It was the night before Christmas and times were tough for Santa Claus; in fact he was in all sorts of trouble, and the whole North Pole was all abuzz with the coming and goings at the workshop. To begin with the Elves had gone on strike for better pay and working conditions, putting down their candy canes and refusing to pick them up again until their demands are met. This of course has forced Santa to bring in scab Elves, after all he has a schedule to keep and he only has the one night to get around the world and back, even with his magical sleigh and its FTLE (Faster Than Light Engine).
Then of course there was Mrs Claus’ mother-in-law, Mildred, who had come to stay, and she enjoys nothing more than bickering and pestering her son-in-law about the life he has given her daughter, and the fact that he is lazy and only works one day out of the entire year; but in Santa’s defence it was a full day he put in. And if this wasn’t enough Rudolph the red nose reindeer had been dipping into the eggnog and was in no shape to lead Santa’s sleigh, even though the latest weather reports show severe storm fronts moving in all over the planet. Normally, Santa could turn to Frosty the Snowman for help, but this year Frosty had gone to Florida for the winter to improve his complexion; even the Good Witch of the North Pole had fallen in love and eloped with the Wicked Warlock of the South Pole.
This proposed a big conundrum for Santa and with no other option he would be force to use Stanley, Rudolph’s younger brother, who also had a red nose, but had no sense of direction, and to make matters even worse the other reindeer didn’t like Stanley at all. But in reality Santa’s reindeers, were a motley crew that didn’t always see eye to eye. We have all heard of Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen; but how many of you know that Dasher is afraid of flying; Dancer doesn’t like wearing shoes on his hooves, rather preferring tap shoes as he is an old hoofer from way back; Prancer is a complete and utter neurotic who is always letting his emotions get the better of him; as for Vixen, well, being the only female she is always looking to be better than her male counterparts, always striving to prove that female reindeer were just as good as the bucks, and even though her antlers were petite in comparison, she nonetheless has a feisty temper; then comes Comet, the prankster, who enjoys nothing better than playing practical jokes and has always dreamed of becoming the first ever stand up comic reindeer; as for Cupid, well, he is always falling in love and always trying to match up the other reindeer with suitable partners; then of course we have Donner and Blitzen, the grizzled veterans of the bunch, both tough as nails, survivors of the notorious ’67 and ‘68 Christmas runs and the Denmark incident, both legends amongst the reindeer population of the North Pole.
But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Santa, as his young grandchildren, Brett and Cindy, had come to visit, and this always cheered him up greatly. Also they would be accompanying their grandfather on his trip. Something he said he would always do when they were old enough, and now that they were seven and nine, it was time to keep that promise. So finally after coping with all the hassles and problems at the North Pole, Santa sets out, with Brett and Cindy, and his navigator, Jack Frost, to deliver his presents. But for Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Old Saint Nick, or whatever you like to call him, the trials and tribulations were just about to commence.
To begin with Stanley went off in the wrong direction and for the first time in Christmas history Santa went around the world from where he finished rather than where he started. Secondly Stanley got lost in several blizzards causing Santa’s sleigh to almost be sideswiped by two passenger airliners; causing the sleighs stealth systems to go off line which in turn lead to them showing up on the militaries radar and being mistaken for a hostile bogey, which inevitably led to jets being scrambled and heat seeking missiles fired at Santa’s sleigh. And it was only through some stunning manoeuvres on the part of Donner and Blitzen that Santa, Brett, Cindy, and Jack Frost weren’t blown to bits along with the reindeer. This of course didn’t do anything to improve Santa’s mood. It was certainly turning out to be a bad Christmas for the big guy in the red suit with the white beard.
Then there was the delivering of the presents, and although the sleigh was equipped with the latest state-of-the-art transporter technology, there were always a few houses where Santa had to still climb down the chimney. Something he loathed as many had fires burning in them and more often than not always ended with him being chased out of the house as an intruder, sometimes poor old Santa was even shot at, just for doing his job. And who can forget the Christmas of ’93 where Santa was arrested for breaking and entering. And you couldn’t always land the sleigh on the roof, which meant it had to be parked in the street and that always resulted in parking tickets.
But the biggest problem facing Santa Claus was that no one believes in him anymore. And so Santa actually begins to question Christmas; asking what was the point? As far as he could tell no one believed in him or Christmas. In many places it was actually becoming politically incorrect to even celebrate this one day of the year. And the fact that no one believed in him meant that he was facing retirement, hanging up his hat for good, but the thing that struck Santa the most was that he felt no joy, the jolly had all gone out of him.
It was at this point, only half way around the world that Santa decides to quit, to throw his toy sack into the ring, to turn the sleigh around and head back home, even though Stanley didn’t know which way that was. And folks, Santa would have ended his long career then and there, if not for his grandchildren. You see it was Brett and Cindy that restored Santa’s faith in Christmas. It didn’t matter whether it was politically correct or not, or whether the children believed that Santa actually delivered their presents or not. All that mattered was the joy that was felt by the child on Christmas morning when they unwrapped that present. A blissful moment in time where all the problems in the world are no more, that one day of the year where wishes really do come true .
And so this didn’t turn out to be the final ride of Santa and his reindeer after all. In fact, buoyed on by the unconditional love of his grandchildren, and with a hearty “Merry Christmas”, Santa finished his route, delivering the last present just as the sun dawned on Christmas day which also coincided with the rekindling of the jolliness within Santa’s heart and soul once more.
So next time good people, when you are thinking what a hassle Christmas is, spare a thought for Santa Claus in this modern and fast paced age, for no matter how tough you think you have it, the guy in the red suit has it a lot tougher.
Copyright © 2011 by Peter Jessop