The Elves at the North Pole are always busy this time of year. Normally, they're busy making toys for the children on Santa's Nice List, or wrapping presents, or working on Santa's sleigh to get it ready for the big trip around the world on Christmas Eve. Today, however, the Elves were busy with an entirely different task.
"Santa sorting," said Louis Elf, shaking his head in amazement. "That's not a job I ever thought I'd have."
"It's not a job I ever thought there'd be," said Smitty Elf, as he guided a dozen Santas into the Great Hall. "And I hope it's a job we don't have to do for long." Santa had gone to a number of 'Santa's Helper' conventions earlier in the week, to help teach the Santa's the children see during the holiday season to be as much like Santa as possible. Apparently, he did too good a job of it, because they all came back to the North Pole with him!
"Ho ho ho," said one of the Santas, "Let's stop all of this silliness and get back to work!"
"We will," said Louis, "as soon as we figure out which of you is the real Santa."
A thunderous noise filled the Great Hall. It was the sound of 419 Santa Clauses saying exactly the same thing at exactly the same time: "Ho ho ho! That's simple! I am the real Santa Claus!"
"I think we all need to stop saying things like that," said Adamup Elf, "I'm starting to lose my hearing."
Toby Elf--the hardest working and most practical of all the Elves--had taken charge of the process. First, he sorted out the ones who were obviously not the real Santa (although they didn't believe it)--the ones who were too tall, too short, too heavy, too skinny, too light, too dark, and even a couple of lady Santas! That removed more than half of the Santas in the room.
"Now we have to look at this group more closely," said Toby. "Is his beard too long? Is his hair too thin? Then he's not the real Santa. Is his suit too new? Are his boots too old? Then he's not the real Santa."
It took some time, but eventually they ended up with 41 nearly identical Santa Clauses--so identical that even Mrs. Claus couldn't tell them apart. "Forty-one Santas," said Adamup, sadly. "Still 40 too many."
"Ho ho ho!" said one Santa looking at another, "You're quite a handsome fellow!"
"Ho, ho ho!" said the second Santa to the first, "I do admire the way you dress. That red suit you're wearing is a great color on you!"
Bernard Elf was thinking hard. "I think we really need to find out how these folks came to believe they are the real Santa," he said. "Perhaps if we know what caused them to think this way, we'll figure out a way to turn them back." he looked at the Elves (and Mrs. Claus) who were standing near him. "Any one have any idea what caused this?"
Gismo Elf shifted uneasily. He picked at an imaginary piece of lint on his tunic. "I think I may be able to help you here," he said. "I think I may have caused this problem."
Mrs. Claus smiled sadly at the inventor elf. "No, Gizmo, I think you're just feeling guilty. I know what happened to these people," she swallowed hard, and it's my fault!"
What are they talking about? Did Gizmo cause this problem, or was it Mrs. Claus? Be sure to keep reading The North Pole Times to find out!