- an exclusive by Noella Designs -
Long ago and way away, in a place called the North Pole, there lived a huge family of elves who loved to make toys. The oldest and wisest of them all was a roly-poly, jolly old elf named Santa Claus. They all shared the red-clapboard castle on the right side of Christmas Lane just at the edge of Christmas Village and were very happy together.
In December of every year, all of the elves gathered the toys from the storage vaults and prepared them for delivery to the children on their list. Some elves did the wrapping, some elves did the bowing and some were much better at napping than stacking. When all packages were glittering and finished just so, they were placed into the delivery sacks on the flying reindeer...each carried two, you know.
By the crisp glow of Christmas morning's light, each and every child on the list would find toys waiting on their doorstep. Dolls, Teddy Bears, Drums and Fire Engines alike, filled every village and every child with joy.
For a long time, the reindeer had made their yearly deliveries in the same way. Since they could fly like the wind, leap over tall, snow-covered mountains with a single bound, drop presents on doorsteps as gently as a feather and be back to Christmas Village in the blink of an eye, no one denied they were perfect for the task. But as time went by, the list of children requesting toys grew and grew until there were so many, the reindeer and elves didn't know what to do.
You'd probably say "Just get more reindeer", but that's not so easily done. For you see, Christmas Village reindeer are very special. In fact, you might call them magical. And magical reindeer don't earn their flying abilities until they have done good deeds for mankind for a total of one hundred years.
So, with no new reindeer available, everyone thought and thought but could think of naught. "We should ask Santa!" a little pink-cheeked elf shouted as he tugged at his from-head-to-toe green outfit.
All of the elves gathered before Santa that day and asked what they should do. Santa shivered beneath his old, flimsy coat as the cold North wind blew through the gaps in the castle walls. Then, laying a finger aside his cherry-red nose, his face lit with a smile. "The sleigh!" he exclaimed. "It's big enough to carry all of the presents and more. With the reindeer pulling it, one trip should be enough."
Every elf clapped and cheered. Then one elf whispered to another, "But who's going to deliver the presents?" A small elf wearing a red suit and bells on his shoes and hat stepped forward. "I think Santa should deliver the presents!" All agreed. After all, he was the oldest and wisest of them all.
Santa tugged at his tattered coat once more. Mrs. Claus quickly sewed another patch on the elbow. "Santa," she lovingly started.
"Why don't you wear the beautiful coat we gave you? I haven't seen it since last Christmas Day."
Santa looked away from her eyes and said, "A man came through Christmas Village last year. He was wearing worn out clothing and worn through shoes. I could see him shivering in the cold even though he tried to shield himself from the wind and prying eyes beside a stone wall."
Mrs. Claus interrupted. "So you gave him your brand new warm winter coat, didn't you?"
Santa looked deep into her understanding eyes. "Yes, my love I did give him my coat...and anything else I could convince him to take."
She finished stitching the last stitch of the newest patch and patted her husband on the arm. "Well, perhaps one year you'll be able to keep a coat for yourself."
It was almost midnight on Christmas Eve. All of the presents were loaded onto the shiny sleigh, the reindeer were harnessed and anxious and the entire village was filled with the sound of elves singing Christmas carols. Santa stood beside the sleigh with his arm around his wife.
"It will be a cold ride tonight." she warned pulling his old coat tight.
Santa patted her arm lovingly, "Don't worry," he said, "the reindeer are rested and will fly fast as can be. I'll deliver the toys and be back before Christmas dawns," he promised. "Keep the plum pudding warm for me."
Santa kissed her goodbye, then stepped up into the sleigh. To his surprise, he saw a large, unfamiliar wrapped and bowed box bearing a gift tag with his name on it. Giggling and excitement erupted from the waiting elves.
Santa quickly shredded the paper and lifted the lid. His face lit with a glorious expression as glittering stars swirled out of the box and wrapped around him from boot to head.
Within a moment, Santa was dressed in a magnificent red velvet suit and hat that were trimmed in beautiful white fur and accented by gold buttons and stitched with gold thread. A unified gasp of admiration filled the room. Then, out of nowhere, a page of very old parchment floated gently to the floor in front of Mrs. Claus. She bent over to retrieve the page.
"What does it say, dear?" Santa asked with great curiosity.
She began reading the letter. "It says: We have created this special suit just for you. It will remain new as long as your heart continues to find the good in all men." She looked at Santa with disbelief and then continued. "And it is signed...The Christmas Elf Society." Suddenly, the parchment disintegrated into dust and blew away. A tiny, blonde-haired elf shyly approached Santa and whispered: "We each donated a pinch of Christmas spirit, a twist of love and a shake of elf magic...isn't it beautiful!"
Santa stroked the nap of the cloth. "It is a very warm coat indeed." Santa's eyes welled up with sentiment. Then he looked out at all of the smiling faces of his elf friends and spoke humbly. "Thank you...thank you so very much."
Mrs. Claus reminded Santa that it was Christmas Eve and time for him to be on his way. He once again said goodbye to her and with the wave of his hand, the reindeer flew up into the sky and were gone. But they heard him exclaim as he rode out of sight, "Merry Christmas to all! Have a warm Christmas night!"