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Ralph Reviews

Ralph reviews a rather magical workshop in the North Pole

Ohh, I love December, the run up to Christmas is just so exciting.  I love the rigmarole of putting up the Christmas tree – mum puts the baubles on, I take them off, she chases me round the tree, puts the baubles back on and so forth until many hours later the tree is decorated and resplendent with its twinkling lights.  I love the subterfuge of presents hidden around the house, finding them all wrapped and still not knowing what they are, and I especially love my carob advent calendar – how I exercise restraint and open only one window every day I will never know!

This year the build up to the big day ascended to an entirely new level. After lots of whispering in corners and long-distance phone calls, I was told that the subject of this week’s Ralph’s Review would be a very very special one – I was to have access to somewhere where no human is allowed to go, Santa’s actual workshop.  I could hardly believe my ears and gave them a good scratch just to check that they were working properly!  It appeared that they were as dad went on to explain that the only way to get to Santa’s grotto was to gaze into a special snow globe, then close my eyes and wish really hard.  If my wish was powerful enough, I would be transported to the North Pole where I would visit Santa’s workshop. 

My eyes nearly popped out my head as the said snow globe appeared in front of me.  I stared intently at Father Christmas’ well-loved face, squeezed my eyes tightly shut and wished as hard as I could “Take me to the North Pole, take me to the North Pole”. 

father christmas snow globe

A gentle breeze brushed my face, it became stronger and stronger until it was whirling round my whole body and my ears felt like miniature propellers.  Suddenly it stopped and cautiously I opened one eye, then the other.  I blinked to make sure, but yes, there I was stood in a forest, up to my nose in pure white snow.  Boy was I glad that mum had wrapped me up in my warmest coat and scarf and my paws were wedged firmly into my pug boots. 

In front of me I saw a quaint wooden building glowing with soft twinkling lights, beckoning me out of the darkness.  As I crunched my way through the powder fine snow I had no doubt that this welcoming place was Santa’s home.  I shivered with delight, I could hardly believe my eyes and my mind did zoomies imagining what I would find inside this most magical of homes.

a wooden chalet in a snowy forest

As I approached and made my way up a low flight of steps to a veranda, the front door opened and I was greeted by a rather charming elf – her name was Venetia and she informed me she was a poodle-elf. 

a poodle in an elf outfit

I was delighted to learn that there were elf dogs too at Santa’s workshop, Venetia explained that the elf dogs worked on all the gifts for the world’s dogs.  She went on to say that Santa believes that there is no one better placed to understand what make dogs happy than a dog.  I nodded vigorously, that made perfect sense.  Venetia went on to explain that there are also elf cats, elf parrots, even elf Shetland ponies and so on – who make all the toys for their respective kind.  Wow, this Santa Claus guy really sounds like he runs a tight ship I thought to myself. 

As we wandered through an entrance hall with the biggest Christmas tree I have ever seen, I glanced to one side and saw a bright red post box.  Ah yes, said Venetia, that is where all the letters to Santa get delivered, then they go to the sorting office where they are sorted into boys, girls, dogs, cats etc…  and then they arrive in each respective workshop.

festive room with christmas tree

santa's postbox 

Just at that moment we turned a corner and I found myself in a massive hall, full of activity with elves, elf dogs, elf cats and elf Shetland ponies busily moving backwards and forwards like a highly choreographed dance.  The air was filled with their laughter and chatter and was underpinned with a melody of joyful Christmas carols ( I am sure I also heard Wham’s Last Christmas at one stage). 

This was the sorting office, off from this were a myriad of workshops where all the toys were made.  Peaking into each one, taking care not to disturb the elves who were working so hard, I saw magical spaces filled with the thoughts, dreams and hopes of all the children and animals of the world. 

christmas workshop

The last workshop we went into was slightly different, it had a more sombre tone and, instead of gifts and toys, it was filled with food, warm clothes and snuggly bedding for both people and animals.  What is this workshop? I asked Venetia, this, she said, is the place where we try to make the world just a little better for all the displaced people and stray animals – everyone should feel a little kindness, she said, especially at Christmas.  I looked around and suddenly the real sentiment behind Christmas became even more clear to me – kindness, giving and thoughts of others. 

Feeling rather humble and with my mind full of all the gifts I would likely receive on Christmas Day, I made a vow to give at least some of them away to animals who are less fortunate than me.  Lost in my thoughts I absentmindedly tripped over something on my way back to the entrance hall.  Looking round I saw it was a rather large foot encased in a very shiny black boot.  I took a sharp intake of breath as I gazed up and found myself staring straight into the Big Man’s twinkling eyes – “Watch where you’re going little fella” he said with a wink before turning and walking away.  In a bit of a daze, I watched him disappear from sight and knew I would remember those words for as long as I live.

As Venetia gently steered me back out of Santa’s workshop into the snow, she reminded me to look into the snow globe, close my eyes and wish as hard as I could to be back home with my family, and the next time I opened my eyes, there I was, surrounded by all the people who love me and I realised just what a lucky little pug I am. 

Happy Christmas everyone, I BELIEVE

Love Ralph X

PS if you would like to donate a little Christmas cheer to animals who are not as lucky as me, I thought I would make it easy for you! Click on the links below to donate to your charity of choice:


Dog’s Trust

Many Tears animal rescue

Or smaller local charities:

Warrington animal welfare

North Clwyd Animal Rescue

Safe cats Rescue (for our other furry friends)


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