“Here come Santa and Ms. Claus,” announced Lyra.
Several elves left their tables in the dining hall and gathered at the two doorways.
“What time do things get started?” Skippy asked.
“Sledge will open the storage barn when Santa arrives,” Geordie responded and finished his muffin.
Anya and I could hear the cheering begin as the entire dining hall began to empty into the passageway. It was Sleigh Day and all of us were excited.
Approaching the barn, we watched Sledge swing the door open. Cheering increased when Anya and I waved to the elves.
While my sleigh glided from the barn, everyone went quiet. I walked over and slid my hand along the polished wood amazed at its beauty. The plush red seat was trimmed in green satin. Burnished copper buttons secured the cloth. Solid brass knobs stood on either side of my seat and glistened in the light. The elves oohed and aahed. Ms. Claus tucked her hand in mine and murmured, “Always beautiful.”
Sledge stood and helped me step into the sleigh. “Check out the updates to the dash and controls.”
I scratched my head as my eyes examined the dashboard. “Hmm, looks like you’ve been busy since last Christmas. What does the extra screen do?”
“The one screen is the same, and shows the list of upcoming homes you will be visiting. The new screen makes use of GPS and reveals a map with a pin where you are currently.” My elf in charge of sleighs then flipped a switch and both screens lit up in color.
“Wow! The lettering is bigger, and the map actually shows you everything like it’s a picture from above!”
“It is Santa. We decided to use satellite images for the mapping, and the larger type is to help you read it quickly while keeping your eyes on where you are going. Hope you like it.”
“I do!” I then pointed to an opening in the dash, “What’s this for?”
“Remember the extra cookies you collect to send back to the North Pole to share with the elves on Christmas morning?”
“HO, HO, HO. Of course I do.”
“Well, now all you have to do is put the cookies in that slot. They are then bagged, and just the right amount of magic green fairy dust is added automatically to tele-transport the cookies back to us. With the number of homes growing each year, we figured this will save you a lot of time,” Sledge explained.
“That’s genius! No more messing around with that bag of magic dust. What about this big green lever?”
Excited, Sledge rubbed his hands together. “This is my favorite improvement. It will also save you time.”
“As well as keep you dry!” Sachi, Dasher’s caretaker, shouted.
I shrugged my shoulders, not understanding what the elves were talking about.
“Let me explain. If we could reduce some of the wind when you cross the oceans or make your way over mountains, you would gain more time. Pull the lever and see what happens,” the sleigh elf insisted.
I did, and a clear, glass bubble covered the entire top of the sleigh.
“Look, it’s Snow Globe Santa!” an elf in the crowd called out. The elves broke into laughter.
I stared at Sledge, who was giggling at the remark. “I do feel a bit silly in this bubble, but I can see how it will improve my speed.” I pushed the lever back up to remove the dome and asked, “Is there anything else?”
“No. I think it’s time to hitch up your team for the real test.”
Highstep signaled the handlers to begin lining up the reindeer for their pre-Christmas tests.”
Once my team was hooked up, Highstep stood back and announced, “The first test will be how quickly the team can get you off the ground. Are you ready Santa?”
“All set,” I hollered back.
Highstep looked at his stop-watch and held his hand in the air. “Ready, Set, GO!”
I snapped the reigns, and shouted, “Now Dasher, Now Dancer, Now Prancer, and Vixen. On Comet, On Cupid, On Donner, and Blitzen. To the top of the porch to the top of the wall! Now dash away, dash away, dash away all.” The reindeer responded and rose toward the Northern Lights.
Highstep shouted, “A new record, 2.2 seconds!!”
The elves exploded in cheers.
After liftoff, I ran the reindeer through their paces, turning right, then left, going up and down, until I was satisfied that my team met my requirements. Now for the big test.
I shouted to Vixen, “Are you ready?” It was her skill in guiding the team on where and how to land that was most important. When she turned her head and nodded, I picked out one of the buildings in Christmas Village and began steering the reindeer in that direction.
As the sleigh approached, I let up on the reins and let Vixen take control. While she communicated directions, the reindeer guided the sleigh to a soft landing. “Let’s try a couple more,” I directed.
With each landing I could hear the elves on the ground scream approval. Then I clicked on my elf communicator. “Highstep, now that the sun has set, let’s test Rudolph’s nose.”
“Roger that, Santa.” Highstep nodded to Quinten, who began flipping switches. With each click, lights went out in the village until it was completely dark.
I steered the sleigh over the pasture where all the elves were. A red glow descended over them allowing me to see them clearly. “My first pass looks good Highstep. I’ll circle around for another one while you start the fog machines.”
The elf raised his arm over his head and began twirling his hand in a circular motion. Several elves turned on the machines, and fog filled the sky.
As I turned the sleigh back toward the elves, I shouted, “You ready Rudolph?”
With a loud grunt, Rudolph nodded. The further the team soared, the thicker the fog got. Yet, I could still see everything. Even the wires strung between poles were in plain sight, thanks to Rudolph’s bright, red nose.
I circled back and landed at the same spot from where we had started. The elves roared their approval. As I stepped down from the sleigh, the handlers removed the harness and led the reindeer into the barn. “I think we are prepared for Christmas deliveries!” I shouted and gave Highstep and Sledge high fives.
Ms. Claus ran over and hugged me. “Congrats Santa! Your team looked fantastic. They are ready for Christmas.”
“They’ve done an incredible job. And with the improvements to the sleigh, I think we need to celebrate.”
Everyone cheered and headed toward Elfkin Hall as the elves sang, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go.”
“Best time of the year,” I yelled and slipped my arm across Anya’s shoulders.
Notes From Santa
I hope you enjoyed today’s story. Stories are posted on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, except December. Santa’s next story will be posted on Saturday November 18, 2023. 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 the next time . . .
To read more about the Reindeer and Santa’s Sleigh, please check out:
How Dasher Became Part of Santas Team – October 28, 2019
Reiney Meets Cupid – February 10, 2020
Santa’s Improved Sleigh – March 16, 2020
Virus Threatens Santa’s Reindeer – March 30, 2020
Reindeer vs Technology – June 1, 2020
Blitzen Loses Race – August 31, 2020
Donner To The Rescue – November 16, 2020
Sleigh Problems – January 4, 2021
Reindeer Games – September, 6, 2021
Modern Christmas Deliveries – March 1, 2022
Broccoli Cookies – July 15, 2023
Reindeer Secrets – September 2, 2023
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