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The Christmas Shakedown

The snowman blinked three times, then slowly leaned the top two spheres of his body forwards. He stared for several minutes, then straightened up and peered over his shoulder.

'All clear!' he shouted, giving his head a brisk shake to dislodge the last flakes of fake snow.

'Finally! I thought they were never going to bed,' said a muffled voice from beneath a particularly deep drift.

There followed a small avalanche as whoever was beneath it struggled out. After some time a reindeer appeared, tossing its antlers and kicking out with its hooves to free itself of its snowy covering.

'This is getting tiresome. On a school night too!' he snorted indignantly.

'It's not a school night,' said a voice from behind a large, ornately decorated tree. The branches rustled and Father Christmas stepped out. 'School finished yesterday.'

'Oh terrific,' sighed the snowman. 'I tell you, I can't take much more. That little one is vicious. She nearly shook my head clean off earlier today.'

'I'll check your glue in a bit,' said Father Christmas kindly. 'But I must round up all the presents first. There's one stuck on the top of the tree. It looks ridiculous.'

The snowman grumbled, then gave a jump and turned mid air to face the tree. He craned his top two spheres backwards and stared up at the tree. Perched at the very top, giving every appearance of being about to tumble onto his head at any moment, was a large present. He squeaked in alarm, then bounced over to the base of the tree where Father Christmas was standing. He gave his twiggy arms an experimental stretch, grimaced as his fingers cracked, then reached out to grasp the lower branches.

At a nod from Father Christmas he began hauling on the tree, sending ripples up to the top in an attempt to free the present. Father Christmas danced around at the bottom, arms outstretched ready to catch it.

The present stuck resolutely to the tree top. At last Father Christmas tapped the snowman on the shoulder and told him to stop. The snowman sighed and stepped back, whereupon the present rather gleefully freed itself and tumbled down, landing squarely on his hat. The impact forced the hat down over his eyes and dislodged his carrot nose.

Father Christmas and the reindeer stared at each other for a full three seconds before the giggles started. By the time the snowman had managed to free himself from his hat, they were rolling in the fake snow, clutching their sides.

'Yes, yes, very funny,' he muttered, digging his carrot out of the snow and jamming it back in place.

He turned his back on the other two and stared out at the Christmas Tree merrily twinkling in the corner of the room. 'It's alright for them. They have their freedom, an unfettered view, fresh air.'

Father Christmas appeared at his side. He waved at the fairy who was working her way down from the topmost branch to check on the rest of her team. She smiled prettily and waved her wand. He sighed. 'It would be rather nice to join them all.'

The reindeer snorted. 'I'm not going to watch their party this year,' he huffed. 'Do they ever think of us, stuck over here, forgotten, shaken about 'til our antlers drop off?'

Father Christmas rubbed the reindeer's head absent-mindedly. 'It's not their fault. There's not much they can do about it. We all have our assigned roles.'

The reindeer snorted again, his breath fogging the glass. 'Well I've had it. I want to resign.'

Father Christmas chuckled. 'I'm afraid you can't old chap. We're in the job for life.'

The snowman sniffed and hopped forwards until his carrot nose was pressed up against the glass. 'No,' he said, quite simply.

'Hm?' said Father Christmas, who had become somewhat distracted by the fairy.

'I'm not staying in here another Christmas,' said the snowman.

Father Christmas blinked. 'What do you mean? You can't get out. We're stuck here.'


The reindeer lifted his head, his interest piqued. The snowman jumped and turned, then hopped back to the tree and the pile of presents. He took a few deep breaths, then jumped and turned back around. He leaned back against the tree, his face set with a very determined expression, then he started hopping towards the glass at top speed.

Father Christmas shouted 'No!' and stepped in front of him but the reindeer butted him to safety. The snowman had the look of a person who wasn't going to stop for anyone, not even the big man.

He hopped on, sending great clouds of fake snow flying, then he hit the glass. The world shook for a moment, but they were used to that. Then it settled once more, the fake snow slowly landing in drifts around them. Undeterred, he bounced back to the tree and lined up again.

'Good grief man! What are you thinking of?' cried Father Christmas, who was being firmly held out of the way by the reindeer.

The snowman leaned back, then launched himself at the glass again, building up such a head of speed the whole world toppled briefly. Father Christmas screamed, the reindeer pawed at the snow excitedly, and the snowman cheered. Then the world settled once more.

'Stop! This is madness!' cried Father Christmas, still struggling to free himself from the reindeer.

But the snowman was decided. He was getting out, whatever it took. And he was getting out tonight. Father Christmas stared in horror as he lined up again, then glanced over at the fairy on the Christmas Tree. She was watching with great interest, as were the rest of her team. In fact, they were cheering the snowman on, leaping about on their branches and waving.

The snowman set off once more. It seemed to Father Christmas that time slowed. He watched as individual fake snowflakes flew up, up, curving and spinning through the air before arcing back down. Each hop the snowman took seemed to take an hour. The world trembled. The reindeer tensed, willing the snowman on. The pile of presents slipped and slid down into a drift.

The snowman struck the glass at full speed, his carrot nose squishing down against his face, his hat knocked askew. The world teetered. Father Christmas became aware of long, loud moan. After a moment he realised it was coming from him.

They stared down at the ground, so far below. It looked awfully hard.

The reindeer, faced with his immediate and potentially painful future, began scrabbling backwards until he was pressed against the tree, his back end reversing upwards.

Everything stopped. The world hung over the edge of the mantle for several seconds before gravity woke with a start and sent it plummeting downwards. The world was suddenly filled with noise, and presents, and snow, a lot of snow. They turned end over end over end until they struck the hearth. And then all fell mercifully silent, and dark.

Father Christmas came to some time later to feel gentle hands pulling him from a snowdrift. He staggered to his feet and stared into the beautiful face of the fairy from the Christmas Tree. He tugged his suit into place and brushed the fake snow from it, mumbling to cover his embarrassment.

Behind him, assorted elves, soldiers and teddy bears were rooting through the fake snow for the various parts of the snowman. The reindeer tossed his antlers in distress. Father Christmas came to his senses and strode over to take charge.

'Now, now. We can soon put him back together,' he said to the reindeer. They watched as three soldiers attempted to reassemble the snowman. 'No, the large ball goes on the bottom, the smallest goes on top. Has anyone found his carrot? He'll be terribly upset if we don't find that.'

A small elf scurried over clutching it. He bowed before Father Christmas and held the carrot up to him. Father Christmas thanked him and carefully wedged it in place. The snowman's hat was discovered near the coffee table. It was rather bent, but the fairy managed to pop it back into shape, then she carefully set it on the snowman's head. They all stepped back.

The snowman blinked, once, twice, three times. Then he slowly looked down at the broken glass on the ground and grinned. He looked back at the assembled Christmas Tree team and gave such a leap of joy he nearly came apart all over again.

'It was very odd. We came down in the morning and the children's snowglobe was smashed to pieces on the hearth,' said Mrs Heathcott to her neighbour that next day. 'And the strangest thing, the Father Christmas, the snowman and the reindeer from inside it were hanging in the Christmas Tree.'

'Well, surely the children put them there?'

Mrs Heathcott shook her head. 'They were still in bed. It's a mystery. But do you know,' she paused and chuckled. 'You'll think me daft, but I think they look happier in the tree with all the other ornaments somehow. I've left them where they are. It seems a shame to throw them out just because the globe got broken.'


© 2015 Kay Lawrence.


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