Christmas Tales – Surprise Practice

Loads of snow fell at the North Pole. The darkness was only broken by the lights of Santa’s Secret City.

 All of a sudden, the sirens went off, “Eeee-oooh, Eeee-oooh, Eeee-oooh!” emergency alert!

 The noise instantly woke Martha, Darfo, Johnny and Sonya. They leapt out of their four-storey bunk bed, dashed up the spiral staircase in the centre of the room and jumped onto the fireman’s pole. They spun down to the ground and waited in expectation. They were ready.

 “Quick, quick, quick!” called the elves, beckoning to them.

 They followed the elves resolutely. What was going on?

 They went past Santa’s door on their way, but he wasn’t in his office.  “Buzzzzzz!” the three electric blue fireflies flew up and the phoenix appeared out of nowhere with a big PUFF. The elves just kept on walking and walking, but the butterflies had soon sussed out exactly where they were going.

 “But… but… but…” stammered Johnny the Macho Butterfly.  “It’s not Christmas yet!”

 Before they knew it, they were stood in front of a packed sleigh. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen were all harnessed up and grinning at the little rascals. The sleigh was packed sky-high with presents, but no sign of Santa anywhere.

 “Quick, quick, quick!” the elves banged on the side of the sleigh. “You need to set off straight away! There was a mistake with the calendar! It’s Christmas Eve today!”

 The little rascals dived into place in a state of shock – they must save Christmas! They didn’t doubt for a moment that there had been a mistake.   These things happen. It could just as easily have happened to them.

 “What are we supposed to do?”

 “Here!” One of the elves gave Darfo the reins.

 “The more you shake them, the faster they go. If you pull them gently, they think it’s time for carrots and stop automatically.”

 Aha. Darfo nodded. He’d got it. It was easy.

 “And this,” said one of the elves, pointing to the red and green button with the heart on it, “is the hover button.  Never switch it off when you’re airborne!”

 “Otherwise you’ll end up with a Christmas disaster like in 2003…’ whispered another elf to his neighbour.

 “Ho-ho! Or like in 1998, 2001, 1999, 2008, 1963, 1985, 1978…” the list was endless!

 Martha looked down anxiously.

“Don’t worry – just don’t press the button when you’re in the air!”

 The little rascals nodded, awe-stricken.

 “And here’s the list!”

 “But there are 153,146 million addresses!”

 “Don’t worry, you’ll have them done in ten minutes!”

 The elf gave Donner a sharp slap on its hind quarters and whoooosh off they went.  Clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop, Martha, Darfo, Johnny and Sonya were thrown back in their seats as the first hazard came into sight: they were racing straight towards the toy factory wall!

 Just in time, Johnny slapped the button with the palm of his hand and wheeeeee they shot up into the dark night sky.

 The elves stood and grinned at the fireflies and the phoenix, who were left behind.

 “Do you think they’ll manage it?”


 “Then UNFORTUNATELY we’ll have to tell the old guy – and there’s only one logical conclusion he can come to after that kind of failure!”



 “Yep!” the elves cried out, one after the other, until they heard heavy footsteps stomping through the snow.


Read the Book

 At that point, the sleigh was whizzing round the earth above their heads for the fourth time. The elves secretly pressed a remote control button.

 A message came out of the slit in front of Darfo: “Can you please press down the red button hard.” Written in pictures, of course.  He understood the “please” straight away.

 “Of course I can,” he said out loud and pressed down the button, much to Darfo, Sonja and Martha’s dismay. The result was visible down below.

 “What’s going on up there?” growled Santa, as the first present fell from the sky and landed right on his nose. He gawped at it in disbelief.

 “Test run.” The elves pointed upwards. The sleigh was doing a nosedive from the sky, heading straight for Father Christmas.

 “Oh my goodness!” he gasped.

 “There are just far too many butterflies for one sleigh!” whispered the elves to Santa.

 “Mmmm, yes, you’re probably right,” he muttered, scratching his head under his red hat. Fortunately, Johnny managed to gather his bearings just in time and pressed the heart button as the sleigh was barely 20 metres off the ground.

 The sleigh stopped its dramatic descent and glided gently to the ground, coming to a halt a short distance away from Santa and the elves. As soon as the cloud of snow dust had dispersed, Santa walked up to Martha, Darfo, Johnny and Sonya, huffing and puffing.

 “What the heavens is going on here?”

 The butterflies stared at him, lost for words. Martha’s face was a pale shade of green and Darfo’s hands were still shaking.

 “Too many butterflies in one sleigh,” said the elves again, and the little rascals just echoed them:  “Too many butterflies in one sleigh!”

 “Too many butterflies in one sleigh” was still going through Santa’s mind as one of the elves began to explain:

 “Due to the ergomatricular properties of the sleigh, with its cybernautical star-seeking mode set to accommodate the exact body mass of Father Christmas, it’s highly likely that the butterflies are just not suited to driving the sleigh, especially not all of them at once!”

Santa looked at the elves, mimicking surprise, patting his big, round tummy.

 “Are you trying to tell me I’m FAT?”

 “No sir… not at all… never… only the sleigh has been pre-set for your weight!”

 “So now what?”

 “Well if we were to…” the elves waved to the others, who marched off all at once.

 “Whooo-ahhh!” they cried, followed by the ringing of bells – lots of little bells. And suddenly, there stood four sleighs.  A blue one, a red one, a green one… and a pink one. They were all drawn by young reindeer, who were desperate to be up in the air for first time this Christmas.

 “Wowwww!” the butterflies gasped.

 “We expected there to be some problems, so we prepared THESE.”

Father Christmas looked at the elves suspiciously, but they were all highly professional and kept straight faces. Then he looked across at the butterflies. It was plainly obvious that they had nothing to do with any of this.

 “Too many butterflies in one sleigh,” muttered Father Christmas. He lifted his belly up and let go with a big wobble. Then he waved them off.

 “Oh, do whatever you like, as long as you don’t spoil Christmas.”

Shivering from the cold, he headed for the warm indoors, leaving them all standing there.

 Darfo, Martha, Johnny and Sonya still couldn’t quite believe it. Mouths wide open, they stared at their reindeer and their sleighs.

 You see, there are always some who are willing to do more for others than for themselves, although we don’t always notice …

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