into my life. You know I adore your admiration and affection for Phoenix. A very Merry Christmas to you, Jave and your families and friends! 🙂

    • Easy on the intervention, Chris! 🙂 My mentor and “tormentor” to always push me which I GREATLY appreciate and am indebted too you. I very possibly would have never had this wonderful blog were it not for you, our friend! It took me two years to get off my duff and start blogging. So, I will get there with the book 🙂

  25. Mike you have the smartest dog ever! Phoenix, you are so right…it was Santa. And he is real! I love your story and your Mum rocks because she was right…believe and it will come true!
    Merry Christmas xxx

    • He is definitely quite smart, Lisa…a little too smart a lot of the time ha, ha! Thank you for the kind words for him and for the post. Yes, mom was pretty cool and I’m very grateful for what she brought to my spirit for my lifetime. Merry Christmas to all of you as well! Xxx 🙂

  26. I’m so very sorry to hear about your mom, I imagine it’s got to be particularly tough around the holidays. She’s definitely instilled in you a sense of creativity, positivity, and joy, which reflects through your writing and your special bond with Phoenix. Wishing you guys the very merriest Christmas…keep believing!:-)

    • That’s so nice of you, Jess, and she absolutely brought so much to me! I know the biggest thing for me this time of year is kindness and giving. Phoenix and do our best to continually maintain that 365 days a year. As long as I surround myself with people and positive energy the holidays aren’t nearly as difficult as it might seem. A very Merry Christmas to you and your’s too, Jess! 🙂

  27. What a lovely story Mike. You captured the real Christmas – the one I am trying to still believe in – but can’t say I or my dog has ever had an experience like that. I hope the magic continues this Christmas season.

    What a treat to have found your blog. You are a breath of fresh air. Merry Christmas to you and Phoenix.

    • I’m so jazzed that you liked the story and that you’re still believing! I would imagine your pup sees so much magic and more than you would believe 🙂 What a huge compliment towards me regarding my blog. I soooo appreciate that! Merry Christmas to you and your family, Leigh! 🙂

  28. I love this Christmas story, Mike. Your line ““Never ever stop believing Mike, if you so choose, because he is real.” is s magical. I wish everyone would retain that kind of magic after childhood!

    • What a big smile your comment put on our faces, Aleah! It’s get more difficult as people get older to keep that magic and special atmosphere alive with Christmas. The true feat is keeping it true with the children to imprint them with their own wonder of anything being special both with Santa, Christmas and life in general all year long! Then they can take it from there. It’s always been my favorite story to publish each year and now I have a blog to do it with! We are so thrilled that you read and enjoyed! 🙂

  29. Oh Mike! How much I LOVED that story! You certainly are a magnificent storyteller! Your mum was an amazing person as I think that the best gift to give to children is the gift of hope, faith and the power of dreaming and believing in magic. She was so right: never stop believing Mike. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you all the best for the New Year: good health, happiness and many, many stories to share with your readers. And, to Phoenix, many hugs from Australia!

    • Thank you so very much, Rita! Yes, my mom imprinted me right spot on for Christmas and having faith. Yet, it was a bigger picture in life that her gift gave me always to believe in the magic of all things possible! Wishing all of you the very best too! So sorry for the delayed response. An accidental mistake on my part. Talk soon! 🙂

  30. What a beautiful story, Mike! I’m so glad to know you believe in Santa Claus. BTW, I like your explanation of how he’s able to make the rounds.
    So very sorry to hear about your mom. She sounds like a delightful person who left you with a wonderful and lasting legacy.
    Belated Merry Christmas and all the very best for 2014!

    • My mom was awesome in keeping that spirit, devotion, spirit and belief alive in Santa Claus always, Marcia! I’m glad you liked that explanation of the Santa “timetable” as I was actually talking to Phoenix (literally) when those words came out many years ago. It’s so wonderful to hear from you and thank you for your email I also just got, our friend! Huge compliment there! 🙂

  31. I always wrap presents for our dogs. Teddy and Thomas were the best at unwrapping all presents, even those that were not theirs. We did not teach them how to unwrap gifts, they just knew.

    I wrap presents for Misty Blue and Indy now. They will unwrap them, but not like Teddy and Thomas did. I miss that!

    • Isn’t amazing how intuitive, creative and clever they can be with everything, Diane? That’s adorable that Misty Blue and Indy get their wrapped presents and I completely understand on you missing Teddy and Thomas. You are a great doggie-mom! 🙂

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