Story by Bertie.
Read by Richard.
Proofread and audio edited by Jana Elizabeth.
Uncle Christmas Picture by Wicked Uncle - Kids pics from Shutterstock
Father Christmas headed back to California, grumbling how much he hated holidays, sunshine, the beach, luxury hotels, and healthy food.
Meanwhile his brother, Uncle Christmas, relished the prospect of two months of hard work. “At least I won’t get bored,” he said to himself, “and I’ll be doing all these elves a favour if I drag this operation screaming and kicking into the modern world.”
First he reviewed the company’s marketing strategy. This is how it makes sure that people all around the world know and trust its name and services. He concluded that it was ridiculous that the company’s brand name was Santa Claus in America, Father Christmas in Britain, and Pere Noel in France.
“These days every large company needs a global brand,” he said in his first meeting with the board of wise old elves.
“Let’s ditch the Santa thing and rebrand the company Uncle Christmas.”
The wise old elves shook their heads. He realised that this plan was not going down well.
“Perhaps another year,” he said under his breath. He decided there and then that it was a bad move to float his ideas for change past the elves. They were bound to disagree with him and get in the way of his plans. That’s why he didn’t tell them about his next ‘Big Idea’.
He announced a talent competition to the world. Kids should send him their best jokes, he would choose the 100 funniest ones, and invite them to the Secret Warehouse and Toy Factory for the most amazing pre-Christmas day out ever.
At the end of the week, he had received a million entries. Uncle Christmas needed help to read through them all. Rudolf had refused to return to California, saying that the hot weather was too much for him in his shaggy coat, and so Uncle Christmas put him in charge of choosing the winner.
This was the joke that Rudolf chose as the overall winner:
‘How can Santa's sleigh possibly fly through the air?’
- You would too if you were pulled by flying reindeer!
“That’s hardly hilarious,” said Uncle Christmas. “It’s not even half funny.”
“Well you asked my opinion,” said Rudolph, “and I chose the one that I thought was funniest.”
Uncle Christmas realised that he himself would have to read through all the million jokes. Eventually he chose this one for the top prize.
‘What do you call Father Christmas at the beach?’
- Sandy Clause!
“I don’t get it,” said Rudolph.
“Well it made me chuckle,” said Uncle Christmas. “That’s one down. Now we need to pick 99 others.”
It took them all night, but they did it. They picked lucky winners from all over the world.
When Dusty the steward heard about the scheme, he was furious. His customary tact flew out of the window.
“You can’t invite kids to our toy shop!” he exclaimed.
“Why not? Kids are our customers,” said Uncle Christmas, mystified.
“Because where we are is a top secret,” said Dusty. “When the word gets out, the whole world will be beating a path to our doorstep.”
“Well there’s no such thing as secrecy in the internet age,” replied Uncle Christmas. “Besides, it’s too late. I’ve invited them now. To uninvite 100 excited kids would be a Public Relations disaster. They are coming, and you will make them welcome, or else.”
And so the elves, since they were under strict orders, did their best to look happy when the kids arrived in their secret warehouse. Inwardly, they were filled with horror and despair as 100 snotty little brats (in their view) unwrapped the toys and ran riot with them. They rode their bikes around the warehouse, roaring and puffing out smoke from their toy exhausts that Uncle Christmas fastened to their back wheels. They kicked flat pack pocket footballs all over the place. They made toy volcanos that spewed luminous lava over the floor. They fired styrofoam balls from pop guns. They freaked out the reindeer with their 50 prank kits.
And the biggest kid of all, was Uncle Christmas, who stuffed himself with sweets and chocolate and got massively over excited and shouted, “Merry Modern Christmas,” at every opportunity.
But it wasn’t just the kids who visited the secret hideaway. There were mums and dads, aunts and uncles, and worst of all, from the elves point of view, journalists, youtubers, and bloggers.
The next day, when everyone had flown home, Uncle Christmas held a meeting with the wise old elves.
“You’ve got to admit, that was the best publicity ever,” he told them. And it was true. Fab reviews, pictures, stories, and videos were flooding the internet, all of them raving about what a fantastic time they had in the secret Christmas hideaway.
The problem was that quite a few of the bloggers gave clues about how to find the hideaway. And one or two even printed the address.
So it wasn’t secret anymore.
And now people started to turn up. Tourists, salesmen, film stars, former US Presidents, billionaires, polar explorers, celebrity chefs, travel bloggers, aging rock stars, and all of them expected to be hosted, wined and dined. None of them brought their credit cards. Most of them hadn’t paid for something for so long that they had forgotten what the word ‘pay’ meant.
“Hey man,” said a wrinkly guitarist who knew Uncle Christmas from the old days, “the best thing about Christmas is that it’s free, right?”
“Yeah,” said Uncle Christmas with a sigh. “The problem is, this is the busiest time of the year for us, and all these visitors are stopping us getting on with the business of delivering presents.
“Chill out man,” said the old friend. “It will be all right on the night, it always is.”
“I sure hope you’re right,” said Uncle Christmas. But secretly, he was starting to worry that this Christmas was turning into an embarrassing, excruciating disaster, and that he would have to endure his brother telling him, ‘I told you so’, for the next 1000 years.
And so he was forced to agree with the wise elves, that the best thing under the unfortunate circumstances would be to move the whole factory and warehouse to a new secret location where nosy people were least likely to look for them and that was in the middle of the Sahara desert. They would leave the reindeer behind, because they wouldn’t like the heat, and those sleighs that hadn’t been motorised would be pulled by magic camels.
Things were indeed changing in the Christmas present business, but not the way that Uncle Christmas had planned.
And that was ‘The Christmas Kid Invasion’, read by me, Richard Scott, for Storynory.com. Drop by soon to hear the 5th and final part at Storynory.com.