Hello everybody! What a week!
If you remember from last time, I was stuck with 2 million children to rate for Santa's Good Deeds List and only a hapless elf as a helper. Heidi was the only elf to apply to the job as assistant and so far she's been nothing but trouble...
This week I learned a valuable lesson.
“Hurry up!” I shouted. “If I can't trust you to find these places yourself, you're going to have to come with me.”
Heidi scampered up.
“Sorry, I'm late,” she said. “I was just...”
“Never mind!” I snapped (I'm sorry to say I was getting a little grumpy). “We've got thousands of children still to visit. How are we ever going to get them done?”
We got on with the job in hand and, with Heidi helping, I have to admit it went slightly quicker than usual. We visited children living on farmsteads in America, cottages in English villages and mud huts in Africa. We even visited you, Reader, but we were super-quiet and you didn't notice!
“It's amazing to see where children live all over the world,” said Heidi, as we took a well-earned break before rushing off to some yurts in Mongolia and mountain villages in the Himalayas.
“If you say so...” I muttered. I was still cross with Heidi for not getting on with the job in hand.
“Well, I do say so...” said Heidi crossly. “And there's something else I want to say.”
I was surprised to hear Heidi get annoyed – I was the one that was annoyed with her. Whatever could she mean?
“From the day you first employed me, you've done nothing but talk about work,” she said. “I know collecting Terrific Tasks is an important job and I know there are more children this year than ever before, but it's Christmas!”
I swallowed. Maybe I had been too harsh on her.
“And where I come from, Christmas is all about spending time with friends and family, enjoying ourselves, taking time to think about what it really means and having a sense of wonder at the world,” Heidi continued. “I'm pretty sure that's what it's all about where you come from too, seeing as we come from the same place!”
“I'm sorry,” I replied. “Maybe I have been too busy to stop and think about the meaning of Christmas.”
“Maybe??” laughed Heidi. “Definitely!! Last week when I went baking instead of to Beijing, I was making these to share with you...”
Heidi produced a basket of mince pies – my favourite!
“They're to say thank you for doing such a great job for Santa,” explained Heidi. “And when I did karate instead of going to Karachi I was enjoying myself – it is the holiday season, after all! And this week, while you've been too busy to notice, I've been admiring all the wonderful places we have in this world of ours. There are so many terrific children, you haven't had time to appreciate them.”
“You're right,” I admitted, through a mouthful of mince pie. “I'm sorry, Heidi... In my busy-ness, I've missed some of the real meanings of Christmas.”
And with that, we went on our way.
There's still a week until Christmas, but you'll know if we managed to visit every child for Santa's Good Deeds List... If Santa visits you, you'll know we did it!
Have a very happy Christmas! Make sure you keep on doing those terrific tasks and take time to appreciate each other this Christmas.
Toomer (and Heidi!)