The principal has just been served his breakfast and attention now turns to the first main task of the day. Grabbing a large bag of feed in the stable many buckets are filled and likewise with the water buckets which are then distributed to the animals. Moving to the animals’ stalls the job becomes more odorous as they are kept inside despite protestations that being outside is not only good for them but it is entirely natural. However the boss is always right and these pampered pets, grooming would follow, had the best of everything despite doing very little of anything except eating and well, you know. Soon they would perform their one useful task of the year so naturally they had to look good, despite not being seen by anybody, so leather would be oiled, brass polished and the sleigh given a final inspection. The lead reindeer somehow always ends up in the home brew which for some reason the principal thinks is necessary perhaps feeling it may make a nice song one day.
Breakfast is tidied away and then the cleaning tasks of the day begin, but not before the day’s checklist is verified; today cannot go wrong at any stage! So it is time to sit down with a nice cuppa to verify the running order, hoping that the workshop has managed to stay up to date and that there were not too many late orders. How one sleigh is going to manage the whole consignment proves difficult but planning is everything and living in another dimension, several visits back to the depot are in fact needed, definitely help because otherwise presents around the world in one night is quite frankly a little challenging. Challenges were abundant, Samoa changing hemispheres, including the ample frame of the principal’s wife. Although she means well there are times when she gets in the way. Insisting that the reindeer wear body-warmers and hats is just the latest in a litany of unsound ideas that have been calmly consigned to oblivion as has the idea of employing image consultants; the job description doesn’t change all that much from year to year but try explaining it to her.
The most important task of the day is the preparation of the principal’s uniform which contrary to popular belief is what allows him to maintain the traditional corpulence. Once upon a time he did rather over indulge and the image stuck but his wife insisted on him slimming yet she remained the same svelte 120 kilos that her husband had met all those years ago. A uniform such as this takes time to prepare, many weeks in fact, what with delinting, evicting various wildlife and mending tears. Today is merely a final inspection along with polishing boots and giving the beard a final trim and colouring.
A great fear of the day is that some of the elves will have been at the liqueur chocolates and despite the best efforts the little angels always seem to have a few hidden. Ensuring that the helper elves stay sober is one of the reasons why the principal is no longer allowed alcohol and this message took some time to get through the heads of some rather challenged parents. Not only was the principal getting on every nerve in his wife’s body, having returned a little worse for wear on many occasions, but the elves had been making major blunders the least of which was delivering a bible to Richard Dawkins.
However the night may turn out all plans have been followed to the minutest detail, the head reindeer has a thumping headache and did not want to lead a sleigh tonight, the three helper elves are leaving with little smiles on their faces and the sleigh looks resplendent. The principal takes a light meal of soup and bread followed by a huge bowl of goulash and a thermos of coffee for the first journey; which may or may not contain whisky. With this thought in mind dinner awaits and for a little while duty may be lain to one side but ever at hand, ready to be used in service. Watching as the sleigh goes sonic and then disappears the Christmas message comes to mind; give kindness to somebody for it is surely the greatest gift.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year