The middle of winter was upon us and in Lapland a system that had been in full swing for six months was drawing to a close. It was Christmas Eve, the weather was foul, rain, fog, snowstorms, high winds you name it and it was there somewhere in the world. Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, all the same man, looked up to the sky and sighed.

    “I suppose the blasted reindeer will be up in arms, or hooves, again about the weather conditions, and they only work one day a year. I’ll offer them a bonus of a bag of acorns each that should do it. What was that youngster’s name with the halogen lamp on his nose, Rudolph that’s it, let’s try him this year, modern technology the world must move on y’know.” He said to no-one in particular.

Santa’s little helpers had been working hard for months and the magic sleigh was all loaded up ready for the annual epic flight. Issybell the little fairy was particularly excited as it was her first Christmas working for Santa. Her enthusiastic chatter, throughout the whole process of shrinking all the presents for each country down to the size of one shoebox and stowing them in the depths of the sleigh, was beginning to grate on Santa’s ears.

    “I’ll be waiting here when you return” she shrilled, the rest of his little helpers were looking forward to their annual six month hibernation before the whole process started again.

    “I may be some time so don’t wait up” was Santa’s sarcastic comment. Setting the time differential dial to one second is equal to one hour, he pulled on the reins to stir the reindeer into action. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen all headed up by Rudolph with his halogen lamp nose took off into the dark leaden stormy sky. With a somewhat forced cry of HO HO HO they were off in a flash to bring happiness and joy to all the children in the world.

The weather was atrocious and was only getting worse, Santa had been slipping and sliding on the snowy slates, and getting caught up in television arials, satellite dishes and internet receivers, on rooftops all over the world. On top of that it was one of the worst Christmasses for weather that he could remember.

At long last the welcome sight of Lapland and home came into view and it was done for another year.

Santa was exhausted, soaking wet, freezing cold, hungry and seriously thinking of retirement in two hundred or so years when children would no longer believe in him. There would probably be an app on their mobiles for that by then.

Pulling into the yard at the workshop, he unharnessed the reindeer with a special pat for young Rudolph who had done a sterling job with his bright nose. They all tucked into their bonus of acorns with gusto.

He went into the office, slumped into the huge red leather bound swivel chair with a huge sigh of relief. Reaching into the drawer in his big desk he pulled out a bottle of Christmas Brandy, labelled ‘Only for Christmas Puddings and Santa Claus’. Pulling the cork out and pouring a large glass of the contents for himself he felt the warming glow of the liquid coursing through his veins.

    “That makes it all worthwhile” he said to himself.

Turning to the sleigh he started to clean it ready for next year. Lurking right in the darkest corner in the depths of the cargo hold he found a small Christmas tree.

    “How did that get missed? Oh well it will do for next year.” Taking a long drink from another glass of the delicious brandy he continued his cleaning routine.

    “Hello Santa, have you had a busy night? Did you deliver all the presents to all the girls and boys? I bet it was exciting going down all those chimneys. Isn’t it nice and crisp and snowy, it feels all Christmassy doesn’t it?”

It was that annoying little fairy Issybell again that was the last thing he needed.

    “Oh look” she carried on recklessly “You’ve got a little Christmas tree left over. What are you going to do with that?”

Santa tried to contain his temper but all the frustrations of the night’s work plus of course the brandy overtook him and he advanced threateningly on Issybell.

That is the most probable explanation why from that day forward there has always been a fairy stuck on the top of the Christmas tree!

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