The Santa Who Almost Ruined Christmas

An unusual bedtime story

Rana's Words
Writers’ Blokke


Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

“Mummy, Mummy!” Little Lily roared as her tiny fingers curled around her mother’s shirt, who was busy tucking her in for bed.

“Hmm?” The mother hummed absentmindedly as she turned gently to tuck in her much calmer child, Luke, laying under the covers of his own bed and anticipating his mum’s approach. Smiling at her, he briefly shut his eyes as she swooped down to kiss his forehead affectionately.

“Tell us a bedtime story!” Lily demanded.

The mother grinned softly and raised her brows, seating herself on the edge of Luke’s bed. “Very well, then. Let me tell you the unusual story of when Santa Claus almost ruined Christmas.”

“Erm — Mummy, I believe you meant to say the Grinch who stole Christmas.”

Lily nodded rapidly, but their mother shook her head.

“No, I meant it. Santa almost ruined Christmas once!”

“But how?” Lily frowned.

“Once upon a time, in the North Pole one bitterly cold December, Santa Claus set his headquarters into motion for Operation: Christmas.” The mother started, and the two children wriggled under their covers excitedly, giggling softly.

“Of course, as we all know, Santa cannot possibly get all the children’s gifts ready by himself.” The mother eyes her son and daughter knowingly with a soft smile, and Lily sat upright in bed, wide awake and alert.

“THE ELVES HELP HIM!” She screamed delightfully, and the mother laughed.

“That’s right.” She confirmed. “Santa’s helpers jump in together to help deliver a magical Christmas to children all over the world.”

“But it’s always just Santa who gets all the thanks.” Luke scrunched his nose as he peered at his mother through the hem of his covers.

“Funny you should say that.” The mother spoke slowly. “One day, in the Operation: Christmas Factory, Ellie Elf got in big trouble with Santa.”

Ellie wrung her tiny elf fingers together anxiously as she fought the urge to burst into frantic tears. The elves near her tried consoling her, but it was like conversing with a brick wall.

“It’s going to be alright, Ellie!” Her friend, Eddy, tried to reason with her. “It’s only seventy two presents.”

“We haven’t got time for mistakes, Eddy!” Ellie whimpered weakly. “Big Boss said so himself.”

“Big Boss doesn’t know the logistics behind everything, Ellie. We can make this work.” Edna Elf rolled her eyes as she passed by the two of them, hauling a tray of little snow globes.

“You really think Santa won’t be mad?” Ellie sniffled as she dabbed at her eyes with a green napkin.

“If Santa knows what’s good for him, he won’t lash out on you.” Edna spoke grumpily, and gave Ellie a strong pat on the back. “You make mistakes and move on. That’s what I always say.”

“It’s the nature of life and living.” Eddy added helpfully, but Ellie hardly believed any of it was helping. Santa’s been on edge all month, and she was a small bundle of anxious nerves awaiting her fate.

As if on cue, the door to their factory was slammed open, letting in the bitingly cold wind from the bleak blizzard and causing the elves to shiver from the callous cold. A large silhouette appeared in the door frame, and Ellie whimpered like a fearful mouse, subconsciously stepping back and behind Eddy and Edna for shelter from danger.

Santa Claus stepped inside and shut the heavy door behind him, before he took another hefty foot forward and violently shook the ground beneath him. Appearing in view, he gruffly huffed in a rumbling greeting. The elves blinked at him warily, and he took his seat at the front of the conveyor belt.

“How has it been while I was gone?” He asked in fatigue, a thin trace of irritation in his voice, begging to be triggered so it could be unleashed mercilessly.

Edna Elf, the bravest of them all, stepped forward with her little head held high (which wasn’t that high if we’re being honest) and she unwaveringly listed the updates. “We finished crafting the toy trains, and we’ve packed the snow globes.”

“And the dolls?” Santa asked dully, and Edna briefly glanced at Ellie, who covered her face with her hands.

Edna cleared her throat. “We were meant to be on schedule, but-”

“But?” Santa raised his head and narrowed his gaze on her. “What is it now?”

“There was … some damage.”

“What kind of damage?”

“Burnt doll hair, Sir.”

“Burnt doll hair …” Santa repeated dubiously. “Burnt doll hair?! How many were lost?”

Edna gulped, fearing for her friend. “Seventy two.”

Santa abruptly stood up, and boomed, “SEVENTY TWO? WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS?”

Ellie shut her eyes faintly and whispered a quick prayer, before she stepped into view and squeaked, “me.”

Santa glared harshly down at the poor, trembling elf, who was staring at the floor shamefully.

“How could you let that happen, Ellie?” Santa asked coldly, and Ellie gulped.

“I — I was tired, Big Boss. We have been working so much, and I just needed a wee wink of a nap. I didn’t mean to, I promise — ”

“You’re fired.”

Stunned silence set its cold, damp wave over all elves in the factory. It was a horrid atmosphere, too atrocious for anyone to feel confident enough to blink, let alone breathe.

“But Santa, no elf has ever been fired before in the history of Christmas. You can’t do this!” Eddy spoke up in bewilderment.

“Well that’s about to change. She’s fired.” Santa decided resolutely, and turned his back on them.

“But she didn’t mean to!” Edna thundered. “You can’t let her go for making one mistake! Ellie is a hardworking elf — ”


Ellie’s breath choked in her throat as tears welled up in her green eyes. Stifling a sob, she slumped her shoulders and wordlessly walked towards the factory door. Her friends watched her morosely as she left, and Edna glared at Santa.

“If you’re firing her, then I quit.” She declared, and began moving towards the exit as well.

“You what?” Santa glowered at her, a furiously flustered look on his face.

Eddy gasped. “But Edna! What about Operation: Christmas?”

“Santa can figure it out, since he’s a saint that never makes mistakes.” Edna replied swiftly, and opened the door.

Eddy glanced at his friends, and he quietly followed her lead, and one by one, other elves walked to the door too.

“Where do you think you’re all going?!” Santa yelled angrily, but no one replied, and he growled. “Fine! I don’t need your help anyway!”

“How could Santa be so mean?” Luke gasped in disbelief. “I’m not giving him cookies and milk when he visits this Christmas, Mummy!”

“He’s foolish, Mummy!” Lily agreed. “He can’t even make all the presence by himself!”

The mother laughed softly. “Don’t be so quick to take away your cookies and milk from Santa, Luke. And you’re right, Lily. He can’t get all those presents ready, especially when Santa only had three days left until Christmas, with still so much left to do.”

Santa scratched at his beard anxiously as he eyed the to-do list written by the elves. He still had to make the stuffed toys, the action figures, and the lego boxes, not to mention wrapping every single gift in a box and festive wrapping paper. He sighed solemnly as he glanced at the empty factory, and he gulped nervously.

Santa attempted to get to work, but he was unfamiliar with the machine controls and the art of wrapping presents, not to mention accidentally melting the action figures into indecipherable blobs of wax. Resting his head on the switched off conveyor belt in resignation, he finally knew what needed to be done.

Meanwhile, in the blizzard outside, the elves found shelter in a cave a few kilometres away from the factory. They huddled close to each other for warmth like penguins, and they stood their ground in their stance to make Santa know their true worth.

“Thaa-tha-that’ll t-t-teach h-him.” Edna stammered stubbornly with clattering teeth as she shivered, and Ellie hopped in place frantically as she tried to warm herself up.

“I’m so sorry, guys.” She apologised sincerely.

“Don’t be silly, Ellie.” Eddy quickly replied. “It’s about time Big Boss knows just how important we are to him.”

Soon enough, Santa Claus stumbled into the cave, out of breath, eyes wild and wide. “Thank God I’ve found you!”

“Big Boss? What are you doing here?” Eddy questioned curiously.

“I’ve made a terrible mistake!” Santa admitted sincerely. “I have been very unkind and unreasonable with all of you. I’m sorry I haven’t been giving you breaks, or letting you rest. I should not have yelled at you the way I did, Ellie, and I definitely shouldn’t have fired you.”

Everyone stayed quiet as they listened to him, so Santa went on. “Please, guys. You are the true stars behind Operation: Christmas. You do so much for the children, and I promise I will value each and every one of you from now on.” He vowed.

Slowly, Ellie stepped forward and smiled shyly at him. “Let’s save Christmas, Santa.”

Santa beamed happily. “Thank you! Oh, thank you!”

The elves rushed outside the cave and were startled to see Santa’s sleigh parked outside. “In you go, all of you!”

“But Santa, we’re not allowed on your sleigh!” Edna gasped.

“Well, you are now and always will be! I have no idea why such a silly rule exists!”

The elves quickly filed in, and Santa soon joined them, giving Rudolph the Red Reindeer the signal to start moving. Once they’ve entered the factory, they immediately went to work. Santa made everyone hot chocolate to keep them warm and energised, and he asked everyone to plaster a sticker of their name on the boxes they wrap, to let the children know which elf made their gift. That way, children would know how hard the elves work to keep them happy every Christmas.

Once all the gifts were ready, Santa packed all of them into his sleigh, and he smiled gratefully at the elves. “Thank you so much, friends!”

The elves beamed at him with pride, and Edna yelled, “Go set smiles on children’s faces, Santa!”

“Good luck!” Ellie added brightly, and Santa grinned at them.

A few seconds later, he was up in the air on his sleigh, and followed directions to the first house to deliver presents to, his heart full of warmth and love for his friends.

“And just like that, Santa understood the true meaning of having friends that help, to appreciate them, and the value each friend contributes into making sure a shared passion for spreading happiness is fulfilled. Without his elf friends, Santa would never be able to deliver presents to children.” The mother finished her story, but by then, her kids were fast asleep, and she smiled softly at them.

Slowly standing up and going for the door, she whispered, “Goodnight, my little angels, and Merry Christmas.”



Rana's Words
Writers’ Blokke

There's infinite beauty in the countless worlds of fiction.