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The snow-covered sidewalk to the small, brick apartment glistened with the magic that only the holiday season seemed to bring. Soft flakes drifted lazily, descending upon the youngsters who poured from the bus stop near where Charlie lived with his mom and dad on Holly Jolly Lane. Bouncing down the steps of the bus, a thin, brown-haired seven-year-old, whirled around, smiling as he wished the bus driver a merry Christmas, the gap where his missing two front teeth had been creating a comical appeal to his rather homely face.
This was Charlie. He ran from the school bus and up the steps to his small, brick apartment. There were only two more days left until Christmas, and everyone in Hollyville was very excited for the holidays. The streets were covered in fresh shimmering snow, and all of the light poles were decorated with wreaths trimmed with holly. Each house had a newly-cut tree inside, filled with festive ornaments.
“DAD,” screamed Charlie. “Dad, where are you?” Tears were running down Charlie’s rosy, red cheeks. Charlie’s dad, John, came running towards the door. He was a tall, skinny man, much bigger than Charlie.
“What’s wrong, Charlie?” his dad asked, wondering why his young son was crying.
“Fred said that Santa Claus isn’t real! He told me that I wasn’t going to get any presents from Santa this year! It’s not true!” Charlie screamed out. “Santa is real!”
“Oh Charlie… I don’t know how to say this, but it is about time you knew the truth. Santa Claus isn’t real,” Charlie’s dad explained. “It is me who puts all of your presents under our tree each year.”
“No, you’re wrong! Just wait till Christmas. He’ll bring us all presents!” Charlie yelled back. Tears were pouring out of his eyes. He couldn’t wait until Christmas day came when he would wake up and see all of his presents from Santa under the tree. He ran away up to his room and locked the door. He stayed there until the next morning.
“Charlie! Wake up! We are going to Grandpa and Grandma’s house today,” Charlie’s dad yelled up the stairs. Charlie got out of his favorite, blue, racecar-shaped bed and got ready to go. He didn’t want to leave; he wanted to wait for Santa by the Christmas tree all day.
When they arrived at Charlie’s grandparent’s house, Charlie was greeted by many hugs and cheek pinchings. They lived in a large house that was far out into the country. There was snow covering the roof, and a fresh-smelling green wreath hanging from the front door.
“Oh, Charlie, you have grown up so much!” his grandma said. “Do you want to open your presents?” Everyone walked into the dining room where their presents laid neatly organized under the carefully trimmed Christmas tree. After opening presents and eating too much food, it was time for Charlie and his parents to go home.
On the ride home Charlie stared out the window of the car. He was so excited to go home and wait for Santa to come. It was Christmas Eve, and Santa would be there tonight.
When they arrived back at their house, Charlie ran inside as fast as he could. He ran straight to the Christmas tree. His dad sauntered in behind him, watching Charlie stare at the beautifully decorated tree.
“Charlie, it’s time for bed,” his dad said as he walked towards Charlie.
“I want to sleep by the tree and wait for Santa!” Charlie said with excitement.
“Okay, go get your pillow and blanket, and you can sleep by the tree.”
Charlie dashed up the stairs, not wasting any time. He dragged his blanket down the stairs. He lay on the floor, next to the Christmas tree. All of the other lights were turned off except the lights from the tree. There was an ice, cold glass of milk sitting next to freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, waiting for Santa.
Charlie’s mom and dad sat on both sides of him. She handed him a nice warm, steamy cup of hot cocoa. Just like all the years before, Charlie and his parents read the Night Before Christmas together while they drank their cocoa. Charlie cuddled up with his teddy bear and fell asleep on the floor, dreaming of Santa coming with all of his new toys.
Charlie woke up when he heard a loud thud that had come from above him. He looked around wondering what it was. He heard something behind him. He turned around and saw Santa standing in his soot-covered, bright red suit. He was a jolly looking man, and his face looked full of cheer. He had rosy red cheeks on each side of his bright white smile.
“What are you doing awake, Charlie?” Santa asked. “You’re supposed to be asleep.”
“Santa … you are real! I knew it!” Charlie exclaimed with excitement.
“Well, of course I am. You shouldn’t believe anything that bully Fred tells you. He is on the naughty list because he is not very nice to others,” Santa replied.
“What’s going on down here? Charlie, you’re supposed to be sleeping. Who is. . .” Charlie’s dad looked up in awe. “Santa?”
“Yes, John,” Santa replied. John couldn’t believe his eyes. Santa took a bite of the freshly baked cookies that were waiting for him. “Would you like one?”
“No thanks. Are you really Santa?” John asked, still wondering if he was just dreaming.
“Yes, of course I am.”
Santa set down some presents under the tree. They were all wrapped perfectly and tied with bows around them. Charlie ran towards them, his eyes as big as the ornaments on the tree, and picked one up. Charlie was smiling from ear to ear.
“Charlie, you have to wait until tomorrow to open your presents.”
“Why? Please, please, please! I really want to open one now!” Charlie begged.
“No, Charlie,” his dad said. “You have to wait until the morning.”
Charlie was disappointed. He looked up at Santa and asked, “Santa, can I come with you to the North Pole tonight?”
“Charlie, why would you ask such a silly thing? Of course you can’t go to the North Pole tonight,” John said, giving Charlie a nasty look.
“Please, Santa!” Charlie pleaded.
“Of course you can come with me, Charlie! Your dad can come too if he would like,” Santa replied back. He looked up at John who had a look of confusion on his face.
“Come on, Dad! Let’s go!” Charlie yelled out.
“I don’t know, Charlie. I don’t think this is a good idea,” Charlie’s dad replied.
“Dad, it’s Christmas! Let’s go.” Charlie said back.
Santa said, “I will bring both of you back before your mom even wakes in the morning.”
Charlie and his dad got up on top of the snowy roof with Santa. They crawled into his big, red sleigh and away they went.
Charlie had never seen anything like this before. Looking forward, Charlie watched the brown reindeer pulling the sleigh elegantly through the night. “Wow! This is so cool! Dad, can we get one?” asked Charlie with excitement.
His dad laughed and replied, “No. Santa is the only one who can have a sleigh that flies.”
“We are going to make one special stop,” Santa said. They landed on the roof of Fred’s house, the bully from school. His house was just down the street from Charlie’s. Fred lived in a house that was not decorated quite as nicely as the rest of the houses on Holly Jolly Lane. “Will you help me deliver Fred’s presents, Charlie?”
“I can’t go in his house. He will beat me up!” Charlie opposed what Santa had said. “He told me you weren’t real.”
“I know he did. Fred has never believed in me,” Santa said.
“Then why do you still bring him toys?” Charlie questioned.
“All the girls and boys get toys all over the world, even if they don’t believe,” Santa explained. Together Santa and Charlie went down Fred’s chimney. Once they were down, they snuck around to find the Christmas tree. They organized Fred’s presents neatly under the tree.
“Santa, maybe we could go wake up Fred to show him that you are real. Then he will finally believe in you,” Charlie suggested.
“I don’t know, Charlie. I don’t think that’s a good idea. The children are not supposed to see me when I bring them presents,” Santa replied.
“I have a better idea. You go hide, and I’ll wake up Fred and show him all of the presents.”
Charlie ran off to Fred’s room and woke him up. Fred was a chubby young boy who always had a frown on his face.
“What are you doing in my room?” yelled out Fred as he rolled out of his bed.
“Fred, it is Christmas Eve tonight. Santa and I brought your presents. Go look under your Christmas tree.” Charlie replied.
Fred looked at Charlie with confusion. He slowly turned and walked down the stairs to where the Christmas tree was placed.
“Wow, look at all of these presents! Did Santa really bring all of these for me?” Fred asked, his face glowing with joy.
“Yes he did,” Charlie explained.
“I’m sorry for being so mean to you, Charlie. I didn’t know Santa was real. But now I believe you. I won’t make fun of you anymore at school,” Fred apologized.
Santa and Charlie went back on top of the roof to the sleigh. As they walked past the patiently waiting reindeer, Charlie reached over to pet them. They had fur that was smooth like silk and each hair was positioned perfectly along their bodies. Santa and Charlie climbed back into the sleigh again and flew away.
“We have to go back to the North Pole now. I have to go get the rest of the toys to finish delivering to all the children around the world.”
They arrived at the North Pole and stepped out of the sleigh onto the snow-covered ground. There were little elves working all around them. There were lights that decorated everything. It looked perfect. There were candy canes and gumdrops that decorated the frosting-covered gingerbread houses where the elves lived. Santa’s workshop was the biggest, most beautiful building of all.
“This is wonderful!” Charlie’s dad exclaimed.
“Dad, can we move here?” Charlie asked. “I like the North Pole!”
His dad laughed and replied, “No, Charlie. This is where Santa lives. Nobody else can live here except for him and his helpers.”
“Santa!” Annie yelled out as she ran his way, her long shiny hair was flowing in the wind behind her. She was a very nice elf, and that was why she was Santa’s helper. “Santa, we have a big problem! One of the toy machines broke! What are we going to do? We have to finish making all of the toys before the morning!”
“Well...” Santa thought for a minute. “Let’s go take a look at it. Come on, Charlie and John.” They followed Santa through the glimmering snow into the toyshop. There were elves everywhere, working hard, trying to finish making the toys.
“It’s over here, Santa. How are we going to fix it?” Annie screamed out. “There are a lot of little girls and boys who aren’t going to get their presents this Christmas if it doesn’t get fixed. We don’t have enough presents for everyone!”
Santa began inspecting the large, red, toy machine to see what was wrong with it. After a few minutes of looking around, he still didn’t know why the toy machine was broken.
“Well, Annie, I guess the elves are going to have to start making as many toys as they can. Every child will only get one this year.”
“Santa, we can’t do that!” Annie screamed back. “It will take the elves too long to make all of the toys by hand. Besides that, each kid has to get more than one toy!”
“Annie, it will be okay,” Santa consoled, patting the little elf reassuringly on the head. “The elves will just have to work harder to make sure each child gets a toy.”
Meanwhile, Fred was walking around looking at all the elves working away trying to make more toys. Charlie found a spot next to a friendly elf named Buddy.
“Hi, I’m Charlie. What’s your name?” Charlie asked as he sat down on the wooden bench next to Buddy.
“My name is Buddy. It is nice to meet you, Charlie.” Buddy replied. “Would you like to help me make the toys for all of the children?”
“Oh, boy! Would I ever! Will you show me how?” Charlie exclaimed with excitement. Buddy showed Charlie exactly how to make all of the toys so that they would look perfect. Charlie and Buddy worked away while they talked. Charlie told Buddy of how Fred had been mean to him and how Santa and he had gone to Fred’s house to deliver presents to him.
Meanwhile, John was walking around the toyshop watching each elf carve their chunks of wood into perfectly shaped race cars. Santa and Annie were still looking at the toy machine trying to figure out why it wouldn’t work. After a while, they gave up and were talking about what they were going to do to finish all of the toys in time for them to be delivered.
John wandered over by the broken toy machine and stopped next to it. He looked at it for a minute and then continued walking. He came across a big, black cord that looked like it had been chewed right in half. He followed the cord to where it came from. It belonged to the broken toy machine. Over in the corner, Santa’s puppy Max was wagging his tail. Max had chewed right through the cord of the toy machine! John found some electrical tape, and he put the chewed cord back together. All of the red and green lights all over the toy machine lit up! The flawlessly made toys started to pour out of the toy machine once again! All of the elves stopped what they were doing to look up.
“It works! The toy machine works! Christmas is saved! Every girl and boy will get all of their toys after all!” Buddy yelled out with joy.
Santa and Annie were still bickering about how to finish all the toys in time. John walked around the toy machine and watched with all of the elves. Buddy ran up to Santa.
“Santa... Santa!” he yelled.
Santa just kept talking louder and louder so that he wasn’t being interrupted by Buddy.
All of the elves yelled at once with excitement, “Santa, the toy machine works! Christmas is saved!”
Santa and Annie both turned around to look at the brightly lit red and green toy machine. It was glowing vibrantly with toys coming out everywhere. There was cheering coming from amongst the crowd of elves, all watching with joy.
“Who fixed it?” Santa asked, wondering why it suddenly worked.
“John did,” Buddy said.
“John, thank you so much! You have saved Christmas! Now all of the girls and boys around the world will get all of their toys that they wanted. How did you fix it, anyways?” Santa asked.
“Well, I was walking around looking at your toyshop when I came across a big black cord that had been chewed right in half,” John explained. “I looked over in the corner and saw a puppy wagging his tail and looking at me.”
“Woof!” Max barked as he dashed towards Santa.
“Oh, Max. You are a naughty puppy. It is a good thing John was here to fix the problem. John, I don’t know what I would have done if you wouldn’t have been here. I can’t thank you enough!”
“You’re welcome, Santa. I’m glad I could help,” John replied.
“Okay. It is time to get going to deliver the rest of the toys!” Santa said.
John and Charlie followed Santa to his sleigh and helped him put all in all of the toys.
“Bye, Annie! Merry Christmas! Bye, Buddy! Bye, everyone!” Charlie yelled down from the sleigh. All the elves were standing on the glimmering snow waving as the sleigh flew off into the night.
They flew around to the houses of all the girls and boys who hadn’t received any presents yet. Charlie helped Santa put the perfectly wrapped presents under each beautifully decorated Christmas tree.
“Thank you so much, Charlie and John! Without you two there would have been a lot of unhappy children this year!” Santa said. “I guess it’s time to bring you home.”
“But Santa... I don’t want to go home! I want to go back to the North Pole with you!” Charlie cried out.
“I’m sorry, Charlie, but I have to bring you home now,” Santa replied.
Tears were falling out of Charlie’s eyes the whole ride back to his house. On the way back to Charlie’s house, they flew by Fred’s house. Fred was sitting next to his Christmas tree with his parents opening his presents. After Charlie had shown him that Santa was real, Fred realized that it wasn’t nice to be mean to others. He decided to stop beating up other children at school. They continued on to Charlie’s house, arriving just before sunrise.
“Thank you so much again! It was very nice of both of you to help me finish delivering presents this year!” Santa said. “Oh, and John, I have a special present for you.” Santa handed John a special present that was wrapped perfectly in Christmas wrapping paper.
“Thank you, Santa,” Charlie and John watched as Santa flew away in to the dark sky as he flew on his way back to the North Pole.
“Open your present, Dad! What is it?” Charlie asked.
John slowly opened his present, and inside of the box was the toy train he had always wanted when he was a young boy. He turned around and gazed up into the sky, looking for Santa. He was amazed that Santa had known what he had wanted, even after all of those years.
“Dad, this has been the best Christmas ever!” Charlie said as they walked together back into their beautifully decorated house to open the rest of their perfectly wrapped presents, waiting for them under their tree. It was a snowy, beautiful Christmas morning.