Once upon a time — well, actually, last Saturday — a group of elves picked up 60 underprivileged children at the YWCA downtown and brought them to Spokane International Airport. There they boarded a special plane that would take them to the North Pole. They were off to meet Santa himself.
After takeoff, pilot Bill Angove asked the children and elves to recite a poem to give the plane the magic it needed to reach the North Pole.
“Off to the North Pole Off we fly To dreams come true To Spokane — goodbye.
With my elf beside me We’ll hold on tight We’re going to see Santa Flying into the night!”
A few twists and turns later, the plane touched down at the North Pole — which, surprisingly, looked quite a bit like Spokane — and Santa and Mrs. Claus welcomed the visitors. One child yanked on Santa’s beard and confirmed that it was real.
Elves passed out freshly baked chocolate chip cookies as the children got their faces painted, received checkups to determine their Christmas spirit, watched a magic show, played with trains, made ornaments, visited Santa’s flight center and picked out new pajamas. They also got to pet and feed reindeers Dancer and Prancer.
And of course, the children got the chance to tell Santa personally what they wanted for Christmas. Holden, 7, said he wanted Star Wars Legos and later, looking inside his gift bag, found the very same Legos.
Before the night ended, Mrs. Claus read The Polar Express to the children and elves. She picked the story because it touched on something important to her and Santa — what it means to “believe.”
Afterward, the children boarded the plane for the return flight, bouncing with glee and believing in the magic of the holidays.
Each year, Santa Claus invites to the North Pole a group of underprivileged Inland Northwest children who he’s “heard need a special night.” To find deserving children, he works with Northwest North Pole Adventures at spokanefantasyflight.com.