Mrs. Claus is Santa’s No. 1 helper. (Keili Bartlett / The Northern View)

Mrs. Claus is Santa’s No. 1 helper. (Keili Bartlett / The Northern View)

Santa’s number one helper

Mrs. Claus met Santa 11 years ago — and the rest is history

When I meet Mrs. Claus in Prince Rupert, she’s in the middle of writing a Christmas cake recipe to email to her niece. Not all of her correspondence is electronic though, since the Clauses still receive plenty of handwritten letters from children through the United Church.

She pulls out a letter from the tall stack, and shows me a little girl asking for a pony.

Now that her own kids are grown up, Mrs. Claus’s job is to help spread holiday cheer.

“It’s been very pleasant to be Mrs. Claus,” she said with a jolly smile. “It’s just exciting and you feel rewarded by the kids being so happy.”

Christmas may be marked on calendars as December 25, but for the couple in red-and-white-trimmed clothing, the holiday lasts longer than just one day — usually it’s at least several weeks. When Mr. and Mrs. Claus come to town, they park the reindeers at the airport where they can graze near the runway, then it’s time for Winterfest. For 11 years, Mrs. Claus has been by Santa’s side at the annual parade, breakfast and holiday parties in Prince Rupert.

Newspaper clippings of her and Santa are pinned to the walls of Jim West’s sign shop, where Santa works the rest of the year. They show the couple waving to crowds, eyes bright and cheeks rosy, and standing in front of a helicopter.

Mrs. Claus’s first ever helicopter ride was more than a decade ago, when she and Santa would trade in the sleigh to visit the children living in nearby lighthouses. Although there aren’t kids there anymore, Mrs. Claus doesn’t need a helicopter to share her love of the season.

The holiday power couple met when Santa needed more helpers, and Mrs. Claus decided to lend a hand in the North Pole. The job involved a lot of travel, delivering presents all over the world in a whirlwind, magical night. Somewhere among the stars, they fell in love. To this day, Mrs. Claus is Santa’s No. 1 helper.

“I help out with the gifts and, of course, the candy canes,” Mrs. Claus said with a ho-ho-ho. “It’s been so delightful to bring joy to everyone.”

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When I ask her why the couple spends so much time during the holiday rush in Rupert, she said there’s a lot less snow here than in the North Pole, and it’s closer to Hawaii, where the Clauses like to vacation every year — after the 25th, of course. It might be surprising to hear how much Mrs. Claus loves the beach, but she said it’s the best place to warm up after a busy winter.

The holiday season is her favourite time of year. Even though the north coast community’s days are darker, the people come together to brighten spirits.

“All the decorations, all the lights, the smell of all the fresh trees when you put them up. It’s so nice to see the faces on the kids, because they’re so excited and they just light up.

“Christmas is fun for kids of all ages,” she said with a twinkle in her eye.

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keili.bartlett@thenorthernview.com

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