December 13, 2013, by Eve
Santa isn’t Dead
Twas a plain simple Sunday. And a girl lay awake, looking up out of the window of her tower-bedroom. The window was frosty and outside the world was chilly and damp.
It was Christmas day. Well, for anyone else – any other students slumbering sluggishly that simple Sunday morning – it was just another Sunday morning. But in this house, this one little Lenton house, it was Christmas day!
She lay and grinned at the ceiling – who said students couldn’t enjoy Christmas? Downstairs would be presents and turkey and Christmas pudding all sitting quietly in the kitchen, smiling secretly, waiting to be discovered.
She couldn’t wait a moment more. And jumped out of bed with a squeak of excitement. She pulled on her dress gown and a cardigan and a jumper and a pair of thick socks and a pair of bed socks and her teddy bear slippers (this may be a Christmas fairytale but they were still students and they lived in a very cold student house). And she rushed down her spiral staircase and along the corridor and down the second flight of stairs to the hallway.
She stopped by the living room door. It was closed. On the door was a note: ‘Guess who’s been…’
She opened the door and let out a gasp of surprise – on the table there was a glass of milk and a mince pie with a large, Santa-sized bite in it!
With a thrilled spring she ran all the way back upstairs and burst into her tower-bedroom called out that Santa had come in the night! ‘Santa’s eaten some mince pie and drank some milk! He’s come! He knew we were having a special student-Christmas today!’
Her pet hamster (for this is a fairytale and therefore she must have a talking pet of some kind) was grumpy and bleary-eyed.
‘Don’t be a stupid girl! Santa doesn’t exist! Piss off – I’m trying to sleep!’
The hamster’s behaviour was most vexing and the girl was very upset. She picked up the little hamster and carried him downstairs to show him the Santa-sized bite.
The hamster did not believe it – ‘Santa’s not real. You should have learnt that by now!’
‘But it’s a sign,’ the girl protested, ‘it’s a sign to show that we’re going to have a lovely housemate-Christmas today!’
But the hamster was having none of it. And ordered her to take him back to his snuggle-hole upstairs. Sadly, the girl obeyed.
When they returned to the tower-bedroom and she’d placed the hamster in his bed she noticed a trail of crumbles next to his hamster -sized pillow.
The hamster protested but she picked up the pillow and saw what must be, she was most certain, mince pie crumbs!
The hamster looked very sheepish (for a hamster) and looked down at his toes: ‘Yes. Yes it was me. I wanted to surprise you – to add some Christmas magic to your Christmas day.’
‘So Santa isn’t real after all,’ said the girl, slumping down on her bed, ‘I thought – just for a moment – that I might have been wrong all these years.’
The hamster shuffled up and put an arm around her.
‘Don’t worry,’ he said, ‘yes, Santa isn’t real. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pretend. Santa doesn’t have to be a person – he can be a symbol or a Christmas feeling of festive fun and friendship and’ –
-‘ and love and lovely food and chocolate!’ Cut in the girl. ‘Oh yes! Santa means all those things – and of course they’re all real! So, it doesn’t matter if Santa’s real or not! Oh how marvellous! You clever little hamster!’
The milk and the mince pie were indeed a sign for all the wonderful things that were to happen that Christmas day. They opened presents, ate turkey and roast potatoes and white carrots and green sprouts and watched Disney movies and everyone was jolly.
And when it was the hamster’s bed time (9.35pm) the girl tucked him up and said thank you for such a wonderful Christmas day. And the girl shut the door and went away.
And the hamster smiled to himself.
‘She’ll never know,’ he thought, ‘she’ll never know that it wasn’t me who ate the mince pie after all.’
And outside the window, if you listened very very closely, you would have heard a faint ‘ho, ho, ho’ as a figure in a red dashed off to plant some more Christmas magic in another cold Lenton house for another student Christmas.