One cold and blistery Christmas Eve, Santa brought his sleigh to a stop on the roof of a tiny house down the lane. The chimney was too small for Santa, but as you know, small or big, down the chimney he goes. Santa knew that in this house lived Laurie, a widow with six children. On very little money, this mother fed and clothed her children by working tirelessly in her garden all summer and preserving fruits and vegetables that had to last all winter for her family. She sewed most of their clothes. And yet, not always having much to eat herself at times or anything new to wear, she somehow managed. The spotless house was painted every year with the help of her growing boys who took odd jobs around the neighbourhood to earn a few dollars for her. They did not think to hide even one penny away for themselves.
Knowing all this, Santa brought more gifts for them than anyone in the neighborhood, not just because they were poorer but because he thought that it was the most loving family he knew. Even the neighbour’s children played near the house and somehow there would be an extra cookie for them. In this little house, far down the lane, the children were so loved by their mother Laurie, that they ran and played happily as if they were the children of a queen. To Santa, they were.
Santa had with him on his mission that year a new Elf. He didn’t usually have one with him and his team of Reindeer but this young Elf was having a hard time settling down and doing his Elf work. His name was Jake. Santa thought if Jake saw all the wonderful toys being given to the children and their happy faces on Christmas morning, that Jake might mature and would be a great help to the other Elves.
For Jake’s benefit, Santa jokingly said, “I tap the side of my nose. Down the chimney I goes.” But, as Santa tried to go down the tiny chimney of the house down the lane, he could not get down. He tried all his usual tricks but he could not go down that chimney. If ever he wanted to go down one, this was the chimney he’d pick, but he couldn’t. It was blocked.
Santa was worried. “If that chimney is blocked with a fire burning, the house will fill with smoke”, he cried to Jake and his Reindeer. “Quick, my friends, help me look in the windows and see what is wrong.”
As they looked in the windows, they saw the children fast asleep in their beds. But in the tiny living room, with coat, hat and a blanket wrapped around her body, sat a lovely woman, shivering in the cold. There was no firewood and no fire.
About the room were decorations made by the children and a lovely Nativity scene of Mary and Joseph which Laurie had treasured for years. She lovingly displayed it on this special Holy Night. She sat in front of it and she placed the Baby Jesus into the crib.
The listening visitors heard her say,” Dearest Baby Jesus, it is really going to be alright, after all. I was so upset because I couldn’t buy the children any toys; everything is so expensive but now I know that they won’t mind so much”, she said as a tiny tear fell from her cheek. “They are all good kids and we are healthy and strong and together. And, we have some nice decorations for this room and I saved my special fruit pudding for Christmas Day for them. I’ve sewn some doll dresses for Penny and some slippers for Linda, and Isabelle, our baby will wear a white knitted suit for Christmas. The scarves are knitted and ready for the boys. And You, Baby Jesus, we have You in all our hearts. And that is what Christmas is all about. Maybe tomorrow I can find a neighbour who will unblock the chimney and then the children and I can go out and gather some wood somewhere…it will be sort of like a winter picnic. Oh, yes, what fun to do on Christmas Day.”
The Reindeer, and Jake, through moistened eyes, looked from one another with lumps in their throats and then to Santa whose usual jolly face was sad and a tear ran down his cheek.
“She hasn’t even got a Christmas tree! No firewood! No toys and presents!” Santa sighed.
Now Santa became very upset, because nearby were large comfortable homes with decorations and many presents under the trees and worst of all, Laurie had relatives who were too busy with their own celebrations to see that she and her children have a Christmas at all.
“Oh, Santa”, cried Dancer. “What can we do to help her?”
“Well”, said Santa, who had been lost in thought for awhile, “..to begin with, I will have to hold back the night.”
“You haven’t done that for ages, Santa”, said Comet.
“Why will you do that?”, asked Rudolph, who was newer to the team,” and how, Santa?”
“Oh boy!!…… How can that happen? said Jake.” Will we fall off the earth??”
“One question at a time, ” laughed Santa. “If I don’t, we won’t have time to help her and to deliver the toys all over the rest of the world also.”
“But how do you do it, Santa?” , asked Rudolph again.
“I’ll just say a special prayer to a Friend of mine and ..wait!”, answered Santa.
The Reindeer and Jake stood in awe as Santa fell on his knees in the shimmering silvery snow, bowed his head and closed his eyes in prayer. They also knelt in the cold frozen snow…and waited. Suddenly, a beautiful twinkling star shone on the tiny house and the night fell silent and still, for everyone but Santa and his friends.
“Come on”, said Santa to his thunderstruck reindeer and elf. “We’ve got work to do”.
As his sleigh flew through the night, not a whisper moved on the earth below. As they passed stores, all of them were closed.
“Where to now?” asked Vixon.
” Everything is closed. It is very late”, said Blitzen.
“Well,” said Santa “there’s only one thing left to do, my friends.”
“What is that, Santa?” asked Donner.
“We will go to the land of the Easter Bunny, to Bunniesville, of course! It is much closer than going all the way home to the North Pole, and, what fun it will be to surprise that frisky old rabbit and his friends,” laughed the jolly old Santa Claus.”Ho! Ho! Ho!”
“But Santa,” protested Cupid.” It is so far. We will all be too exhausted to go on with the rest of the trip delivering toys. Then we will have to fly all the way home to the North Pole,” complained Cupid.
“Why, Cupid, I am so surprised at you, of all the Reindeer on my team!” scolded Santa but with a twinkle in his eye. “Doesn’t your very name mean ‘LOVE’ and when did we ever need more LOVE than to help Laurie tonight?”
Cupid hung his head in shame. ‘I am sorry, Santa. I was thinking only of us and not of Laurie. I ‘ll follow you anywhere! You know I will!!”
“We all will!” cried Dasher. “We’re wasting time, boys! Let’s go!! Off to Bunniesville!!”
Santa cried,” Up Rudolph, and Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen. Up Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. Ho! Ho! Ho!” laughed merry Old Saint Nick. “I can’t wait to see that old rascal, the Easter Bunny and catch him snoozing. What a Christmas Eve this will be to remember.
Through the cold and silent night they flew, past sleeping cities and breathless valleys to the sleeping Bunniesville. .
“I knew it!” laughed Santa. “We did catch them sleeping after all.”
“Will Bunniesville be stopped too, like the rest of the world?” asked Jake.
“Oh no, my friend . Like our Elves, the Bunnies are very busy always helping others.”
Soon they entered the peaceful valley of flowers, rivers and singing birds. The sleigh pulled up in front of the Easter Bunny’s home. Santa rang the bell, which was an unusual way for him to enter a home on Christmas Eve.
“Santa Claus, you sly old fox”, cried the startled sleepy Bunny. “What brings you to our Bunny Valley in the middle of the night?”
Santa quickly told the rabbit the problem of Laurie and her family. By now, all the Bunnies and their families had awaken and had gathered around to hear the sad tale Santa had to tell.
“Of course we will give you anything you need. But Santa, it makes me so sad. I don’t understand humans at all. Here in Bunnyiesville we share everything as you do at the North Pole. No one is hungry or cold and at Easter time we give all our delicious eggs and chocolate to the human children around the world as you give on Christmas Eve your toys made by your Elves all year long. Why”, asked the Easter bunny with tears in his eyes, ” does the message of Love and Brotherhood not get across to them? Humans have rich and powerful leaders who live in mansions and castles and yet, there are still people and children cold and hungry in the world. I just don’t understand,” he sighed.
The love of Brotherhood has not touched all of their hearts, my old friend. There are some humans out there working so hard to make life better for mankind. But for others it touches some of them now and then, and some more or less but not enough to wipe out poverty and hunger in the world. All we can do is try and help in our own way and pray the Spirit of Christmas and Easter will remind them often enough and strong enough, so that one day LOVE ,HOPE AND CHARITY will rule the hearts of men. Until then, dear old Rabbit, we must continue give our toys and you must give your eggs.”
‘You are right, of course. and now Santa, we must not keep you from your journey. let’s load up your sleigh and get you back to Laurie’s and all the children of the world,” said the Easter Bunny.
‘Thanks you all so much’, said Santa as they finished their task of loading the sleigh with needed things for Laurie and her family. May God bless you all.”
Through the frosty night he flew with his team . As he was soaring over a big mansion, he called to his Reindeer to go down to that house. The Reindeer were a little surprised but took him to the roof of a very luxurious mansion. Santa and Jake jumped down the chimney but within minutes were back again.
“Ho! Ho !Ho I bet you guys thought we were pulling a heist,” joked Santa.” We weren’t!! Ok”, said Santa.’ We have all we need now. On to Laurie’s, my friends.”
When they arrived at Laurie’s house, all was as before; the children were sleeping in their beds and Laurie was still gently placing the statue of the Baby Jesus in the crib of the Nativity.
This time, Santa magically unlocked the door and entered followed by Jake and the reindeer. They put up a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, filled the ice-box and pantry with good things to eat, stocked the woodpile and unblocked the chimney. Dancer lit the fire and soon the room was full of wondrous odours and pine burning logs. They filled the stockings with toys for the children and stood back to see their work. How wonderful it all looked. How happy Laurie and her family would be on Christmas morning.
Santa reached inside his furry red suit and brought out a beautiful gift, all wrapped with a ribbon and bow. The card said, ‘To Mother from Santa’, and he left it under the tree for Laurie.
“Ok boys, we are off. We still have a lot of work to do delivering the rest of the toys to the children of the world. Let’s go.”
And in a flash ,they were gone and the stars twinkled once more, the cold wintry wind blew again and the clocked ticked as before.
“Oh”, said Laurie wearily, as she shook herself.”I must have dozed off. What??….. What is all this? Surely I am dreaming”, she cried. “I can’t believe it.”She pinched herself to make sure she was awake.”
“A Christmas tree all decorated with the most beautiful ornaments I have ever seen! Presents under the tree and more toys in the children’s stockings! A fire lit and logs to burn for months to come! But who…could have done this..wonderful thing? Maybe a relative..or a neighbour…or maybe Santa Claus”, she laughed as she danced around the warm cheerful room.
In the morning the children woke and could not beleve their eyes as they stood speechless and beheld the most gorgeous sight of their little lives. Toys, and a real Christmas tree and wood for the fire and candy and..oh..how wonderful it all was!!
“Oh Momma”, Linda cried. “How did you manage all this? And Santa came too. I am so happy!!”
“Merry Christmas children”, Laurie said. “It is all from Santa Claus. What a Christmas. We are all so happy.”
When Laurie opened the pantry and saw all the food she was overcome with more joy. In the fridge was milk and cheese and pastries and the biggest turkey she had ever seen.
“Children!! Come and look at this food. How lucky we are to have Santa as a friend.”
“Mommy, look! Santa left a gift under the tree for you”, said Linda who had just learned to read. “It says it is from Santa”, said Linda.
Laurie opened the lovely gift to find inside a beautiful jewelled heart on a gold chain. “I’ve ..never seen anything…so beautiful in my life”, she sighed. “It is solid gold. Oh, Santa, thank you for everything…wherever you are.”
Now Santa and Mrs. Claus were watching Laurie and her family through their magic crystal ball. Santa was a bit tired and the reindeer and Jake were fast asleep already after their unusually long journey. As Santa watched the happiness of the family , his heart was full and happy.
“Why, Laurie, you are welcome , my dear child,” said Santa. “and my Sweet Mrs. Claus”, he said to his dear wife, ” I hope you are not angry about your necklace?”
“Not one bit, Santa”, she laughed.”Not one bit… but I am curious, where did you get the turkey?”
” I stopped at Bill Gates’s mansion. He is a good man and has helped a lot of people, so I knew he wouldn’t mind. Jake came with me down the chimney . I woke Mr. Gates gently and asked if I could borrow a turkey for a poor family. He seemed surprised to see an Elf and me. He said for me to take anything I needed. As I was leaving, I heard him say out loud,” There must have been too much cognac or something in that fruitcake I had for dessert. I dreamed Santa was here with an Elf to borrow a turkey. Next I will be seeing the Easter Bunny and he will want to borrow a whole bunch of eggs. Santa and an Elf borrowing a turkey! What a dream!!” And then he fell fast asleep.I left him a note thanking him for the loan of the turkey and telling him I would return it next Christmas. I will wake him up and say, “Bill, here is a turkey I borrowed. . ho ho ho..what fun we will have. Of course, he may not even remember.”
“Oh, I think he will remember lending Santa Claus and a Elf a turkey “, said Mrs. Claus wryly.
” You think so? I also left him a toy which was his favourite as a child, a wind-up Toy Soldier. He will love it. And by the way, Jake is going to be a great Elf.”
“Santa,”, laughed Mrs. Clause. “You are an old sly fox..an old rascal…an old darling”, she said as she gave him a kiss on his cheek. “Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas, Momma my Sweet”, Santa said affectionately and gave her a warm hug and a big wonderful kiss.
Merry Christmas Everyone.