A Christmas Eve Morning

On Christmas Eve morning the toy assembly lines stopped, the mail room grew quiet, and the elves gathered excitedly in the Elven Dining Hall. It was a special time that my elves and I looked forward to every year, for it was the day we celebrated Ms. Claus’s birthday.

The kitchen was humming that morning as I walked through the door. Cheesy egg casseroles were baking in the oven; slices of cinnamon-raisin French toast sizzled on the griddle; bacon and sausage popped and hissed on the grill. The pleasant aroma excited my nose and made my mouth water. Watching the elves bake, cook, and arrange food, I finally called out loudly, “Is there anything I can do?”

Pausing in mid-stride, all the elves looked at me strangely. The head chef, Blanch, finally said, “But Santa you have the most important job. You must escort Ms. Claus down to the dining hall at exactly 900 hours.”

Yes, I know,” I answered grinning, “but all of you are so busy that you look as if you could use some help.”

“Don’t worry Santa, we got this,” responded Chester, “but before you go upstairs, check out the decorations in the Elven Dining Hall. You’ll be impressed.”

Nodding, I exited the kitchen and walked down the hallway and entered the dining room. “Wow,” I exclaimed, “you certainly have outdone yourselves this year. It looks like a winter wonderland in here.”

Several of the elves cheered and clapped their hands. “Thanks Santa!” they yelled.

Walking around the room, I marveled at the woodland scenes covered in snow with small lights twinkling while a variety of forest animals peeked out from behind bushes and trees.

“We thought that Ms. Claus would like to see something beyond the North Pole,” a voice explained.

Startled, I turned and saw Kristen, one of several North Pole designers, at my elbow.

“We spent a lot of time designing a New England forest in wintertime, similar to the area you visited this past fall. Nothing’s too good for Ms. Claus. She deserves the best,” Kristen explained proudly.

“I agree, but it’s so realistic,” I responded shaking my head. “How did you do all this?”

Smiling slyly, Kristen replied, “Now Santa, you know I can’t reveal elven secrets.”

I laughed. “I know, but this entire room is beyond what I expected. Ms. Claus is going to love it. Thanks to you and your staff, her birthday celebration will be even better than last year.”

“I hope so, but Santa, aren’t you forgetting something?” Kristen whispered.

“Well… I don’t think so,” I answered. Then I smiled and turned to make my way upstairs. “You didn’t think I’d forget to escort Ms.Claus did you? Tell the staff we will be in the hall promptly at 900 hours.”

Quickly making my way toward our room, I opened the door and slipped inside as quiet as a mouse. Picking up her gift off the dresser, I walked toward the bed and heard Ms. Claus’s sleepy voice. “Did you think I could remain asleep once that wonderful aroma from the kitchen made it to our bedroom? Breakfast smells amazing.”

Leaning over to give her a kiss, I quickly pulled out the gift from behind my back and set it on her lap. “Happy birthday Anya,” I said, while sitting down beside her.

“Santa, you shouldn’t have, but I always love getting presents from you,” she said, examining the wrapped gift. “I feel very special, especially since this is a big day for you.”

Unwrapping my gift, Ms. Claus opened the box and pulled out a larger than usual snow globe. “Oh my,” she exclaimed, “the scene is so realistic. Isn’t this the place where we…?”

Pausing, Ms. Claus looked at me mystified. “This scene reminds me of the red and white striped lighthouse in Maine…” Stopping short, she watched as that scene faded and another one appeared revealing a forested area by the ocean. “How did you do this?” Ms. Claus asked, giving my hand a squeeze.

“We had such a wonderful time visiting Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont last fall, so I gave the elves several of our pictures and asked them to create a snow globe of memories. I don’t know how they do it, but this is more magical than I even expected. Now when you want a memory,” I explained, “all you have to do is touch this globe and it can take you back to our fantastic adventure in New England.”

“Oh Santa,” Ms. Claus whispered as she threw her arms around my neck and gave me a kiss. “What a wonderful present – a gift of happy memories.”

“Now my dear, the elves are waiting with a mouth-watering breakfast and a room decorated beyond your wildest imagination.”

Laughing, Ms. Claus quickly got out of bed, slipping on her warm robe and slippers. “I must look a fright,” she exclaimed, running a brush through her hair.

“You are always a pleasant sight to my eyes,” I said, giving her a hug. “Shall we?” I asked, extending my arm.

As we exited the room and made our way down the stairs, the breakfast aroma became stronger. Excited, we paused before the doors to the Elven Dining Hall. Pushing them open, we heard a loud chorus of ‘Happy birthday to you’ which dominated the hall.

Looking over at Anya, I noticed tears in her eyes as she waved to everyone in the hall. Taking in the scenery, she gasped and clapped her hands startled by the realism of the winter wonderland landscape encircling the entire hall. “Such a wonderful family I have,” she said, turning her eyes toward mine.

Nodding in agreement, I proudly escorted my wife down the center aisle. Tonight, I would deliver presents, and tomorrow children and their families would enjoy Christmas. But for now, the elves and I would celebrate Ms. Claus’s birthday.

Note from Santa: I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one next Monday. If you have any comments or if there is something you would like me to tell you about, please feel free to leave me a comment. Until next week . . .

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