We're into December, so the Christmas stories can officially begin! And if you've got children to buy Christmas presents for, what better gift than a book? (shameless plug...)
By the way, I'm aware I have readers from both sides of the Atlantic, so I'll be switching between "Father Christmas" and "Santa," in my stories over the coming weeks, just so that everyone feels at home. ;)
The Hole In Santa's Sack
Snow began to fall outside the workshop, turning the world a sparkling white. Santa yawned and helped himself to an extra mince pie for the long journey ahead. "All around the world in one night, eh?" He smiled to the elves, as they wrapped present after present in beautiful, crisp wrapping paper. He shook his head and laughed. "Never gets any easier, I can tell you!"
When the last present was finally wrapped, Santa began loading them into his famous, old sack. Finally, he dragged the enormous sack to his sleigh and climbed aboard. "Ready for the off?" He asked his trusty reindeer. As they all nodded in response, Santa gave the command and whoosh, they shot up into the starry sky.
For hours, they flew around the world, delivering presents to all the sleeping boys and girls. But each time Santa returned to the sleigh, he found himself worried. His sack was getting lighter. Of course, it always got lighter as he delivered presents, but he wasn't even halfway through the job and the sack already felt much too light. "I hope I haven't forgotten any presents," Santa sighed, as he threw the sack into the sleigh and climbed back into the driving seat. The sleigh took off once more, but when it landed again, Santa was sure something wasn't right. He delivered his next few presents, but as he returned to the sleigh, he glanced behind him and to his horror, he saw a trail of neatly-wrapped gifts, strewn across the snowy ground.
"Oh!" Santa gasped, as he rushed to collect what he'd dropped. "I knew this sack felt lighter than usual!" He hurried back to the sleigh where, to his horror, he realised that the sack he'd been using had a big hole in the bottom. He blinked at the hole and shook his head, sadly. "I bet I've lost hundreds of presents," he sighed. "I'm going to have to go back and look for them all, aren't I?"
Rudolph and the other reindeer all gazed back at him, with glum expressions on their faces.
So, Santa and the reindeer turned and began heading back in the direction from which they'd come. The trouble was, the snow was falling so hard and so fast, it was almost impossible to make out any of the presents they'd lost on the way; they were being buried by the soft flakes as they fell to Earth. The sleigh landed gently on the roof of a small house and for a while, everyone sat in miserable silence.
"This is useless," Santa said, at last. "Christmas may as well be cancelled!"
"Cancelled?!" A small voice cried.
Santa spun round. A small boy was leaning out of a rooftop window. His big eyes looked sad and Santa swallowed, hard.
"Well... It's just..." Santa sighed and held up his sack. It was almost empty, now. Presents had been falling out as the sleigh flew through the sky. "I've lost the presents," he explained. "What am I going to tell everyone? Whatever will the boys and girls think, when they wake up in the morning?"
The boy shook his head. "They can still have some presents," he smiled. "You could make some! Or you could write them little notes... Who wouldn't want a letter from the real Santa Claus?!"
Santa frowned. "But... They've asked for dolls and footballs and remote-controlled cars," he said. "I happen to know that you're called Alex and you've asked for a robot toy." He glanced into his near-empty sack. "I had it for you, as well..."
"But now I've met you!" Alex exclaimed. "I've actually met Santa! Nobody else I know can say that. If you leave a little homemade gift for everyone else, with a handwritten note, or a photo to prove it's you, I promise it'll make every little boy and girl's day." He grinned. "Besides, I hate to burst your bubble, but presents aren't the only thing that kids like about Christmas!"
Santa cocked his head to one side. "Really?!"
"Of course not!" Alex continued. "We get to see our family and friends, eat loads of delicious food, play games, sing special Christmas songs, go to parties, stay up late... It's brilliant."
Santa scratched his long, white beard. "But... The presents are a big part of it, aren't they?"
Alex smiled. "We do love getting presents," he confessed. "But the best present of all is being with the people you love most and getting to have lots of fun with them. Please don't cancel Christmas just because you've lost some presents," he begged. "There's so much more to it!"
Santa scrambled around the back of his sleigh. He pulled out bits of sparkling material, shiny snowflakes and other magical jumble. "I could probably make some little gifts from these things," he grinned. "And I can write every little boy and girl a letter... if I start right now!"
"I can help!" Alex beamed. "And that can be your present to me. After all, what other kid can say that they helped Santa save Christmas?!"
Santa smiled. "Are you sure that makes up for not getting the robot?"
Alex nodded. "It's better than the robot."
Together, the pair worked on the brand new presents, until Santa's sack was full to the brim again. Santa gazed down at his watch. "If I set off right now, I think I'll just about get all of these delivered," he said. "Thank you for helping me," he told Alex. "You've given me an amazing gift." Santa took off his famous red hat, still glistening with freshly fallen snow. "Here," he offered. "I want you to have this. That way, you'll never forget tonight."
Alex flung his arms around Santa's neck. "Thank you so much!"
He put the hat on his head and watched as Santa's sleigh rose high into the frosty air. "Ho, ho, ho!" Santa called. "Merry Christmas!"
And as Alex slipped back through the window, into his warm and cosy bedroom, he knew it would be a merry Christmas - with or without his toy robot.