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  • Shelly Desjarlais

Relationship Advice from Santa

As snow fell indolently from the starry sky, the clock tower chimed six times. It rang throughout every hollow in Christmas Village. The elves inside the toy factory sped up the assembly line, and the baking elves added fuel to their ovens. That sound meant they only had six days left before Santa’s trip around the world. No elf knew that better than Lacey.

Lacey was one of the few stable elves. It was her duty to look after the reindeer to ensure that they too were ready for the journey. Two other elves assisted her occasionally, a tiny fellow by the name of Buttons and a beautiful girl called Bells. Bells had perfectly proportioned ears, an adorable nose, flowing blonde hair, and diamond eyes. She usually cared for Blitzen and Dasher, the two more rowdy reindeer.

For Lacey, it was love at first sight. She watched Bells whisper to Blitzen while she refilled the water troughs. When Bells caught Lacey looking, Lacey nervously smiled and quickly left to fetch another bucket. Upon returning, Lacey saw that Buttons had made his move on Bells. They were chatting and laughing about something. Lacey’s face fell.

At that moment, a whistle pierced the northern air. It meant that their shifts were over. Buttons and Bells let themselves out of the stable, though Bells paused to wave. “Goodnight, Lacey!”

“Yeah. Goodnight to you too,” Lacey returned with a forced grin.

She watched them wander off, probably to the Candy Cane Eggnog Bar. Socializing wasn’t one of Lacey’s fortes. In fact, she lived in the loft above the stable. She preferred to be around the reindeer more than anyone—or anything—else. Bells was the exception. She could spend all day with Bells and still miss her when she left the room.

“Lacey,” a deep voice called.

Instantly, Lacey tried to bring the Christmas cheer. “Santa! Hi. Have you come to inspect the reindeer? I know we’re getting close to the big day. Can’t wait!”

“I’m not here about the reindeer. I was on my way home from the bakery. I thought I’d look in on you. You don’t look too happy,” he noted.

“No, I’m happy.”

“Hmm,” Santa rumbled. He opened the door to the stable. “Come with me. We’ll have some hot chocolate.”

Lacey followed Santa to his big house on the slope. They sat together in his kitchen where Mrs. Claus was making the hot chocolate. While they were waiting, Santa gave Lacey an all too knowing look. Lacey tried to avoid his intense stare, but she simply couldn’t.

“All right, I’m a little down,” Lacey admitted. “Don’t get me wrong, Santa. I am so happy to be here. You didn’t have to save me from that mean old cobbler, but you did. I’m forever grateful. But I’m not a Christmas elf. I can’t be happy all the time. I’m not as cute or friendly. I mean, let’s face it. I’m an elf with baggage.”

“That’s all right. You’ll adjust here in time. I think you know that. So, what’s really bothering you?”

“Ten sugar plums say it’s about a girl,” Mrs. Claus chimed.

“How’d you know?” Lacey sputtered.

Mrs. Claus scoffed. “You have the look. Which girl is breaking your heart?”

“Bells. I’m crazy about her.”

“Have you said?” Santa wondered.

“Of course not. That’d make things awkward. She obviously isn’t interested in me. Even if she was, she could do so much better than me. She can have any Christmas elf she wants. Not some dreary cobbler’s elf.”

“You need to get some self-confidence, girl. You think that this man over here got me by being quiet and doubting himself?” Mrs. Claus asked.

Lacey paused. “You mean that the two of you weren’t always together?”

“Tell her our story, Kris. I’ll pour the drinks,” Mrs. Claus said.

He smiled fondly. “Well, it started many years ago…”


Many years ago

Santa Claus had existed since the beginning of time, but he started out as a single man. It was getting rather lonely at the North Pole. Though he had elves in his Christmas Village, something was missing. One Christmas Eve, fate was going to guarantee that he wouldn’t be on his own much longer.

A particular house in the Bronx thought it would be a good idea to switch Santa’s milk for a bourbon eggnog. He was in such a hurry that he didn’t realize the change. He threw the eggnog down like a shot, causing him to cough and choke. By his next house, he was starting to feel woozy. He never was a drinker, as it always went straight to his head.

His navigational senses were drowned by the liquor in his system. He landed on the roof of a quaint New York home, though it was one that lacked Christmas decorations. He figured they simply didn’t have much spirit. He tried to climb down their chimney as usual. Instead, he fell down it. His head hit their hearth at full speed, and the uneven stone nicked his forehead.

Upon hearing the noise, a beautiful young woman appeared in the living room—with a baseball bat. She was ready to take on any intruder until she saw that the man was hurt. Being a nurse, she leapt into action. She found ice for the bump on his head and a bandage for his cut.

“Who are you?” she asked.

“Santa Claus,” he slightly slurred.

She rolled her eyes. “No, seriously.”

“Yes, seriously. Go look at the roof. My reindeer are there.”

Although she was skeptical, she went outside to see. Sure enough, they were there. She ran back inside. “You’re really him.”

“Haven’t you been getting your presents every year? What’s your name?”

“It’s Magda, and I haven’t gotten anything.”

“No? Are you that naughty? I kind of hope so.”

“You’ve landed on a Jewish household, Mr. Claus.”

He rubbed his head. “Oh…I have? No wonder I don’t recognize you or this place. I’m sorry. There was an eggnog situation a few houses ago. I’m not usually like this. You know, you’re really pretty. You’ve been so kind to me too. Would you like to come to the North Pole with me sometime?”

“That’s nice of you, but you’re a bit old for me. And, like I said, I don’t celebrate your holiday.”

“You don’t have to. I’m not just some Christmas character who brings kids bikes and puppy dogs. I’m the spirit of love, life, and giving. That’s not confined to any occasion. I’ll be back when you’re ready.”

“What?”

“I have all the time in the world, and I want to spend it with you—or waiting for you.”

With the wiggle of his nose, he flew back up the chimney. She watched as he swerved to his next household, which would hopefully be the right one. Sighing, she folded her arms. “What a strange man.”

Years went by. Magda began to find letters or trinkets left for her, and they were always signed with the same name: Kris. She never forgot the night that she met him. Even after she married, she would stay awake late on Christmas Eve to see if Santa would drop in. He hadn’t come back yet, but he certainly hadn’t forgotten her. Those notes and trinkets kept coming. Eventually, after her divorce, she said to herself: “I wonder what would’ve happened if I left with Kris that night.”

That Christmas, she slept on her sofa near her fireplace. A THUD sounded. She jolted awake to find Santa standing in front of her mantle. He grinned and offered his hand. She stood and cautiously took it.

“I told you I’d come back when you were ready,” he said.

“I can’t believe you never gave up on me.”

“How could I give up on someone like you? Will you come with me now?”

“Can we still celebrate my holidays?” she asked.

“You can have and be anything you want.”

She had a soft smile. “You really are the embodiment of love, aren’t you?”

“Especially for you.”

The couple shared their first kiss. Within a captivating gust of wind, they were swept away from New York and sent to the North Pole. In doing so, Magda became a magical presence like Santa Claus. They were married that night and were forever bound to bring joy to all the people and religions of the world. Neither could be happier.


Now

“You see, Lacey? You can’t give up on true love. I didn’t let rejection stop me,” Santa said.

Lacey lowered her cup of hot chocolate. “When you did it, you were charming. If I try that, Bells will want a restraining order.”

“How will you know if you don’t talk?” Mrs. Claus pointed out.

“Yes, you won’t know anything if you don’t try,” Santa seconded.

“I know you feel like you don’t have anything to offer her, but you do have something. Something more important than anything else. You have love for her. Anyone can give her things or a casual relationship. Love…now that’s rare. When we find it, we should go for it. What do you think holidays are about?” Mrs. Claus said.

Lacey finished her drink with a big smile. “Okay. I’ll talk to her. I’ll talk to her right now.”

“She’s at home,” Santa told her, winking. “Good luck.”

In a rush, Lacey left for the Gingerbread Apartments. She went up to the proper door and knocked. When Bells answered, Lacey froze. Bells waited for a moment before speaking. “Hi…is everything okay?”

“Huh? Oh. It’s fine. I wanted to say something,” Lacey explained.

“All right. What’s up?”

“I know that I’m not like everyone else here. I can get depressed sometimes, and I’d rather stay home than go to the Christmas Cracker Club. I’m definitely not as attractive as most Christmas elves, and I don’t have a fancy gingerbread joint like this. But I wanted you to know that I have feelings for you. Real feelings. I’d like to be with you. I don’t have all the time in the world, but whatever time I’ve got is yours. Even if you don’t want anything to do with me now, I’d still wait. I’d wait my whole life for you.”

There was a lull. Bells had to take a second to digest that information. She spoke softly. “Lacey, that was beautiful. I’ve just never thought of you as more than a friend.”

“Yeah, I figured. I was given some advice to at least try,” Lacey somberly replied. She turned around, mumbling. “I’m sorry for bothering you. Have sweet dreams. I’ll see you at work tomorrow.”

“Hold on,” Bells stopped her. Lacey turned around hopefully. “What are you doing tomorrow night?”

“Nothing. Why?”

“I’m not doing anything either. Maybe we could do nothing together. See how it goes.”

Lacey beamed. “I’d like that.”

“Okay. It’s a date.”

“Okay. Sounds great.”

They shared a brisk nod before parting company. Lacey danced her way back to the stables. Santa and Mrs. Claus were watching from their living room window. Mrs. Claus chuckled. “I knew they were a good match.”

“It is the start of something wonderful, my dear. Just like that night so many years ago,” Santa agreed.

“I’m so glad that you got farshnickered. And, boy, were you gone,” she affectionately sighed.

“It’s not my fault that I’m a lightweight.”

“No one has every accused you of being light.”

“You said you like that I’m fluffy.”

“I do. Let’s get you some more food so you don’t get too thin.”

They headed to their kitchen together, arm in arm, as happiness filled the Christmas Village. Love had taken over the sky, even more so than the twinkling stars.



-- Happy Holidays!

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