Saint Nick By Thom J. Wallace (496 words)

The snow was gently falling and for the first time in years it looked like being a proper White Christmas as Santa slowed to a halt above number 15 Poplar Gardens. As Father Christmas dropped onto the roof with a lightness of foot that belied his girth, his reindeer rose a couple of inches into the air at the sudden absence of weight before settling down about twelve inches from the apex of the roof.

"Wait there chaps. Shan't be two ticks." Said Santa and with a glimpse across the rooftops as the rapidly thickening slow flurries reflected in the street lights. He carefully manoeuvred his way across the roof and sat down on the chimney pot, and with one hand firmly grasping his sack of presents and the other pinching his nostrils, he screwed his face up tightly and disappeared down the chimney to land in the fireplace below with a gentle bump. Awkwardly rolling forward onto his knees, Santa climbed out of the fireplace, dusted the soot from his bright red jacket and stepped out into the gaudily decorated lounge.

Taking a moment to adjust his eyes to the evening gloom, Father Christmas nodded with a satisfactory smile at the large glass of sherry, two mince pies and handful of carrot batons that had been left out by way of a thank you. But first there was work to be done.

Carefully opening the lounge door, Nick stepped out into the thickly carpeted hallway and onto the stairs, carefully placing his feet to the side of the steps to avoid any extraneous creaks from the ageing woodwork. At the top of the stairs he turned ninety degrees onto the landing and stepped forward to a door with a sign that advertised "James' Room – no Growed-Ups Allowed" on it. With a gentle pull on the handle to deaden the mechanism, Father Christmas stepped into the bedroom to check that his young follower was sleeping, as per the rules. Happy that James was indeed far away in the land of nod he crept out of the bedroom and into the one next door that belonged to Holly. She too was spark out and so pleased that he could go about his work undisturbed, Santa hopped back down the stairs and into the lounge.

First things first, Santa strode back to the dining table and swallowed his sherry in a single gulp. Then he picked up the carrots and dropped them into his pocket for the reindeer waiting patiently on the roof. Finally he wolfed both mince pies down in a couple of bites apiece and turned his attention to the presents neatly stacked underneath the Christmas tree. The array of shapes and colours and bows and ribbons was a sight to behold and as Santa loaded them into his present sack he let out a heartier chuckle than perhaps he should have done.

"A good night's work here. These should make a small fortune on eBay."

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