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Rated: E · Short Story · Children's · #1389153
A children's book about choosing a new Santa.
Santa Jr.

    One year on his birthday when Santa was very old he was very
depressed. (Santa was born on December 25 for those of you who don’t
know.) Santa and his wife had never had children, and they were now way
to old to ever have one. What started Santa thinking about it was his valet
Pringle. A valet (pronounced val-LAY) is a personal helper. Pringle had just
got news that his wife had just had their third son. Seeing how sad Santa
was, Pringle asked him what was wrong. Santa admitted that he was sad
because he and his wife had never had any children. That gave Pringle an
idea. He asked Santa if he could be excused for the rest of the afternoon.
Santa gave him a sad smile and told him that he should be with his wife at a
time like this. Santa told Pringle that since it was Thursday, he could have
the rest of the weekend off. Pringle thanked Santa and went to talk to his
wife about his idea.
    Bright and early Monday morning Pringle went to talk to Santa.
Pringle told Santa that they had decided to name their new baby Chris
Kringle Pringle. Now Santa was known to many different people by many
different names, but the elves had always called him Chris Kringle. A tear
was in Santa’s eye when he thanked Pringle for naming his new son after
him, and told him it made him almost as happy as having a son himself
would have.
    Santa and Mrs. Santa loved Chris and he spent a lot of time with
them. To be honest he spent a lot more time with them than he did with his
own family. So much so that when he did go home his brothers and sisters
would tease him and call him Santa Junior. Thanks to his brothers and
sisters, even at school everyone called him Santa Jr. (Jr. is a short way to
spell Junior.) He didn’t really mind being called Santa Jr., oh he loved his
family, but at home he was only one of a large number of brothers and
sisters. Seldom had he ever gotten much individual attention from his
parents. He saw his dad a lot when his dad was working helping Santa, but
that wasn’t the same. And his mother was always busy, especially having to
care for so many children. As time went on he spent more and more time with
the Kringles and less and less time with the Pringles.
    Santa Jr. grew into a fine young elf, but as he got older and bigger and
stronger, Santa and Mrs. Santa grew increasingly weaker and more fragile.
Last year Mrs. Santa fell on the ice and broke her hip. Santa Jr. took good
care of her till she could get up and about again. But her hip pained her and
she had to walk with a walker. And Santa, once vigorous and robust, was
now suffering from arthritis. He couldn’t even help out in the toy workshop
anymore his hands hurt so badly.
    Santa Jr. was very concerned for Santa. Christmas was coming up in a
little while and he was afraid Santa would have trouble. How could he ever
lift that heavy bag full of toys, or guide the reindeer with his sore hands?
Santa Jr. was trying to figure out how to talk to Santa on the subject with
out embarrassing him or hurting his feelings. While he was trying to decide
how to approach Santa on the subject, Santa came up, put a gnarled old
hand on his shoulder, and asked to talk to him.
    Santa told him that whenever a Santa got to old to continue to make
and deliver toys, it was time to pass the job to someone younger. Santa went
on to say that the job was usually passed from father to son, but that since
he had no son, he had to find someone else to entrust the job to.
    Santa sat down in his big old oak rocking chair in the corner by the
fireplace, bringing himself eye to eye with the young elf standing in front of
him. Then Santa told him the last thing he expected to hear. Santa said that
he hadn’t been able to find a single person that had all of the qualities that a
good Santa needed. When Santa Jr. asked what qualities he was looking for
Santa smiled.
    He said that the first thing a Santa needed was a jolly disposition, he
said that a grumpy or sad Santa just wouldn’t do.
    Second a Santa needed to be generous and understanding. It wouldn’t
do to give a child coal just for blowing his nose on his sleeve or other such
small misbehaviors.
    Obviously he had to love children and get along well with elves and
    And it simply had to be someone that had no problem with pets or
heights or tight chimneys.
    A good sense of direction and a good memory were a definite plus; as
was a good tolerance of cold weather and the ability to handle a sleigh well,
even in a blizzard.
    Santa asked him if he would help him this Christmas, to both prepare
the gifts and to find a qualified replacement Santa.
    Santa Jr. felt humbled and honored that Santa would trust him with
something as important as helping choose the next Santa. Of course he would
help Santa; in fact he was relieved Santa recognized that he was no longer
able to handle the whole workload alone. Santa Jr. had been concerned
about Santa’s worsening condition for a long time, so Santa Jr. happily
agreed to help Santa in any way he could.
    Christmas Eve dawned cold and overcast. Santa Jr. spent the whole
day helping Santa prepare. He loaded the toys, fed and watered the reindeer,
and even checked out the sleigh to be sure it was in perfect shape for the big
night. Santa Jr. was in the middle of double checking Santa’s list for him,
(everyone knows it has to be checked twice,) when Santa called him into his
office. Imagine Santa Jr.’s surprise when Santa asked him to actually go
along with him to help deliver the children’s presents.
    Santa Jr. had just finished harnessing the reindeer to the sleigh and
was starting to double check the route they would be taking when Mrs.
Santa sent for him.
    When he went to ask her if she needed help, she said that she had called him
to give him his Christmas present. Mrs. Santa handed him a large box
wrapped in rich green foil with a big golden ribbon and bow. Santa Jr.
couldn’t help crying when he opened it and found an exact replica of Santa’s
beautiful red suit that was exactly his size. When he started to protest she
told him that the children were expecting Santa and that it wouldn’t do to
disappoint them.
    A few minutes later he met Santa at the sleigh. As he helped the old
gentleman up, one of the elves holding the reindeer steady commented that
now he even LOOKED like Santa Jr. That comment caused him to blush,
and he really hoped Santa hadn’t heard it.
    When Santa handed him the reins he frowned, thinking that the poor
fellow’s hands must really be hurting after the long day of preparation.
    When they arrived at the first house, Santa asked Santa Jr. to take
the gifts down the chimney for him. He quickly agreed fearing that Santa
had tired himself out with all of the Christmas preparations.
    Throughout that whole long night Santa Jr. continued helping Santa;
in fact the later it got the more of Santa’s chores he took on. By the end of
the night he was doing almost everything for him.
    When they arrived back at the north-pole Santa Jr. noticed that Santa
had a satisfied smile on his face. He knew how much pleasure the Christmas
Eve gift deliveries gave Santa, but he couldn’t help but think that the old
gentleman was also glad that the long hard job was finely done.
    With the help of her walker, Mrs. Santa came up to greet them and
ask how everything had gone. The sweet old lady smiled and nodded when
Santa declared the evening a great success.
         The next morning Santa Jr. slept a bit later than usual. It had been a
long night, and he had taken on most of the work himself. But he would
have done anything in his power to lighten the load on the elderly man he
cared so much about. A few minutes later an elf arrived with a message it was from Santa asking him to meet him in his office.

         When he arrived he was surprised to find several people besides Santa
there also, his parents, Mrs. Santa, and the head elves from all of the
different areas that elves help Santa with. There was Shingle from building
maintenance, Dingle who was in charge of the Reindeer, Jingle the head
toymaker, even Mingle who was the head of Elven Resources. As well as the
heads of all of the rest of the groups of elves that help Santa do such a big

         Santa called the meeting to order, explaining that he had called them
all together to discuss who should be the next Santa. He said that last night
had proven to him that he was no longer able to handle all of the duties of
being Santa by himself. He also took this chance to thank Santa Jr. for
assisting him, saying he couldn’t have done it without his help. And that he
only wished that he could find a human being to be the next Santa that was
as qualified for the job as he was. Santa Jr. was humbled and bit proud at
the lavish praise of the kind old gentleman.

          Santa asked Ingle, the elf who had been studying the human
prospects for a new Santa if he had found anyone promising. Ingle told him
that he had examined several possible candidates. However all of them had
been rejected for one reason or another. Some were too old, some were too
young, and some had bad health, while still others had obligations that they
just couldn’t leave behind. After an exhaustive search, no one suitable had
been found. He went on to say that there was one person that had all of the
qualifications that they were looking for. However that person had not been
considered for the job. When Santa asked in frustration why such a good
candidate had been ignored, he was told that it was because he was an elf.
Before anyone could argue, Ingle listed all of the attributes that a Santa
needed, and asked if anyone could think of someone who exactly fit the
needs. Slowly, one by one, everyone turned and looked at Santa Jr.

         Santa Jr. strongly protested that he couldn’t do Santa’s job. Santas
had always been humans. How could a small elf possibly do the work of a
human? Santa put his knurled old hand on Santa Jr.’s shoulder, and told
him that he would have plenty of help. Santa also gently reminded him that
he was too old to continue to do the job, and that Santa Jr. was his only
hope of retiring any time soon. Put that way Santa Jr. had no choice but to
agree. After all, expecting the tired, worn out old man to continue to doing
such a hard job was unthinkable.  He had to do it, For Santa’s sake.

         Santa Jr. went on to become one of the best and most famous Santas
that ever was. In fact he was the Santa that Clement Moore immortalized in
his classic poem “The night before Christmas”. He was the reason Moore
described Santa as “a jolly old elf”.
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