Christmas Talk 2019 : Santa Resigns
Christmas Talk 2019
I hide as many Form 1 surnames as possible in the talk and the children have to listen carefully and try to count all the names – there being a prize for the child who gets the correct answer.
The story is fictional and any resemblance to places, people or events is purely coincidental.
Father Christmas was done. He was fed up. He’d had enough, was throwing in the towel, calling it a day, giving up, moving on, seeking pastures new and so on – you get the picture. He was resigning.
This wasn’t how it was supposed to be when he’d applied for the job four years previously. He’d been happy enough in his old job but he’d wanted more; 'is son (Morrison) was growing up and he was desperate to help make his final childhood Christmases memorable. When the old Santa retired, he’d certainly left some big boots to fill but, on the surface, the job had so much going for it: the chance to move north to a cooler climate, the chance to engage with lovely, enthusiastic children, an army of elves as willing helpers (even if they were slightly overworked and largely underpaid) and, of course, the wonderful transport, recently pimped and branded ready for his arrival. After all, what is Santa without his sleigh? New Santa had imagined himself seeing out his years in the north, expanding the business, streamlining it a bit, updating it slightly but, most of all, spending years and years devoting himself to making the children happy, as any Santa should.
But now he was leaving, this would be his final night. (Knight)
It had been a testing year. His Magic Controller had recently left and, to be frank, Santa had no head for figures. Tbh, he'd always just assumed that the North Pole Christmas Inc. business relied on unlimited magic to get things done, but the reality was that there was a finite amount of magic around and its use had to be balanced against good deeds done on Earth and carefully allocated to the areas of the business that needed it most. As much as he longed to give every child the present of their dreams, in reality, he was forced to be a bit more pragmatic and it was his Magic Controller who'd kept him straight.
A number of other elves had left over the year, one moving across to work as deputy manager to the Easter Bunny, while another took on a higher paid rôle for the Tooth Fairy. Fortunately he'd managed to find excellent replacements for them who were settling in nicely. And then the merry, rotund elf in charge of Christmas carols and the tuning of the sleigh bells had decided to move on after a good, long stint in the role - it really wasn't going to be the same without him around … though there might be savings in the hospitality budget!
But these were not the things that had driven him to resign. No, the truth was that the job just wasn't what it had been in days of yore. Nowadays being Santa wasn't so much about the children as about policies, paperwork and meetings. Policies for Elf Well-being, North Pole Evacuation Policies, Magic Containment Policies and so on. Then there were the meetings - meetings with toy suppliers, reindeer herdsmen, elf representatives and also meetings with the dreaded North Pole Executives, who were becoming ever more involved in the daily running of the whole enterprise.
And then, there was email.
Email was possibly the biggest threat that Christmas had ever encountered. It had seemed such a good idea at the time to streamline children's Christmas wish lists - it would save hours of collating letters, allow the elves more time to make presents, ensuring no child went without. That was the theory. In practice, it caused more problems than it solved. Now the children were sending ever longer lists and no longer was it just 'a bike' they wanted, oh no! It was a 'Raleigh 2.5 Smash Hit Full Suspension, Disk Brake 18 Gear 2019 Model Bike' and nothing else would do. Well, the elves were run off their feet trying to pander to the ever more ridiculous requests.
Oh, how he dreamed of the days when a simple list was written on a scrap of paper and sent up the chimney in a puff of smoke and then it was just left to him and the elves to get on with what they did so well - and they seldom failed to deliver. Those were the magical, halcyon days. No, Santa's job just wasn't what it used to be and he had come to the conclusion that it just wasn't for him.
Sunk into the gloom of his musings, Santa shut the door of his drawing room and slumped on the sofa. One of the most important items at the north pole was the magic snow globe, which allowed Santa and his helpers to see what children were up to anywhere on Earth - it was a great help in deciding if they deserved a present or not. Seeing it on the table now, he pulled it towards himself and gave it a shake. As the snow swirled around, a busy, magical scene began to materialise inside the globe.
Through the blizzard of flakes he made out a large stone building nestled in a large parkland setting with the grass and trees sparkling with frost in the December full moon as a handsome young antipodean walked his ... oh, wait, sorry, how embarrassing, I copied that bit from my 2010 talk ... ummm, as a slightly weather-beaten antipodean, wearing a woolly hat and warm mac (Mack), walked his dogs around the grounds.
The picture shifted inside the building and he realised that he was watching a dorm scene. A group of girls, including the beautiful, angelic blonde head girl, was decorating their dorm, spraying frost onto the windows and hanging tinsel from the ceiling. No gaudy decorations here, this group was set on matching colours - after all, there was a prize up for grabs. He marvelled at the teamwork on show as one of the girls climbed onto another's shoulders to pin the tinsel to the ceiling. Suddenly the door burst open and a fiery haired, befreckled girl came flying in, snatched a bunch of mistletoe and dashed off with it shrieking, "You don't need this, no boys are going to kiss you! I need it more!"
"Hmm," thought Santa, "that's certainly not the first time she's been naughty this year - no pressies for her this Christmas!"
In another dorm, the younger girls embraced the joy of the season, convinced that there was no such thing as 'too much'. They'd already used all of their supplies before they nominated the youngest amongst them to go the changing rooms to fetch 'er (Fletcher) Christmas pants to add to the decorations.
Still not convinced the gaudy collection would be enough, one asked, “Where could we get extra?”
“Extra? There's (Struthers) more hidden in my cupboard.”
At the far end of the girls’ house a thoughtful wee girl gazed out the window, stroking her black and white teddy, making sure that her tired, sleeping friend didn't wake. Fields (Wakefield) glistened outside the window and she longed to go and play in the frost but she knew the gardener (Gardiner) would be angry if she did.
The scene shifted to the boys' house along with shrieks of laughter as one of the senior boys tried to do the giant slalom down the red stairs using hockey sticks as skis.
"What's on (Watson) your feet?" asked the kilted head boy as he whizzed down the bannister, eyes widening as he realised just too late that there was a post at the end that would shortly bring him to a halt in a rather painful fashion. Never mind, he'd ask matron to rub some (Robson) Arnica on it before bed.
In dorm 6 a pillow fight was in full flow with feathers drifting through the air like so much snow as three boys stood, their backs to (Baxter) the wall, flailing wildly.
Meanwhile the housemaster reclined on the landing, eyes shining behind his glasses, mulled wine in hand muttering, "Who cares? They're going home tomorrow!" Anyway, he had been asked by the headmaster to prepare the masses for the church service the following morning. He'd sorted the first two masses, and the last two, it was just the middle mass (Middlemass) that he was having difficulty with. What he needed was more mulled wine but it was all finished. As far as he knew, to make more one just had to throw everything into a pot and stew it - how it (Stewart-Howitt) was actually done, he had no idea.
In the hall a giant, beautifully decorated tree took pride of place, its decorations shining in the candlelight. It was covered in an eclectic collection of baubles, but possibly the strangest was the African one made from a gourd. Having dried and painted the gourd, on (Gordon) the tree it went. Grouped around the tree were a mix of boys and girls, Christmas hats on, playing 'truth or dare', punctuated by gales of laughter as they Ushered a hapless victim toward the flames (Flame) of the open fire with one of the teacher’s markbooks and chanted, "Burn it, burn it!" (Burnett)
Two girls and a boy sat with their friend in the window seat playing a game of tick tack toe. Tom, Lynne (Tomlyn) and Beth were quite engrossed in the game before a pal bounded through from the library and shouted, "Tick Tac Toe? Bin (Tobin) it! I've nicked some sweets from the cupboard, let's go eat those!" As they sped out the room, something fell to the floor. A little boy spotted the item and called, “Lynne, you dropped your mitt, shall (Mitchell) I pick it up for you?” before picking it up and dashing after her. In fact, he was quite smitten by Lynne and would gladly have gone to the town’s end, (Townshend) or even to the world’s end, to return the mitt to her.
Suddenly, the Bell rang out loudly and all the children dropped what they were doing and rushed towards the front hall, eyes and tummies eager at the prospect of the delicious Christmas feast that had been laid out in the dining room.
And in a flash of clarity, Santa realised that this is what the job was all about. This is why he'd applied to be Santa in the first place. This, seeing the smiling, happy faces in front of him, hearing the squeals of joy and peals of children's laughter. There was nothing better than this; it warmed his heart and suddenly he knew … he would miss it.
Happy Christmas to all of you.
(21 names out of 27)