The Night After Christmas

One for the kids, although you may have to explain what ‘stertorous’ means.

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‘Twas the night after Christmas and Santa was weary –

Arms and legs aching, and eyes feeling bleary.

He sat in his armchair, mince pie on his belly,

And watched an old Marx Brothers film on the telly.

 

Just when he’d slipped into untroubled sleep,

His phone woke him up with a deafening beep.

He peered at the text on the flickering screen:

“Come quickly pls Santa. Elves.” What could it mean?

 

He hastened to find his coat, jacket and hat,

And tried to avoid tripping over the cat.

He ploughed through the snow that was crisp, even, deepish –

The elves in the grotto looked terribly sheepish.

 

“Wossmatter?” he slurred through his thick hairy beard.

“Oh boss, I’m afraid that it’s just as we feared –

There’s one bag of presents left up on the shelf.

I don’t know what happened,” replied his Head Elf.

 

“We must have forgotten it. What a disaster!

That’s what you get when you try to go faster.

Never before have we made a mistake –

Can you forgive us? Please give us a break!”

 

Santa looked down at his Helper-In-Chief

And thought that he’d better not give him much grief.

His helpers worked hard every day of the year

So that when Christmas came he could dole out the gear.

 

Their record was fab, without blunder or bloomer –

They’d never so much as mislaid a satsuma.

How could he scold them for one tiny bish,

Even though it would ruin a boy’s Christmas wish?

 

“Don’t worry”, he said, “I’ll just have to go back

To the place we forgot. Now give me that sack.”

But when they went out to the reindeers’ stable

They found the poor beasts neither willing nor able.

 

“Vixen! Blitzen! Dasher and Dancer!”

The old man called out, but came there no answer.

“Comet and Cupid! Prancer and Donner!

We’ve got to get going, or else I’m a goner!”

 

Santa fell silent – ’twas no use ignoring

The stertorous sound of his reindeer snoring.

“They must be exhausted, poor things. I can’t ask

Them to set off so soon on another hard task.

 

There’s only one answer, and not one I like.

There’s nothing else for it – I’m going by bike.”

Santa would rather have gone back to bed,

But, stout and determined, set off for the shed.

 

Five minutes later our hero was ready,

Sack on his back, a trifle unsteady –

Perched on a bike that was rather too small,

He felt on the verge of a socking great fall.

 

He tightened his helmet, adjusted the saddle,

Said under his breath “I hope the young lad’ll

Appreciate what I am doing for him,

‘Cos just at the moment I’m feeling quite grim.”

 

He started to pedal with all of his might,

But to his distress found he couldn’t take flight.

Then, just at the moment of deepest despair,

The bike flew like magic up into the air.

 

Santa was flying! Up up and away!

The SatNav, not reindeer, could show him the way.

His heart filled with joy as he floated up high –

He wanted to reach out and cuddle the sky.

 

Several hours later he finally saw

The house that he’d missed out just two days before.

Tired from the thrilling emergency dash,

He landed the bike with a thundering crash.

 

“What are you doing and why are you here?”

Said a voice rather lacking in seasonal cheer.

A family stood there, not brimming with joy.

A father, a mother, a ten-year-old boy.

 

“I’ve brought your son’s presents. I know it’s quite late,

I’m terribly sorry you’ve had such a wait.”

“Sorry, you say? D’you really not know

How upset our young lad was when you didn’t show?

 

We waited and waited – we got in a lather,

Then had to give up,” said the furious father.

“We couldn’t face eating our turkey for lunch –

You’ve ruined our lives,” said the mum. “Thanks a bunch!!”

 

Santa just stood there, he said not a word;

Then into the silence the boy’s voice was heard.

He’d waited and listened while Mum and Dad whined.

Now he could give them a piece of his mind.

 

“Hold on a minute, let’s not be so hasty;

We don’t want to make Santa’s journey a waste. He

Has come all this distance to give me my stuff –

Don’t you agree that he’s done quite enough?

 

He’s done what he reckoned would be for the best –

When what he’d prefer is a jolly good rest –

But when have you ever gone out of your way

To help someone else have a more pleasant day?

 

For instance, on Tuesday, when poor Mrs Hawley

Was very upset that her budgie was poorly –

What did you do, Mum? You made her some tea,

Then kicked her out so you could watch some TV!

 

How about you, Dad? You’re not so clever –

Do you remember Mum’s birthday? No – never!!

Both of you live your lives just for yourselves,

And then have the cheek to insult Santa’s elves!

 

I think you should both say you’re sorry to Santa,

And don’t give him any more unfriendly banter.

Invite him inside for some food and a sherry,

And then we can all have a Christmas that’s merry.”

 

The silence that followed was heavy and long,

And then the boy’s parents confessed they were wrong.

“We’re sorry, dear Santa, please don’t think us bad –

We just want the best for our wonderful lad.

 

He’s taught us a lesson we’ll never forget,

We’ll change our behaviour, on that you can bet!

Now will you please stay for some bubble and squeak –

Our leftovers look like they’ll last us all week!”

 

So in they all went, and later that night,

Santa set off on his homeward bike flight.

Tinkling his bell he called ‘ciao!’ to his friends,

And set the SatNav for the North Pole.

THE END

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