Chapter Two – Troubling Times at the North Pole.

Between Sunday, December 12 and Christmas Day, enjoy a daily post in our Christmastime short story: The Christmas Eve Santa Came To Iowa. For a complete list of all 14 chapters, click here.

“I’m through! Finished! Done!” Santa roared. “Christmas is just not the same, anymore. I’m not the same anymore. It just doesn’t matter. To them. To me. I quit!”

Mrs. Claus tried to calm the situation with a few kind words.

“Listen. Get this straight, mamma.” Santa exclaimed. “I’m never going to do another Christmas! And that’s final!”

Santa walked right past the community elf band without saying a word. He huffed and puffed, and mumbled and grumbled himself right past the twenty-five foot Christmas tree and right into his house. From there he pulled off his famous red coat and sash, threw it on the kitchen floor, walking right by Mrs. Claus’ fabulous home-cooked ‘Welcome Home’ Christmas breakfast. With a mighty slam, the bedroom door swung shut. Everyone and everything at the North Pole stood quiet and still. Nothing was stirring, not even a mouse.

“He’ll be better in the morning, Sam.” Mrs. Claus whispered. “Don’t worry. I’ll talk to him. It’ll be OK. You elves go ahead and come on inside. Help yourself to Christmas breakfast. Let me go talk to him.” Mrs. Claus headed toward the kitchen. Before she went inside she turned briefly toward the crowd and waved, “Goodnight, Sam. Goodnight, all. Merry Christmas.”

Mrs. Claus took off her beautiful full-length Christmas apron and made her way quietly into the house, stopping only briefly in the kitchen to pick up Santa’s coat and sash. She took one last look to see if all the breakfast was ready to serve, and then walked through the living room, up the spiral staircase, and then toward the bedroom door. With a smile and a little wave, she looked back at some of the elves who had gathered in the living room below. At the foot of the stairs, Sam waved goodnight. The rest of the elves stood there, wondering what tomorrow would bring.

Well sir, in the morning, Christmas morning, everyone was up and at ‘em, bright and early. As was typical on Christmas morning, everyone attended the Christmas morning ten o’clock church service down at the North Pole United Elf Church. Now if you’ve ever been to a Christmas morning church service, you know there is usually a lot of joy and celebration and of course, music. But I don’t think I would be exaggerating one bit if I told you that the music at the North Pole United Elf Church was the best around. Being at the top of the world and all, there was every style of music one could imagine.

What type of music, you ask? Well to begin with, there’s the more traditional church music that people come to expect at church. Music with an organ and a choir. And oh my, how Deborah the Elf can make that massive pipe organ at the back of the church sound like a symphony of brass and strings. The choir, under the direction of Jennifer the Elf, has three hundred members on normal Sundays, but on Christmas morning, just about everyone at the North Pole joins the choir, so when they sing Handel’s Messiah, the entire village begins to sway with the music.

At this point in our story, just to remove any confusion, I should mention that every elf at the North Pole has a first name and a last name. While the first names are all different, like yours and mine, everybody’s last name is ‘the Elf.’ So when I tell you about Sam the Elf, or Deborah the Elf, or Jennifer the Elf, I’m not being nasty in stereotyping them as elves, but only giving you their proper full name so that you don’t get them mixed up. Not that elves look alike, mind you.

Sam the Elf, Santa’s head elf for example, is rather tall for an elf. He stands all of four feet-two inches in shortness, which in elf measurements is quite unusual. Sam also wears a set of black horn-rimmed glasses and a silly little grin, just in case you need a bit more information when identifying him in a crowd. Elves, by the way, do visit down here on occasion, evaluating each child’s naughty or nice rating, so in case you see him, you’ll now know him by name.

Now, back to the Christmas morning service at the North Pole United Elf Church. While Deborah’s pipe organ and Jennifer’s choir get the service off on the right foot, keep in mind, that’s just the beginning. After the church mice light the nearly two thousand Christmas candles that are scattered around the church, Pastor Jack the Elf reads a bit from the scriptures and then the Northern Lights Gospel Choir takes the stage. Under the fine leadership of Herbie the Elf, the band consists of Herbie on keys, Jimmy the Elf on lead guitar, Billy the Elf on drums, and Sam the Elf, Santa’s head elf, on bass.

Some say that Sam plays bass simply because he’s one of the few elves who stands tall enough to master the instrument. But discerning musicians know that Sam has that uncanny knack of finding the right notes just at the right time, synchronizing his plucks perfectly with Billy on drums. When teamed with Herbie and Jimmy, this quartet can rock the house for hours and provides the musical undercurrent for sixty of the finest voices of soul you’ll find anywhere north of Atlanta.

Now I should also tell you that Santa loves the Northern Lights Band so much that he often hops out of the church pew and right onto the stage, joining the band whenever they play one of his favorite carols. When someone asks Santa why he does this, he often tells them it’s because he wants to give Sam the Elf a little break from playing the bass. Being only four feet-two inches can make it difficult to play the upright bass for nearly an hour, especially when everyone in the band is choreographed to move to the music. While Sam is very reluctant to give up his bass (Sam insists that he taught Santa everything he knows about the instrument), ole Santa can be pretty insistent at times. So seeing that Santa is the boss around here, Pastor Jack usually allows Santa to strum on Sam’s bass for at least one or two Christmas carols before asking him to take his seat.

I’m sure you’re familiar with most of the tunes the band plays. But you’ve just never heard Joy to the World until you’ve experienced Herbie’s Northern Lights arrangement for jazz swing choir! For centuries now, it’s usually this tune that gets Santa to relinquish the bass back into Sam’s hands, stepping off the stage to invite Mrs. Claus out onto the dance floor of the church. Now maybe in your church this might seem unusual, but at the North Pole United Elf Church, the ballroom dancing can literally go on for hours.

Click here to go on to our next chapter…

Click here to read about Thomas Nast, the creator of the Christmas art used in our story…

Click here to return to Our Christmastime short story index page…

1 thought on “Chapter Two – Troubling Times at the North Pole.

  1. Pingback: Chapter One: Ho! Ho! Humbug! | Our Iowa Heritage

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