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Barbaric Christmas Decorations

   A little boy, two feet tall, gazed up with wide eyes around at all the sparkling red and green lights, the Snoopy stuffed animals and the tree decorations that glittered with glee. It was that time of the year. His grandmother held his hand as they walked down the aisle, amazed by these Christmas decorations. The boy saw all of this as a winter wonderland within this fluorescent-lit store. After he looked up and down at the shelves as they went along, at one point he shook his grandmother’s hand and shouted, “Look! Look!” as he pointed at a peculiar house decoration. He wondered about the shiny, plastic pretend legs for sale that had pointy, curved shoes with bells on top and red and green tights. They were just a single fake, mini leg with each a stick attached to insert into one’s lawn. All for just $9.99! “What’s that?” her grandson asked. His grandmother, uncomfortable, adjusted her plaid scarf and sighed with a tinge of sorrow.

   “Elf legs,” she told him and began to reveal a piece of history that is often unsaid. She continued and softly said, “You know how Mrs. Claus uses reindeer to fly around to deliver all the presents herself?” his grandmother asked him with a weak smile. “A long, long time ago, Santa, her husband, would send out his elves to deliver presents… until a fatal accident occurred one Christmas Eve…”

* * *


“Before we take off, be sure your seat backs are in the upright and locked position, your tray table is put away, and all carry on items are securely stowed.” Not even their glittering, holiday hats with tall points couldn’t reach the headrests as the elves sat small in the plane’s cabin seats. Some giggled and some smirked as they whispered to each other, the anticipation of Christmas Eve unbearable. Every day of the year, leading up to this day was spent preparing for it. Their lives centered around their jobs of making the gifts and then delivering them to the children down below. Only some elves got the pleasure and luck to be the ones to deliver presents each year. There was only so much room in this large plane. Santa, a large, chunky man with cheeks happily stuffed with sweets had ordered a private plane each year to send his beloved elves across the world on Christmas Eve. After he would set the plans into motion each December, he was free to settle on his couch to stay and snuggle away from the brisk breeze outside. Instead, every year the elves volunteered to brace the holiday task with full hearts.

One elf nudged another beside him and full of glee, he asked, “Are you excited? Because I am excited!”

“You kiddin’ Steve? Of course I’m gosh darn excited! I’ve never been more excited in my entire life!” he replied with joy overflowing from his face.

“You know,” Steve the elf began, “I honestly never thought I would be picked for present delivery ever. There are so many of us— I don’t know how we got so lucky!” The other elf, Snowy, nodded in agreement while he swung his short, dangling legs.

“I don’t know!” he exclaimed a little louder, attracting a tall, human flight attendant to walk on over.

“Excuse me, can you two slightly lower your level of speaking?” she asked but said it more of a demand. The two elves nodded and simultaneously said “sorry.” Once the flight attendant walked away, the two giggled to each other once again, but in more hushed voices.

The overhead speaker continued, ringing throughout the plane, “As we come through the cabin for our final safety checks, please let us know if you have any questions. We ask that you all review the safety information card located in the seat pocket in front of you. Once again, welcome aboard and thank you for flying with us.” Cheers erupted from each seat; each elf practically exploded in excitement. One or two elves threw glittery, red and green confetti into the air and another honked their small plastic horn. The flight attendant, who towered way above the elves, motioned with her hands for them to stop and said, “Settle down, settle down, everyone!” After a few moments, the noise died down and the engines of the planes roared as the plane began to move slowly. Every elf went silent as the plane turned and made its way to the runway for takeoff. Snow fell outside of the plane, some flakes landing on the plane’s windows. The engines hummed louder in every passenger’s ears as the plane drove down the lit path that guided the way as the sky turns to dusk. It was a fact that the dusk on Christmas Eve night was the most fun of all.

The aircraft, filled with the magical beings, sped up dramatically on the runway and, after about 30 seconds, the plane’s wheels were lifted up off the ground into the air. Being lifted up into flight was a magical and surreal feeling, whether being flown by one of the North Pole’s reindeers or by an average plane as such. Although, if the plane had been magical, maybe their fates would have been different.

The elves talked amongst themselves as the plane headed toward the children of Canada as it always had. The system was: elves would parachute down to the houses and would aim to fall directly into the chimneys, each one’s arms filled with presents, so many they were almost spilling out of their arms. There had been occasional cases in which an elf would get wedged in the chimney or the wind picked up suddenly to drift an elf off of it’s targeted spot, but the elves were extremely crafty in such situations. Once an elf was done tip-toeing the presents under their designated tree, they would use their inner magic to lift up into the air, up out of the chimney in which they came. Each elf only had a certain amount of magic reserve inside of them so the elves had to be cautious year round as to not spend too much of it. During Christmas Eve, they would conjure as much magic as they could to fly up into the air, up over the glittering houses below, to reach Santa’s airplane that flies among the clouds. It was a very dangerous and precise mission— to return to the flight involved flying up at exactly the right second in order to shoot up into the open bottom that was meant to catch them. It was a padded space that connected up to the middle cabin so the elves could fly at high speed into the plane, fall into the padded space, then open a door that led to a small staircase that led to the cabin, all while the plane going fast through the sky. Something was ought to happen one day.


On the 24th of December in 1938, that something did happen.


The elves swayed and their bells jingled as the plane flew. The elves were all humming Christmas tunes and there was anticipation in the air as the plane got closer and closer toward the first neighborhood for dropoffs. Unexpectedly, the entire aircraft jolted roughly to its side, another plane piercing it. A huge hole was pushed into the plane which opened up the aircraft and crushed a third of the main cabin. Screams were drowned out by the wind from the high altitude that ripped through as the emergency alarms blared. Another plane had crashed into Santa’s elves’ plane because their plane was off the radar to other plane companies. This possibility had always been a fear but was often pushed aside when brought up. It was too late for the elves that evening. One engine was broken and the entire plane was too bashed and wrecked to fly or be recoverable. As the other plane barrelled through the sky, it still had the Christmas delivery plane on the plane’s nose, making the aircraft worse as bits and pieces flew off of the plane, along with elves, dead and alive being blown into the clouds and down onto Earth. The other plane was quite damaged, but not nearly as much as the elve’s plane had. The other plane immediately headed down so they could land, but they would soon discover that there were no survivors. Pieces of elf would be found in backyards, far away fields, or on the rooftops of buildings. It was a grotesque rain that no one could have predicted.


“It is said that Santa pushed the memory of that fatal night away, as far as it can go. One finds it very difficult to get the image of a leg in bright red tights with bells out of one’s mind. I still remember the moment, as a little girl, I went outside to play and there was a small hand I came upon, so small it was like a child’s hand, like my own then. My other neighbors had worse, though, some having,” she coughed, thinking of what to say, “elf, you know, insides on their houses or in their grass. And that, my grandson, is the story of how elf legs, years later, became a dark and barbaric Christmas decoration.” Her grandson sat in the backseat, shocked from the horror of the story he was just told. It certainly wasn’t a fun story or a simple bedtime story. It was a serious event that his grandmother had witnessed and lived through.

“What happened to Santa?” he asked her, wondering about Mrs. Claus’ husband who apparently used to run the North Pole.

“Santa had to come out to the world, admitting his existence,” his grandmother said as she drove. “It was a big, big deal! Before this happened, no one knew if Santa was truly real or not. People would assume it was a make-believed tale. TV was still pretty new when Santa had to be broadcasted on our big television, apologizing and taking full blame for what had happened. Santa was pulled into court of the trial of the century. He was charged with the murders of the elves, despite it being an accident. Santa got a lifetime sentence, but, of course, he lives forever and ever.”

“Does he?” the grandson asked with shock.

“Yep, yep,” his grandmother continued, “so, the predicament is that he is still in jail and possibly could be stuck in jail forever.”

“That’s not fun,” her grandson comments.

“It sure isn’t,” she replied. “But, now we have Mrs. Claus who takes care of the elves, only using them for present production now. As you know, she flies around the world with the reindeer, dropping off each present individually and snacking on the food we leave for her.”

“That’s a big job,” he said. His grandmother nodded.

“It is,” his grandmother replied as they pull into her daughter’s driveway. “Okay, kiddo,” she began as she twisted around to look at him in the backseat, “don’t be runnin’ off, telling your mommy that I told you all of this. It’s serious, adult story stuff!”

“Okay,” he said as a promise. Her grandson opened the car door and hopped on out. The grandmother has a bittersweet smile on her face and she looks down at her phone for a minute, going to her photos. She scrolls through a few photos she has taken at the Elf Museum, which included the history of elves, of Santa and Mrs. Claus, and preserved newspaper articles which updated the people of the world of Santa’s court case each day until he was sentenced. She shut her phone off and looked up at the sky from inside her car, looking at the clouds in this nice day. Thankfully, she would never see the smoke and carnage ever again like she had on that horrible day in history.

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