Aaaah…. Christmas season again and nearing the time to mark the start of another trip around the sun on space ship earth. It may surprise some of you to learn that I am an official, North Pole sanctioned Santa’s Helper and frequently stand in for the jolly old elf this time of the year. Interestingly, in the interview with the head elf (for approval and certification) there was a long discussion about the season and the gifts. The old boy himself (yes, Kris Kringle, aka St. Nick et al) sometimes worries that the whole “Christmas presents” thing could create greed and a disproportionate sense of self. Nevertheless, his centuries of giving to others has taught him that the most marvellous gift he can think of for himself is being able to give to others and pass on moments of joy and happiness. He just cannot help himself…….give he must! He also could care less about what name you have for the season or what customs you follow or whether your family comes from a place that often has snow or has never seen snow. His measuring stick is the strength and generosity of a person’s heart. His idea of the best gifts people can give include a smiling face, a cheerful comment and a helping hand. But….too much philosophy! There are so many wonderful seasonal stories. Here’s a favourite one I’m eager to share (and with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore):
Twas the night before Christmas and all round the plane
The presents were stacked in numbers insane.
The pilot arrived in his red Santa suit
To fly them to friends scattered oot and aboot.
The weather was iffy but promised to clear.
The mission was urgent, but though time was dear,
We didn’t have Santa’s incredible gear
(Rudolph that is, for guidance and cheer)
That meant fog or icing would be a no-go
What a shame for those presents, each wrapped with a bow.
Then into the hangar came granddaughter Ellie
It made this Santa laugh like that bowl full of jelly.
We loaded the plane to correct weight and balance,
And then climbed aboard in our parkas and snow pants.
Clearance and take off exactly as flight planned
We’re off to our first stop after leaving our Parkland.
Now well on our heading, a nasty surprise!
An un-forecast fog playing tricks on our eyes
The instruments guide us, about to turn round,
When I see a bright light, abeam, off the ground!
It can’t be a tower, we’re too high you see,
It must be an aircraft but why fly to me?
The radio’s silent, I call on each channel,
But the only response is the glow of the panel.
Then Ellie squeals “Grampa! Ho Ho, but not you!”
As the shape of a reindeer slides into view.
The cockpit resounds with bells ringing bright,
And the lead reindeer’s nose offers plenty of light.
We arrive at the airfield and land in formation.
The jolly old elf with his usual elation,
Gives Ellie a pat and hands her a present,
Returns to his sleigh and is off like a pheasant.
Our friends reach the airport at just the right time,
To see all the reindeer and watch the sleigh climb.
And to hear Santa say as he flew out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
Wishing everyone the best season ever. May your new year be filled with flying, laughter and life.
Bill, the subordinate Claus