Frequently Asked Questions
What is the AUDIO BOOK ON CD story about?
Christmas is coming… Tis the season to be jolly… Yes, Yes, Yes – Ho, Ho, Ho
What will Christmas be like if Santa Claus can’t make it to Lindbergh Mountain?
Kristen is worried that Santa will not be able to find her family’s old run-down cabin on Lindbergh Mountain. Her father told her that he read in the Lindbergh Mountain Gazette that due to dangerous weather conditions, it would be impossible for Santa to come this year.
But, just the day before, Kristen overheard Santa talking to Mrs. Claus. Kristen had gone to see him again at Feeney’s Department store. She changed her mind about everything on her original list. On this Christmas Eve last-minute visit, she told him that she only wanted coal, even though she was a perfectly behaved little girl.
Santa was puzzled and curious about this unusual request. And she heard him say something about giving her “The Secret of the Reindeer.”
When she awoke on Christmas morning, Kristen noticed a pile of fluffy reindeer fur, next to a note from Santa lying on the floor. And the fur seemed to have magical powers.
She couldn’t wait another minute to wake her mom and dad and her brother, Ryan. Kristen tapped the fluffy reindeer fur. The living room was aglow with the magic of Santa and his workshop. Elves ran to and fro, sleigh bells rang and bags of shiny coins appeared. Christmas on Lindbergh Mountain was definitely the best ever!
What are the ages of the main characters?
Kristen was nine and Ryan was six.
What is the time period of the story?
Christmas of 1996
How long have you been writing?
I began writing in 1989 when I was doing a home day care business to supplement my family’s income. My first book was Start Your Own At-Home Child Care Business which was published by Doubleday. I am the author of 7 books.
Would you like to share your age?
I am 60 years old.
What motivated you to write this book?
In 1996, my husband was helping our ninth-grade daughter Robin with a high school project so I took the other three kids out to look at a Christmas display at Feeney’s Nursery in Feasterville, PA.
On the drive home, I started making up a story about a family who loved their home on Holly Hill Road but their Dad no longer had a job and they had to move to an unheated cabin on Lindbergh Mountain. Why Lindbergh Mountain? We passed a road by that name so I just made that location part of my fictional story. I passed another road called Chinquapin so that become part of the story, too.
For a few days following that night, my daughter, Katelyn, age 12, and I added details to the story. We sat at the computer in our laundry room and typed it up. She suggested that we make it like a TOUCH AND FEEL STORY so we bought trinkets from McCrory’s variety store and local thrift stores. We made all kinds of little things that would go along with the story.
I made the two main characters Kristen and Ryan, who were my real life youngest children, Kristen was 9 and Ryan was 6.
Kristen had just stopped believing in Santa Claus and we wanted to make sure that the fantasy continued for Ryan. So as a family, we really got into MAKING THE STORY “REAL.”
We had the book typeset and printed 137 copies in a spiral binding and the pages were printed on a vintage textured tan paper.
Then for the next week, we all glued the “touch and feel items” into the 137 books.
I borrowed my uncle’s Santa Claus outfit, and stuffed pillows under the red velvet suit. Then, I asked my father to take pictures of me feeding the reindeer at a reindeer farm, not far from our house. (The kids were in school.)
On the cover of the 137 “home-made on the kitchen table” books, there was a picture of Santa (me).
Inside the front cover, there was a sheet with color copies of photos of the four kids and our dog, Cinnamon; and three color photos of Santa feeding the reindeer. Also included was a very “doctored-looking and old looking map” that Santa had drawn for his reindeer to follow to get to our house. It was yellowed, a tiny bit torn, and even had a little “coffee stain” on it, a bit smeared to make it look like it had been weathered on the journey from the North Pole. I guess that it was my way of trying to make it appear authentic.
On the bottom of the map, it said:
Directions for Santa’s Reindeer: Fly around the moon. Turn left at Jupiter. Go past 42 stars. Land very carefully on the roof of Kristen and Ryan’s house. From, Santa Claus.
On the first page of the original “home-made on the kitchen table” was a color photo of Kristen and Ryan, a Wal-Mart type photo and another one of them sitting on Santa’s lap from the previous year.
We used dollops of White-Out to make the pages of the book look like snow had fallen and stained the pages. And for the pieces of coal that were glued to the pages, well, actually they were pebbles from our driveway, sprayed with black paint.
I bought an old fake fur coat from a thrift shop and we cut swatches of “reindeer fur.” I bought a variety of shiny ribbons, plastic ornaments and pointy icicle decorations.
We sprayed painted copper pennies with gold paint. (I now understand that is considered illegal but in the name of Making Santa Come Alive for little kids…..probably a good reason to make them shiny and glittery.)
And we cut lengths of rope into 4-inch pieces because in Christmas on Lindbergh Mountain, the reindeer pawed at rope. The rope was needed to keep the door of the cabin secured.
We had cotton balls to signify Santa’s beard and I bought buckles and fancy buttons that were the elves’ buttons; of course, the big buckle was from Santa’s suit.
We also had jingle bells, small Christmas stockings, lollipops, tinsel, and little tiny plastic bags with birdseed which was our version of reindeer feed.
And swatches of felt fabric purchased from Joann’s Fabrics, supposedly part of Santa’s suit.
Pinecones from the local park were sprayed gold….as if they were special from the North Pole. And each book contained a large bell attached to a green ribbon, a big bell, which we said was a reindeer bell.
I purchase green and red plaid tablecloths, cut them up and called them Pieces of a Nutcracker Blanket which was mentioned in the story.
After a week or two of going full-fledged into the project to keep Christmas real and alive for Ryan, and spending about $1000 on “Mom’s little project,” I wondered what should we do with them now?
I thought that we could save a few books for our own holiday gift-giving and then donate the rest to inmates at a local correctional facility. Maybe then they would have something to share with their children.
Or perhaps, we could take them to a hospital for children.
I sent a copy of the Gallagher family’s Touch and Feel book, Christmas on Lindbergh Mountain and a burlap bag purchased at the Dollar Store filled with the above SANTA CLUES, to CNN in NYC.
Upon receipt of our birdseed, coal, swatches of reindeer fur and the other goodies as well as our story, a producer said that they would like to go with us. I guess they were curious as to why a family would do such a far-out project.
Only one problem, when I called the two places that we wanted to visit, we could not get permission to visit. Why? Our books were not child-safe…so many little pieces that would be choking hazards. And we found out that you can’t just call a prison and say,”Hi, my name is Patricia Gallagher and my kids and I would like to come over and bring some gifts for the inmates can share with their kids.”
So, I gave most of them to the kids in the religious class that I taught at church, as well as to Kristen’s 4th grade classmates, cousins and neighbors.
Over the years, Ryan loved reading the book to me and me to him. So, about two months ago…….. although he is no longer my little 6- year- old son…and is now standing 6’6 and 21-years-old, I thought that it would be nice to resurrect the project and share it with a whole new generation of parents.
This was the note that I sent to CNN in 1996, along with the Touch and Feel book:
Note from Mom:
This is a family holiday project. My children and I made 137 storybooks and gift bags filled with Santa Clues to donate to children in hospitals and prisons so that the inmates could have something to share with their children when they come to visit. We all contributed to writing the story, typed it up, and glued in the photos, pictures and gathered the Santa Clues. Santa Clues are little items that Santa leaves for the kids to discover in the morning. We had fun making them…
301 Holly Hill Road
Richboro, PA 18914
Robin, Katelyn, Kristen and Ryan – ages 13, 12, 9 and 6.
PS: The photos on the reverse side are of my children and is me dressed as Santa at a reindeer farm in Warrington.
WE NO LONGER LIVE AT THE ABOVE ADDRESS.
This is the poem that we wrote to explain why Kristen “invented” Santa Clues.
Here’s a little sack of clues
That brings the magic of Santa to you.
It shows the kids that Santa’s been there
And reindeer really DO fly through the air.
The elves come along on Christmas Eve night
To help with the toys that were put on the flight.
So, on Christmas Eve
Drop these clues around the house
To show that it isn’t always
As quiet as a mouse.
I used Kristen and Ryan as the main characters because I had written a book in 1988 and named it Robin’s Play and Learn Book, an activity book for moms of pre-schoolers, which was named for my daughter, Robin. Katelyn had gotten her claim to fame when she wrote a letter to the Oprah Winfrey Show and asked if our family could be guests on the show. (I had just written Raising Happy Kids on a Reasonable Budget.) It worked. They filmed a couple of minute segment at our home in PA and then flew Katelyn and me out to be guests on the show. So, I guess by naming the characters for Kristen and Ryan, I felt that I had been fair to all of the kids.
Where did you grow up?
King of Prussia, PA. I attended Villanova University, a degree in Education, an MBA from Saint Joseph’s University.
What community/town/city do you now live in or near?
What are the four children doing now and how old are they?
The three daughters are social workers; ages 28, 27 and 24. My son is 21 and recently worked for Disney World in Florida.
What do you hope to accomplish with the audio book Christmas on Lindbergh Mountain – The Untold Story of Santa on Christmas Eve and The Gallagher Family Santa Clues Pack?
Our family loved the magic of Christmas. I want to share some of our family traditions and our special story that other families can enjoy year after year. (Intergenerational and cross-cultural activities.) I hope that my project will become a family classic story enjoyed like our kids loved The Polar Express.
In my generation, the classic Christmas Eve reading was of Twas the Night Before Christmas. The Christmas Fun on a Budget Ideas which are on my website are things that grandparents, parents, and the kids can do to create a magical experience. For me, as a mother whose four children are now adults, creating the project was nostalgic. My goal is to put a little more magic in the family experience; to have delightful new ways to celebrate that will hold lasting memories.
Step-by-step instructions for plenty of getting ready for Christmas fun – a great way to kick-off the holiday season.
Inspire your family to be creative and have fun making Santa Clues. (Use your imagination and make your own exciting keepsake traditions.)
A great way to have cherished time with your children.
The message of the story contains a heartwarming lesson.
Listen to the audio book as a family, sipping hot cocoa…..listen and imagine!
Make a pot of soup with your family, like Kristen’s mom did in the story.
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- An Enchanting Family Christmas Story
- About the Story
- About Patricia Gallagher
- BIO Author Patricia Gallagher
- Free Downloads
- What started out as a make-believe story…
- Vintage Christmas Cards
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What People Are Saying
- Contact Us
- 58 Foods Santa Likes
- 20 Ways Santa Says ‘Merry Christmas’
- 13 Clues Left Behind by Santa
- 8 Ideas for Gifts on a Budget
- 26 Ideas for Christmas on a Budget
- 33 Family Traditions