Santa’s 25 Days of Christmas, Day 1


Santa 001 In Alaska

If you’ve seen the movie, “Back to the Future,” you know that Marty McFly had to hide the DeLorian time machine, when he went back into the past, because the locals back then wouldn’t know what to make of it.

The same is true of Santa with his reindeer and his sleigh. He’s gotta hide it well, because there are unscrupulous individuals who’d steal a sleigh of flying reindeer, without thinking twice, especially if one of ‘em has a glowing red nose. They’re worth an awful lot, because Santa’s got the only ones, so they’re very rare.

When he landed in Alaska, he found a home in the mountains, which had an old empty barn behind it. The family who lived there were on vacation in the Bahama’s and wouldn’t be back till two days before Christmas, so Santa felt Rudolf and crew would be safe there.

Santa 003 in Alaska

Usually, he can walk around any town in the world in costume in December, because people, when they see him, just assume he’s an old guy playing Santa and is on a break from the mall or the store, where he’s been having his photographs made with smiling and happy boys and girls.

And this pleases Santa, because even though he’s in full costume, he’s incognito. And everywhere he goes, people smile and wave and he knows they’re wishing he was real and he is, but he can’t tell them, because he lives for kids who believe. Making people believe is not what he’s about, they gotta do that all by themselves.

So, with his reindeer hidden and happy, Santa went to Juneau, where he stopped in at the Red Dog Saloon and ordered a Corona with a smile. The smile was because Mexico is one of his favorite countries and Corona’s his favorite beer and here he was, having one in Alaska.

Santa 002 in Alaska

A bar, he’s found, is always a good place to mingle with the locals, to get their views on life, world affairs, their affairs and what they think of Santa Claus. That last one is the one he’s mostly interested in and mostly people tell him, because of the way he’s dressed.

In the Red Dog, he met a woman, who’d just turned ninety-nine, that very day. As it was, she was celebrating with a Corona too and when Santa ordered his, she came over and struck up a conversation.

And just as she sat on the barstool next to him, a Malamute came from across the room and lay down at by Santa’s barstool.

“My name’s Lucinda.” She raised her beer to toast.

“I’m Santa.” He winked and clinked his beer with hers.

“He likes you,” Lucinda said.

“Animals generally do,” Santa said.

“You’re not just some old guy in a store bought costume.” She looked him straight in the eye. “Cowboy would never sit by you if you were. He’s loyal to a fault.”

“It appears he’s smarter than the average dog.”

“He is and he knows I’m not going to be around much longer. He knows I’ve been trying to find him a home.”

“Really.” Santa looked down at the dog. “Cowboy, you say his name is.”

“Cowboy it is.”

“Are you ill,” Santa said.

“Oh no, I’m going on a world tour. Six months in Europe. Then a month long photo safari in Kenya. Then I’m off to Australia. Who knows if I’ll ever be back."

“Ah.” Santa laughed. “So you can’t take Cowboy with you.?"

“Well, I don’t have to, do I?”

“What to you mean?”

He’s your dog now.”

And that is how Santa Claus got the newest member of his Christmas team, an Alaskan Malamute named Cowboy.


What the Pipka People had to Say about Their Alaskan Santa.

Its tundra, salmon-choked steams, icebergs majestic mountains and abundant wildlife make Alaska one of America’s most awe-inspiring states. Purchased from the Russians, who were facing difficult financial time, in 1867 by Secretary of State William Seward for $7.2 million, Alaska has proven to be one of the United States’ best investments. Tourism alone represents $830 million in annual revenue. Millions of visitors cruise, fly and hike through Alaska, hoping for a glimpse of a soaring eagle or grizzly bear.

The Klondike Gold Strike in the Yukon in 1896 – 1898 brought thousands of men, and some women, into the state to try their luck at gold mining. Soon towns and businesses were established to service the influx of miners and families. When the gold ran out and the dreams lay frozen in the snow, those who stayed were the explorers and risk-taking individuals that brought their own customs and ideas to the land. Mingling the spirit of the miners with the ancient traditions of the Eskimo and other native Indian tribes has given Alaska its unique characteristics and made it the perfect example of America’s rugged individualism. Alaska is still a “last frontier” with “pioneers” setting out to explore it every year.

The Alaskan Santa blends native culture with Christian tradition. His costume, worthy of a chief, is moose hide trimmed with beaver fur. It is elaborately decorated with beads, felt and cloth. His red sack, so full of toys, also bears a tree, a toy grizzly bear, a carved mask to honor ancestors, a drum and a toy hydroplane. In Santa’s pocket is a little toy seal, which is reminiscent of the seals that rest on floating icebergs throughout the straits of Alaska. The Alaskan Santa wouldn’t dream of travel without his best friend and wolf-like companion, the Alaskan Malamute. The affectionate and loyal dog helps Santa pull his sleigh on his way to bringing toys and gifts to children huddled in warm cozy homes all over Alaska.

Ken Douglas Wedding and Portrait Photography, 1250 Ralston Street, Reno, NV 89503 
Phone: 775 393-9529