The North Pole bustled and hummed with the sound of hundreds of elves calmly working through the last Christmas orders, while inside Santa’s house Constance Claus tried not to panic. The cause : she had no gift for Santa. Eleven hundred years of buying a present for someone makes it hard to surprise them.
Her dilemma had her in a snappy humour. It was noticed by Enda, chief elf. When he stopped to enquire for the fourth time in an hour if Constance was ok, it took all of her patience not to snap, “Course I am,” somehow she calmly nodded and smiled.
Time was running out, only twelve days to Christmas, she thought, why that is a mere flash of a few moments no time at all to create an exotic fun surprising gift. Constance looked at Summer who was lying at her feet snoozing and dreaming. The cat’s tail twitched now and then as though she were re enacting a dream.
For the next week Constant spent a lot of her time considering a present for the champion present giver. It was tough, but she knew if she persisted she would finally catch that elusive idea. With only three days to Christmas day she was a nervous wreck.
Finally exhaustion took hold, perhaps I should meditate on it, Constance settled down in front of the fire and closing her eyes let her mind drift. There was an awful lot of Christmas in their past, but as they flashed about in her head, time after time she returned to one Christmas. “ Problem solved”, she whispered to Summer.
Constance didn’t delay she went straight to the kitchen and began to cook and create. She worked at a frantic pace, not stopping to talk to Rudolph when he wandered in looking for a carrot. He reported back to the other reindeer “sorry guys looks like supper is going to be boring hay tonight.”
Enda overheard Rudolph’s comments and went to investigate
Constance first became aware of Enda’s presence when she counted the star shaped ginger cookies. “I could have sworn I cut out five dozen, where did the last twelve go?” She stared hard at Enda who was sitting on a stool at the table, the empty space in front of him provided the answer to Constance’s question.
“You ate a dozen?” She narrowed her eyes. “Help me make some more. I don’t have enough yet!”
Enda did as he was told and though he asked why they were baking such a lot of cookies, Constance refused to answer. When the final batch of cookies were baking, Enda slipped away to report to the elves. “She has lost the plot,”
Constance locked the door of her workshop. “It is top secret, a Santa surprise. “ She told everyone and warned them under pain of being banished from the Christmas dining table not to go into the workshop.
Late on Christmas Eve , Constance seemed fussier than usual.
“Constance, are you okay dear, you seem a little frazzled, ouch, Enda watch where you are shoving those extra toys.” Santa grimaced as the elf ignored him and pushed another train set into the gap in the back seat. “I wish the elves would do as I ask and sprinkle more magic dust on the toys, wouldn’t it be much better and safer if we made everything teeny tiny, just for the trip,” he finished.
“We tried that before, “ Sam replied. He was at that moment balanced on Santa’s hat and attempting to tie a sack to the back of Santa’s seat, to anchor it.
Santa blushed and sighed, “It wasn’t my fault the magic wore off. The town square looked huge, but it wasn’t big enough to deal with the exploding growing gifts.. Lucky the reindeer were in top form and we got to hide them all on the roof tops. It was a long night.”
“It was for Bob he had to keep jumping off the sleigh to retrieve lost toys.” Sam slid down Santa’s hat, onto his shoulder, arms and tumbled onto the ground before walking away, happy his work was done.
“Well there is only so many times you can wind the clock back, so, don’t have any accidents this year.” Constance scolded as she handed him his warm gloves and fastened a hard hat over his santa hat, just in case. She wondered if she should sprinkle some pixie dust on him for a little luck then deciding it wouldn’t do any harm threw a whole sackful over him.
“Hoi,” Santa roared. The reindeers took it as his usual roar for go, leapt into action.
Constance turned about and raced back indoors.
That is strange Enda thought. Usually Constance stood watching the Reindeers fly into the sky and waited to see if their flight path would create a heart shape or a star. Tonight it was a glowing heart.
Constance finished her surprise with minutes to spare. The sun was peeping into the workshop when she made a discovery. Her present was too big to fit through the door.
“Bother, and triple bother. Now I will have to get help.” Summer stared at Constance and seemed to be smirking.
With a sigh Constance headed off in search of help. Minutes later her helpful elves, Enda, Slim, Noel and Sam stood and asked, “Why?”
“Because…well….it doesn’t matter but he will know, if he hasn’t forgotten.” Constance said with a racing heart and hoped that indeed Nick would remember.
“It won’t fit through the door,” Slim declared as he took out his tape measure and measured it for the fourth time.
“We know that you idiot.” His brothers sang at him.
“Perhaps we could take it apart and then put it back together.”
“No time”. Constance said.
“Bother, we will have to try the weave dance”. The elves sang and leapt into action.
Constance stared at them as they began to run around the giant gift. “If we run fast enough it will shrink.” They sang.
She grimaced. “ No it won’t but you guys will.”
They stopped running. “No. We are small enough.”
“Pixie dust” Enda declared and ran to collect some. It took a while as the pixies’ were having a party before Christmas day and were not inclined to stop partying to work up a little magic dust even if it was for Constance.
However at last, with ten minutes until Santa’s arrival, they finished.
With a giant yawn each of the elves raced back to bed.
Constance sat and nibbled on a candy cane. She was too anxious to sleep.
There was a clatter of hooves, a few tired snorts mainly from Santa, announced their return. She went to meet him and help get the reindeer settled. Bob, she saw was curled up asleep on the now very empty sack.
“Job done, all I need is a nice quiet day ..” Santa began and sighed, “but I am not going to get that am I?”
He produced a package from his pocket and handed it to Constance. She smiled, twinkled and whispered,” thank you but first I want you to see your present.”
Santa seemed to shrug off the tiredness as he walked quickly to the hall, he pushed open the door and stopped. There in the corner of the great hall sat a Santa Gingerbread House!
He put his hand on his belly and laughed, “Does it, will it?”
She smiled and said, “try it.”
Santa didn’t hesitate hand in hand with Constance he walked through the door of the gingerbread house and immediately a shimmering light surrounded it. Ten minutes later the hammering of hundreds of elves feet announced their arrival into the great hall.
The excitement created by the gingerbread house was understandable as elves adore gingerbread however when they tried to reach out to eat a piece their hands hit an invisible wall. Inside Santa sat beside Constance with a grin on his face. “A perfect present. You remembered what I wished for in the beginning and have been afraid to utter since… a few hours of rest in a peaceful silent room with not a yammering elf in sight. How long will it last?”
“As long as we don’t eat a piece.” She sighed and hoped the elves would forgive her but perhaps the dozens of gingerbread cookies sitting on the tables in the hall would help.
Afterall if Santa couldn’t have his perfect present once in a millennium then what chance would anyone have of ever getting their perfect gift?
The Christmas photo shoot was a disaster, all were grumpy, refusing to pose, the reason? I was working and late home.
Have a great and peaceful Christmas everyone..