Father Christmas sat at his desk, gloomily contemplating the pile of paper in front of him. Letters? No, they were not.

“More bloody forms?”

The small, pinch-faced elf standing in front of him grinned nastily. 

“Not my decision,” he simpered. “The Chief Elf is determined that we in the Polar community, do not spread the virus.”

“But it’s Christmas Eve!” exploded Father Christmas. “I’ve already sanitised the sleigh, installed bottles of the stuff to spray on myself after every visit, taken the reindeers’ temperatures and packed enough PPE to wear for ten years never mind one.”

“We need to authorise your travel plans,” announced the elf smoothly.

Father Christmas glared.

“Really? Chummy, my dear chap, you know precisely what my travel plans are. Which is more than can be said for your unauthorised trip in the sleigh a few months ago!”

Chummy had the grace to look slightly ashamed.

“That was an Elf and Safety trip as you well know,” he huffed. “Now, if you wouldn’t mind I have an important meeting with the Chief Elf soon and I need to get on.”

Father Christmas sighed and snatched up his pen. “With luck he’ll be arranging for you to self-isolate with the Man in the Moon,” he muttered. 

There was no reply, and when Father Christmas glanced up Chummy the Elf appeared to have vanished. He raised his eyebrows thoughtfully.

“Did I wish too hard?” He wondered. “Oh well.”

After a few minutes scribbling he glanced at the sleigh. It was loaded and ready to go. Presents for children all over the world, every letter carefully scrutinised and answered to the best of his ability. Yet still something bothered him… 

He listened hard. Were they still there? Yes, the insistent voices that had plagued his waking and sleeping hours, were still calling him. faint, plaintive and unbearably sad.

“Don’t forget about me Father Christmas… Don’t forget…”

He made a decision. Throwing down the pen, he pushed the papers on to the floor with one sweep of his arm.

“Reindeers!” he roared. “It’s time to go. This year we have more to do than ever. To the skies!”

The loyal animals pawed at the ground expectantly, antlers nodding and bells jingling. They were more than ready.

Leaping into his seat he grasped the reins.

“Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen! On Comet, on… Oh bugger you know your names by now. Let’s go!”

With a jingle of bells, the hiss of the sleigh blades over the icy snow and a triumphant cry from Father Christmas, they were off. Up higher and higher, circling above the hidden Elvish kingdom of the Darkest North, the timeless journey began once more.

It was a night of glistening stars, snow-shrouded landscapes and frost-sparkling trees. Magic was in the air, and the tiny, indomitable figure guided his team over mountains and rivers, cities and villages, forests and wide-open plains. Not a child was forgotten, in any corner of his world. Yet still the voices were there. Louder now and somewhere beneath him, his magic was needed.

“Don’t forget about me, Father Christmas. Don’t forget about me…”

Skidding to a halt among the rooftops of a vast sprawling city, he tried to pinpoint where these voices were calling from. Scanning the brightly lit buildings beneath him, he searched for a clue. Where were those children? 


The figure of a woman stood alone and exhausted by the glass doors of a giant hospital. Dressed in the crumpled and stained uniform of a doctor, she leaned against the wall, eyes closed, her lips moving almost soundlessly. And then Father Christmas knew. Knew about the vulnerable, the isolated, the scared and the broken…

Swiftly, he moved to the back of the sleigh, and uncovered a box long hidden from view. The jars within it seemed to contain shimmering dust, each one a different colour, each jar bearing a single word to identify its contents.

In one rapid movement the jars were opened and Father Christmas turned once more to his team. 

“Once more round the world,” he whispered. “Go, my friends.”

And as the sleigh rose smoothly into the skies, Father Christmas hurled handfuls of dust into the air. The skies seemed to swirl and glow as if the Northern Lights had decided to give the finest performance ever seen.  And every lonely, exhausted, beaten soul breathed in the magic. The power of strength, trust, bravery and wisdom. The promise of hope, love, friendship and peace. The world needed to heal and as he swept homeward through the drifting, swirling clouds of shimmering light, the world’s most loved and enduring symbol of celebration, hoped he’d done something to help.