Alex, Neve and Jack were playing hide and seek when there was a knock on the door. Jack opened the door and smiled when he saw Kyle and Tamsin with Willow the dog
"Hello," he said. "Come on in, we have hot chocolate and marshmallows."
"Ooh yum," Tamsin smiled, and ran in to the house.
"Let's go on a treasure hunt," Kyle said. He had chocolate on his face from the drink and it looked like a moustache. In the kitchen, Jack and Kyle found some bubble wrap. It hadn't been popped yet. Neve and Willow the dog were seeing what they could find in the bathroom.
"Woof!" barked Willow, snuffling in a cupboard. Neve pulled the door open a little more so she could get in. Willow pulled out a squeaky bath toy. Neve laughed as she squeaked it and watched Willow jump around in circles, barking happily. Alex and Tamsin were in the shed.
"What's that funny glow in the corner over there? asked Tamsin. Alex moved the Christmas tree box out of the way and gasped. It was a mobile phone and it was ringing!
"Hello?" asked Alex.
"Hello, I'm glad we found you," a small voice on the other end squeaked. "We really need your help." He explained to Alex what the problem was and Alex said he would have to speak to his friends.
"Okay, but please be quick. We don't have alot of time."
"Guys," said Alex when everyone got back to the living room. "Something has happened and we need to go and help. Santa is really poorly and if the elves can't get all the presents out on time, there will be no Christmas!"
"Oh no, that's not very good," Neve gasped. "What can we do?"
"There is an elf called Sparkles coming to get us and he will take us back to the North Pole. Yes, you too, Willow." Willow licked her lips. She didn't want to miss out on any of the fun, especially not with a chance to meet her biggest hero of all - Rudolph! Suddenly there was a loud pop and in the corner of the room stood the elf, Sparkles. He had a red jacket on, with green tights and a sparkly silver hat.
"Is everyone ready?" he squeaked. They all nodded and held hands. Kyle and Jack held on to Willow's collar. Then with a big puff of smoke, they were gone.
The room they appeared in was very messy. There was wrapping paper and lots of different ribbons all over the floor and the tables. Willow tried to chase a ball of ribbon around a table leg, making everyone laugh.
"This is where we wrap up the presents once they have been made for the boys and girls," Sparkles explained. "Come on, the Head Elf is this way." They followed him through the factory where elves were hammering away on nails, or carving wood, or sewing dresses. They were all singing Christmas songs. It was Jingle Bells at the moment.
"I love Jingle Bells," Jack said.
"Me too," said Sparkles. "Sometimes we even sing in a different language. I like the French one about building a snowman after school."
"I don't know that one," said Alex. "It sounds like a lot of fun though!"
They finally reached the Head Elf's office. It was covered in tinsel.
"Hello, I'm Alfred. I'm very glad you're here." They sat down on large fluffy bean bags and a tiny elf ran around handing out hot chocolate and marshmallows. When they were comfy again, Alfred told them why he wanted to see them all.
"Santa has chicken pox," he told them. "Mrs Claus is looking after him now, giving him lots of ice cream for his sore throat, and plenty of cold milk."
"Will we get chicken pox?" asked Tamsin.
"No, don't worry," Sparkles laughed. "You can only catch it before the spots come out. Santa is covered in spots so you will be fine."
"That's right," Alfred told them. "Which is why we need your help. You need to deliver the presents to all the boys and girls tonight and help to direct the sleigh. That's what Mrs Claus does, she tells Santa where to go."
"How will we get down the chimneys?" asked Neve, frowning.
"Santa's magic will do that for you, don't worry," said Alfred. Willow barked from where she was sitting next to Jack, so Sparkles took her to the stables to meet the reindeer. She was so excited, she was bouncing around in circles with her tongue hanging out. The elf introduced her to all the reindeer - Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. Of course, not forgetting the most important one of all; Rudolph! After the elf had gone back to the children, Willow tried to bark hello, but was surprised when she found she could speak!
"Hello," she said. "Wow, it's so nice to meet you all."
"Hello Willow," said Blitzen.
"You know my name?"
"Of course we do. Who do you think leave those wrapped up bones under the tree every year."
"Thankyou!" Willow grinned, happily. Then they started teaching her reindeer games, which was so much fun that she never wanted to leave the North Pole.
Back in the workshop, Alex and Neve were making a huge mess in the wrapping paper room, and Tamsin had gotten herself tangled up in the ribbons. Jack and Kyle weren't doing as badly, though one of the elves had just had to dig Jack out from a large pile of sawdust that he had fallen in to. He was laughing at Kyle who had just been covered in an exploding tin of paint. Once the mess had been cleared up, it was time for dinner; pizza and chips!!
"Don't you eat Christmas food?" Kyle asked. One of the elves shook his head.
"Only on Christmas day. The rest of the year we try lots of different food from around the world. Santa brings back different things every year for us a try aswell. Pizza is one of our favourite things."
"Mine too," cried out Neve and Alex. Tamsin was too busy trying all the different flavours with Jack. Next, it was time to meet Santa. They were all very excited. Sparkles led them through a maze of corridors until finally, they reached Santa's door. It had mistletoe and holly on the front. Sparkles knocked on the door and Mrs Claus let them all in. She was friendly, and had a big smile. The five children crowded around Santa's bed. He looked exactly like they all imagined he would, except he was wearing red striped pyjamas and had chicken pox spots all over his face.
"Are you okay, Santa?" asked Jack.
"I'm ok," he told them, trying to sit up. "Mrs Claus is being a meanie pants and not letting me get out of bed. She says I have to rest. It's not fair."
"But you're poorly Santa," said Alex. "You have to rest when you are poorly or you will never get better."
"That's right, well done Alex," said Mrs Claus. "See Santa, I told you." She poked her tongue out at her husband and the children laughed.
"Thankyou for coming up to the North Pole to help me," Santa told them all. "I knew you were all very good boys and girls."
"Ok that's enough children. I think Santa needs to rest now and it's time to start packing up the sleigh," said Mrs Claus. The children cheered and followed her out of the room and down to the stables where the elves were stacking up the presents in the sleigh.
"Here are your clothes," said Sparkles, handing them each a mini Santa suit.
The sleigh was all packed and the sacks were filled with all sorts of presents that were poking out of the the top. There red ones, blue ones, green ones, spotty ones, stripy ones, and ones with Santa's face on. There were big ones, small ones, square ones, round ones, long ones, short ones, and ones with many different sides. The children had to decide between them who wanted to go on the sleigh and who would be staying behind with the elves. Tamsin and Kyle wanted to stay behind where it was warmer, so they could help the elves direct the sleigh to all the different countries in time.
Alex, Neve and Jack went over to the stables to see the reindeer. Willow was playing with Rudolph and Cupid. They had been teaching her how to be a reindeer for the night and now it was time to see how much she had learned. Sparkles and two other elves, called Cranberry and Fizzytree, led them over the sleigh. Willow wasn't sure where she was meant to be stood, but Rudolph said she would be in a special place - right at the front with him!
"I'm excited," said Jack.
"I'm nervous," said Neve.
"Let's do this," laughed Alex, fixing his red hat and jumping in to the sleigh. They decided to take it in turns to lead the reindeer, while the other two would deliver the presents down the chimneys.
"To get the reindeer to go you have to say the magic words," Fizzytree said. This was her second year being on elf duty on Christmas eve. "At the start of the night, you call out their names. That gets the magic started. Then when you are on the rooftops, you just have to say 'Reindeer Go'."
"What about to stop them," Neve asked.
"You just shake the reins and say 'Ho Ho Ho', just like Santa."
"Ok, are we ready?" asked Alex. The other two nodded and Willow wagged her tail. "Go Dasher, go Dancer, go Prancer and Vixen."
"Go Comet, go Cupid, go Donner and Blitzen," Jack cried.
"Go Willow and go Rudolph," shouted Neve. All around them, red, green and silver sparkles glittered, lifting the reindeer's hooves. Willow barked and her pretend antlers started to fall off. Rudolph twitched his nose and they were set back in place. Willow barked happily. Rudolph's nose was shining bright red! Up, up, up into the air they rose, and then they were off. Very soon, the North Pole was behind them and they were on their way to New Zealand.
"Brr, it's cold," said Jack. "I thought New Zealand was a hot country
"That's because it's night time," laughed a voice. It was Kyle. He was back at the North Pole headquarters, on the head sets. "It's only hot when we have winter because they are on the opposite side of the world."
"My mum says they have Christmas dinner on the beach with a barbecue," Alex told them. "I've never tried barbecued sprouts before."
"Your next stop is New Plymouth," Tamsin told them. "Turn left and you'll see it."
"Are you sure Santa won't mind if we eat his snacks?" Alex asked, frowning.
"I told you," said Jack, "we are Santa tonight, so he said it was fine."
"Besides," said Neve, "we are gong to need our energy so we can go to every house in the world." She had a mince pie in her hand and had just popped up from one of the chimneys. Very soon they were in Japan and it was time for Neve to take over the reins from Alex. There were massive signs all over the country with the words 'Meri Kurisumasu'.
"It means Merry Christmas in Japanese," explained Jack.
Back at headquarters, things were going well. Sparkles and Tamsin were talking to the elves who lived in the boys and girls houses in December. They would play tricks on the boys and girls at night, or pretend to be naughty. Tonight though, they were telling the elves at the North Pole when it was safe for Santa to go to their houses, because the boys and girls were fast asleep.
"Careful Neve," said Tamsin. "There's a little boy awake. He's asking his mum and dad for a glass of water, so just wait on the roof until he is back in bed, then you can deliver his present."
"Alex, Jack," Kyle said, "you've got to go to France next and then England."
"Do we get to visit the Queen?" asked Alex.
"No," laughed Sparkles, "but you do get to visit her two great grandchildren."
"Prince George and Princess Charlotte?" asked Neve.
"Yes, and there are some special presents for the Queen's corgis. The reindeer like to leave something for them every year." Computers started beeping behind them and there was a loud pop, followed by some smoke.
"Don't worry," Cranberry told Kyle and Tamsin."That happens every year. Santa keeps asking for someone to fix it, but its always so hard to get decent technicians to come up here to the North Pole."
Very soon, the sleigh had cleared Paris and was on it's way to England.
"Look there's the Tamar bridge," shouted Jack.
"We must be near Liskeard!" Alex said. Neve was jumping up and down in the sleigh, rocking it slightly.
"Look, there's the train station," she cried, pointing over the edge.
"I can see it," said Alex. "We're almost in town."
"Can you see our school?" Tamsin asked over the headset.
"Not yet," Jack told her, "but I can see the park." They delivered the presents to their friends and then got back in the sleigh, ready to head off to America. It was getting very late now and the children were getting tired. Kyle was yawning into the headset, making all the elves yawn aswell so Tamsin threw a mince pie at his head. Very soon, America was finished and it was time to come home. Willow was starting to feel the strain, but the wind on her fur was still so lovely and she hung her tongue out. Rudolph did the same and she could see it flapping in the wind from the light of his nose. She giggled at him. She had never seen a reindeer act like a dog before. Rudolph smiled at her. He had never seen a dog act like a reindeer before.
Landing safely back in the stables at the North Pole, they were greeted by a very happy face. It was Santa! He was wrapped up in a red dressing gown and had slippers on that were covered in pictures of Christmas trees.
"Thankyou ever so much," he said. "You all did an amazing job. I'm very glad that Sparkles called you."
"It was brilliant fun Santa," said Jack.
"Yeah, I loved seeing all the pretty lights and decorations," Alex said, jumping up and down.
"Santa," Neve said, tugging on his sleeve. "We brought you something." In her hand was a large mince pie. Santa gave her a big hug.
"Thankyou," he smiled. Alex, Jack, Tamsin and Kyle all ran over and joined in the hug aswell.
After a large hot chocolate with extra marshmallows each, it was time for the children to go to sleep. They were all given large cushions with fluffy blankets to curl up in. They were feeling warm and toasty, and their eyes were heavy.
"Goodnight Santa. I love you," Kyle whispered as he closed his eyes. Seconds later he was snoring lightly.
The next morning the children woke up in their own rooms. A large stocking was at the end of each bed and it was filled with all different types of sweets from around the world, aswell as a couple of tiny toys from the elves.
"Alex, are you up yet?" called out his mum. "Come downstairs, it's time for breakfast." Alex threw his dressing gown on and rushed down the stairs. He knew he wouldn't be getting anything from Santa this year. Not because he had been naughty, but because his present had been to help save Christmas for all the boys and girls all around the world. That's when he saw it - the small box tucked away just inside the tree that was glittering. Slowly he pulled it out and opened it. Inside was a picture of Spiderman that had been signed. It said 'To Alex, thankyou for being you. Lots of love, Spidey.' Alex hugged it, knowing it was from Santa and the elves, then ran off into the dining room to have breakfast with his family.