Story by Bertie.
Read by Richard.
Proofread and audio edited by Jana Elizabeth.
Hello, this is Richard, and this is the first in a special Holiday Series about a character called Uncle Christmas. Now before we start, Bertie’s asked me to tell our international listeners, that here in the UK, our name for the man in the red coat who climbs down chimneys is Father Christmas. You might know him as Santa Clause but he’s one and the same person. And now we’re going to introduce you to one of his family members.
Have you ever thought what it would be like to have a brother or a sister who is very, very, very famous? What if you looked a bit like him or her, and sometimes people stopped you on the street and asked you for an autograph? You would have to shrug your shoulders and say, “Nah, sorry, that’s not me.”
You would probably feel proud of your near relative for doing so well in life. You might also feel a tiny bit jealous. Both feelings would be totally normal.
Now take Father Christmas, otherwise known around the world as Santa Claus, Papa Noel, SinterKlaus, Saint Nick, and Joulupukki.
There is no doubt that Father Christmas is extremely famous. But have you heard of his younger brother who goes by the name of Uncle Christmas?
No? Not Yet? Well you soon will.
Uncle Christmas is only 75 years younger than his better-known brother, but he is a very different character. While Father Christmas is a little bit old fashioned,
Uncle Christmas moves with the times. For instance, once upon a time, when a singer called Elvis was the King of Rock and Roll, Uncle Christmas travelled all the way to Elvis’s home town in Memphis Tennessee in the USA to learn how to play the guitar, Rockabilly style.
Nowadays Uncle Christmas has the latest smartphone, of course, but it’s no use for calling his older brother, because Father Christmas refuses to get a phone.
Father Christmas always says: “If you want to get in touch, write me a letter and stuff it up the chimney,” conveniently forgetting that chimneys are rather out of fashion.
The years rolled by. In 1972, Uncle Christmas once again showed that he could keep up with the times. He sold his magic sleigh to a Viking troll called Bragi, and he replaced it with a motor trike. It’s like a huge, noisy, motorbike, only with three wheels. He’s modified his trike down the years, and now it can fly, but he does most of his air travel at night so that people don’t notice him breaking the laws of gravity.
He also keeps practicing the guitar.
He never made it to the big-time as a rock star, but his band, the Motor Elves, has a cult following.
Every year, he performs at the Venice Beach Surf’s Up Festival of Rock. It’s held in Los Angeles by the Pacific Ocean. If you were there, you might think you were back in the 70s. Long hair and even longer guitar solos are the style of the place.
Venice beach is also home to all sorts of people dressed in all sorts of weird and wonderful costumes. So much so, that even a whiskery old gent wearing a red fur trimmed cloak dress does not seem out of place walking down the beach in the blazing sun.
Now while Uncle Christmas was playing his music up on the stage, his older brother, Father Christmas, had unexpectedly turned up in the audience.
Uncle Christmas was still buzzing with excitement when he finished playing, but the first thing he said when he saw Bennie the Elf was, “Go and tell Father Christmas to come and see me backstage.”
When the brothers met up, they hugged, which was getting harder and harder as they were both getting fatter and fatter. Uncle Christmas said, “Hey, old timer, aren’t you hot in that red snow suit of yours?”
“Not a bit,” he replied. “Don’t you recall that the underground elves of Dökkálfar made it for me back in the Viking Days? Thor’s got the only other one like it. It’s warm in winter and cool in summer, and it never gets dirty even down the dirtiest chimney.”
“You’re not still banging on about those filthy old chimneys are you? What kid has a chimney these days?”
“Well it’s true that increasingly I have to break in by the window. It sure ain’t like the old days anymore. Ha, ha… oh well, the toy delivery business is changing, whether I like it or not.”
Uncle Christmas slapped his brother on the back and joked,
“You must be the only burglar who brings gear into the house instead of stealing off with it.”
“Ho, ho, you may well be right about that.”
Uncle Christmas has a fantastic apartment that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. They walked back to it, occasionally looking enviously at the toned, keep fit fanatics, not just at the famous bodybuilders of Venice Beach, but the runners, surfers and cyclists. To be honest, neither of them had gone in for that sort of thing, even in their youth. Feasting and drinking Viking Honeyed Mead was more their style. When they got back, the kitchen elves prepared a fabulous dinner and served it on the balcony. It began with rolled herring imported from Scandinavia and was followed by beetroot soup, reindeer stake (don’t tell Rudolf), baked salmon, wild partridge, brussel sprouts, and of course Christmas Pudding, even though the month was October. They both love Christmas Pudding any time of the year, though I will tell you a secret - neither of them care much for turkey which is a New World sort of thing.
This trip to California was the first holiday that Father Christmas had taken in over 100 years - unlike Uncle Christmas who lived his whole life like he was on holiday. The older brother admitted that he was feeling tired and run down and was struggling to keep up.
“Every year, Christmas gets bigger and bigger,” he said, “and it starts earlier and earlier, which is great for business, but I’m not getting any younger and it’s hard, I admit, it is very hard.”
“Well listen,” said Uncle Christmas. “How about this year we do a swap? You spend Christmas here by the beach - it’s simply gorgeous as you can see - and I’ll take care of the pressies.”
Father Christmas shook his snowy head. “That’s very kind of you, and thank you for your offer, but the children’s gifts are a big responsibility. Above all, they are my responsibility. The buck stops with me, my name is on the gift label, and if anything were to go wrong, it is my reputation on the line. So it’s tempting of course just to lie on the beach all December, but it’s just not possible.”
Uncle Christmas was expecting a reply like this. He knew how uptight his brother was about getting the toys to the kids on time. He smiled and said, “Chill out bro, it will all be fine, I’ll take care of it.”
Father Christmas shook his head. Uncle Christmas started to feel annoyed.
“You don’t trust me, do you? You don’t think I’m good enough. But I’m family. I’m your closest relative. If you can trust anyone, you can trust me.”
“Sorry,” said Father Christmas. “You don’t understand the business and you’ve never been responsible for anything, let alone a job as big as this.”
“Listen, just because you’re 75 years older than me, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t show me a tad of respect.”
“I do respect you, as a guitar picker, but not as the chief of a worldwide toy delivery company.”
“Typical!” said Uncle Christmas raising his voice. “You always did think that you were the only one with any brains. But the truth is you are too slow to keep up with the times. Look at you! Still dressed as some kind of scarlet Viking, and you can’t even use a mobile phone. How can you say you are the one who understands how to run a modern business? How are the kids supposed to relate to an old uptight fuddy-duddy like you? It’s time to roll over and let a younger person take over. Younger in body and most importantly, younger in spirit, and younger in mInd.”
Father Christmas was boiling inside with fury but he managed to keep his temper - just. He said slowly, and between gritted teeth, “Well it’s been great to catch up. I enjoyed the rock and roll show, though I didn’t see anyone there under half a century old, and thank you for dinner. Please ask your house elf to call my sleigh and I will be off to my hotel in Beverly Hills.”
“Sleigh!” exclaimed Uncle Christmas. “You’re driving around LA in a sleigh and you think nobody is going to notice you?”
“I will put it into its invisible state,” replied his elder brother, and with that he stood up and went to the living room where he spent an awkward five minutes waiting for Rudolf and his transport. His parting words were, “If you are ever in Scandinavia, drop by and see me. Don’t forget to dress warm, we have more snow than sand there.”
After his brother had left, Uncle Christmas stood on his balcony, relaxing in the palm scented Californian air and thought, “Too right brother, I might be paying you a visit sooner than you think.”
And that was the first part of our new Uncle Christmas series. We will be giving you regular updates on Uncle Christmas this winter. The story was written by Bertie, and read by me, Richard, for Storynory.com. The inspiration for Uncle Christmas comes from our friends at Wicked Uncle, the world’s greatest online toyshop, and the home of brilliant presents. Wicked uncle helps you choose gifts and toys by age and for boys and girls - so if you’re stumped for what to choose for the kids in your life, now you know where to go. They’ve been here in the UK for a while and have just opened a store for the US.
Now Bertie has asked me to say that although this might sound like a sponsorship message, in fact it’s something slightly different. We are long standing friends with Wicked Uncle and we swap ideas for stories and getting the word out about our sites.
And don’t forget, if you would like to become a supporter of Storynory, please check out our new patreon page. You can find the link on Storynory.com.
Storynory Christmas Writing Competition 2017
Hello, this is Richard, and I’m dropping by with a quick message about our Christmas Writing Competition. Would you like to hear your story read out here on Storynory? Well send us a story about the best or the worst present ever and we will see what we can do. We will pick what we think are the best three stories from the entries, and I will read them out. Our friends at Wicked Uncle - the world’s best online gift shop, will choose their favourite and award a $50 gift voucher. The deadline for the competition is December 15th 2017. And we will publish the three winners over Christmas week. Send your stories to [email protected] that is c-o-m-p at storynory.com. For details, see storynory’s website.