The big day finally came. The Sleigh Port elves arrived at the Pole. Donovan took the sleigh out of the pouch and put it on the ground beside the Pole. "One, two, three." Nobby and Donovan jumped back as he blew on the sleigh. Wuffle dust flew everywhere.

            POOF! The sleigh returned to its original size. Nobby whipped out a chamois and began to erase smudges.

            “Bam! Pop! ZzzzziP! The North Pole reappeared!

***

            "C'mon, Dancer. Stop misbehaving!" Ria wailed.

            Rissy heaved a sigh "We've had a dreadful time getting here. Dancer just wants to play in the snow."

            Violet allowed her hand to rest on Dancer's brow. "Later, gal. Remember? You have to help lead the parade."

            "Where's Santa?" Ria asked.

            "He's not here yet," Ticky said.

            "Will he be here soon?"

            Violet smiled. "Very."

            "He's going to be late," Ria said.

            "He won't be late," Donovan said. "The parade won't start without him.

            "I was just saying . . ."

            "Ria!" Several elves chorused.

            Ria took Dancer's reins."C'mon, gal." She positioned Dancer next to Dasher. Then she fetched Rudolph and Olive, the other reindeer, and led them to the front of the line. 
            "Boog is the one who is late!" Ticky said, shaking his head. "Always late."

***

            Boog had just finished polishing the sleigh bells. It was his first really important job since the Fix It shop opened. Boog glanced at his watch, and it read, ‘NOW!’ He closed his shop, loaded the bells, and hurried to the Pole.

            The Pole, itself, is red, gold, and silver striped, and is located just north of everywhere. Topped with a sign that reads 'NORTH POLE,' it is only visible during the Yuletide. This is why no one has actually seen the sign. Winter at the North Pole is much too cold for even the heartiest explorers.

            When Boog arrived, he was only a couple of minutes behind. "Happy High Days."

            "May ya  bask in the light of the High Days." Ticky liked the more formal greeting. "Here, lemme help ya, ole' buddy." Ticky slapped Boog on the back, and grabbed the sleigh bell strap.

            The Team was harnessed and waiting for the bells. Ticky, Boog, Ria, and Rissy attached the bells, while Donovan and Nobby hitched the sleigh.

            Verde and Rojo stopped in front of the Pole. Santa got out of the sleigh, and offered his arm to the missus.

            "Hello, Santa, Mrs. Claus," Violet said. "We're ready for you."

            Santa held Mrs. Claus' elbow as she climbed into the sleigh. This was her one chance to ride this year.

            "Hello, Santa. Hi Mrs. Santa," Ria called, waving.

            "Nice to see you, Ria." Mrs. Claus waved back.

            Santa settled on the seat next to his wife. "Are we ready? What time is it, Boog?"

            Boog looked at his watch. ‘NOW!’

            The bells jingle-jangled, as Ticky handed Santa the reins.

            The bell of truth bonged, as every voice in the village began to sing, "Here Comes Santa Claus."

            Santa and the Team left the Pole and paraded right down Santa Claus Lane. The shop owners closed their doors and everyone came into the streets. The parade proceeded down every street in the village, and all of the helpers followed. After marching down North Pole Boulevard, they circled Polar Park, and ended in Jingle Bell Square, at the Big Tree.

            The helpers broke into a chorus of Oh Tannenbaum,’ as the lights on the evergreen blazed into life.

            Joyful cheers resounded, and once again, the helpers burst into song: "Sleighbells ring. Are you listening?..."

            And, Winter Wonderland began!

 


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