A Christmas Tale

The icy wind rushed past the ruddy cheeks through the thick mangled white hair and beard while miraculously not disturbing the red hat at all. “Old Nick” as he was fondly called by his friends, was on his annual round and he could never be late, miss a house or spoil a present. No matter how delicate. His secret pre match meal of warm oats and a splash of honey kept him warm, at least that’s why Mrs Claus insisted on it but really his magical red and white suit finished off with a magnificent cloak was all he needed. He was after all, Father Christmas.

Landing atop the house Santa was thinking this family home looked lovely. It was a large home, old, four stories beautifully kept, a small stamp of a roof patio without furniture but neat and undoubtedly glorious on a warm summers day. As the team silently slipped onto the patio Santa thought about who lived in this house, it mattered not to him who they were, if they were wealthy or poor he was just curious. All that mattered was if they were good in their hearts and kind in their deeds.

His first footfall was always the hardest, if the snow up on the roof was crisp and there was a small crunch, little ears, cocked, could seek as they slept this night in eager anticipation. From his vantage point he could survey the whole street and swiftly formulate his route, not just the quickest but the easiest. Start high work low, enter here leave there and cut to the next house, silently, simply and swiftly. Santa smiled slightly which made the team nervous as he was prone to the odd error. Mrs Claus still reminds them of the Hampton Court incident of 2003 a result of Santa getting lost after a recent renovation. “In the winter, Hampton Court Palace security staff were alerted to the opening of a fire door near Clock Court. The fire doors opened with great force.A strangely dressed figure was seen closing them.” It was said footfalls could be heard through the halls at the same time but the whole of Lapland knew after he realised his mistake it was Santa rushing back to the sleigh more red faced than normal.

This time though, he grasped the top of the stack and looked at the 6cm hole that clearly belonged to a boiler and not a fire. Santa gasped muttering about the modern world making life more difficult. Looking around he saw a door, touched the handle and in a wisp he was gone. His boots padded quietly on the stair, he opened the first door. To the right he saw a white door and in a click of his boots he was inside. To the right a single office with a desk awry with papers and files some long since cold tied with string and ribbon. The desk was covered except for a single space that held a whiskey bottle and a tumbler the bin also had a bottle, empty with the top off and the lingering smell of barrel oak, sherry and the peat of the Scottish highlands. He looked around the rest of the office surprised at the white, clean desks that greeted him, clearly a room with ladies like Mrs Claus, in charge, ordered, tidy and efficient.

Santa left and went down to the second landing, the left was a storeroom full of boxes, files and shelving. Also in there was a small desk and chair, in the corner a set of bagpipes and a small santa hat on the back rest of the chair left after some party he thought. The Christmas jumper also on the chair was a knitted picture of Rudolf except whoever knitted it didn’t know Rudolf wasn’t crosseyed, although the nose was a close match.

Opposite this room he entered a large open plan space, too modern for Santa but clean functional and bathed in white including the desks a winter wonderland of white wood and laminate. At the end of the room on top of some white cabinets stood a sorry looking empty sack. As always Santa finds his target he thought to himself striding towards it. In it he gently placed each present for the family. They were a large family with a number of children mainly girls. Aimee along with Cheyenne the two newest members of the family, cheeky but partial to vodka (allegedly).  Yousra, with her long flowing hair almond eyes and tendency to swear in arabic which sounds poetic but the boys aren’t so sure. Roslynne, quietly sits at her desk hoping she can keep out of trouble this year having been caught sleeping at her desk in 2018. Katherine newly adopted from Deloitte is still learning the ropes starting with actually coming to work more regularly. Bea tall and striking turns many heads almost giving young Paul a heart attack regularly when she wears those skirts no father would approve of but most of the boys like. As always young Jenice keeps them in order efficient and organised without her the house would be a building not a home. Lorraine who loves her abacus spends most of her days counting, cocktails and whatever other drink she fancies at the time, it is no surprise she is related to Cheyenne. Denise the instagramer of the family loves a photo throwing a pose, selfie stick in hand with her striking blonde mane and cheeky smile. Finally the boys, Oliver always busy, quietly head down avoiding eye contact incase someone asks him a question. Paul the older boy who surprising never learnt the lesson in life that Tottenham Hotspur are always the bridesmaid and never the bride. Finally little Pepe, with his runny nose, scuffed shoes and big smile scurrying in and out of the home dashing around making mischief.  As Santa left he saw the rather old tree in a bucket by the door with a few pieces or tinsel and some lights that were doing their best. He gently touched the star and it started to glow bathing everything in a warm glow and the tinsel glistened. Quietly, smoothly he left swept back up to the roof patio climbed onto the sleigh and with a  laugh sped skywards along Irish Town to his next house.