Santa and his team vs. the elves
"Is it ready?" he asked, raising bushy white eyebrows.
Gliffle adjusted his green cap over his pointy ears, "Yes, sir! The Yetis finished it a few minutes ago."
Santa reached for his red coat and grinned, "Then let the war begin!"
Their boots crunched over the snow as they met their teams outside. The elves huddled together and loaded green paint balls into their marker's hoppers while Santa cleared his throat to give his team a pep talk.
"Okay, boys, the elves have soundly beaten us the last twenty years but I feel in my bones that this is our year. Rudolph, you made sure to tightly attach the markers to all the saddles, right? I don't want a repeat of last year, with hoppers spilling red balls all over the ground..."
Rudolph nudged Santa's gloved hand. Santa sighed and rubbed between the deer's antlers.
"Sorry, boy," he shrugged, "You can't play in the games. Only nine members per team, remember?"
Rudolph's nose flashed with indignation.
"Hey now," Santa yanked a facemask down and over his fluffy beard, "I don't make the rules, I just enforce them."
The two teams met at the beginning of a snow maze, the walls of which stretched several feet over Santa's head.
"The Yetis did a great job this year," Santa murmured. The elves nodded in agreement as Mrs. Claus came forward with a grin.
"Welcome, y'all, to the One thousand, seven hundred, thirty-seventh Day After Games!" Mrs. Claus laughed and took a deep breath, "My, that's beginning to be quite the mouthful! Now, y'all know the rules: If'n ya get hit, yer out. And no usin' magic!"
"And don't you forget it…Prancer!" Gliffle shouted. Prancer shook his antlers and pawed the ground in embarrassment.
"The red team will start at the east maze entrance," Mrs. Claus pointed, "And the green team will start at the west entrance and y'all will meet in the middle. The team member that makes it to the exit first, wins!"
With a twinkle in her eye Mrs. Claus brought a shiny metal whistle to her lips. The shrill blast not only set the teams darting into the maze, but created a mini avalanche near the stables.
Santa led the way, pressing his bulky back against the cold walls and peering warily around the icy corners until he dropped his guard to tighten Vixen's automated saddle marker. An elf rolled across the path and fired at them, splattering green paint across Dasher's chest.
Cupid swung his shoulders and blasted a ball at the elf's heels. Red paint sprayed across the white floor as the elf's giggle echoed back at them.
"Good try, Cupid," Santa grunted, "And don't you worry, Dasher. We'll avenge you!" Raising his marker into the air, Santa let loose a battle cry and rushed around a corner. At the end of a long path a row of elves stood at the ready, markers resting against their shoulders.
"Don't fire 'til you see the tips of their ears!" Santa bellowed.
An elf let loose a random shot, spattering green across the path. Santa's boot stomped through the smear, leaving a trail of emerald prints as he ran.
Red and green flew across the battle line, staining both elves and deer. Santa took a hit in the middle of his plump belly and plopped to the ground.
"Ho-Ho-Ho! I surrender!" Lifting his facemask, Santa grinned at the elves.
"Looks like you boys have a bad case of measles!" Santa chuckled. "Could it be we have a draw this year?" His eyebrows rose with joyful anticipation.
The elves glanced slyly at each other as Mrs. Claus rang the victory bell.
"Three cheers for Gliffle, winner of the Day After Games!" the elves cheered. Santa groaned and shook his head at his team.
"Ah, the old divide and conquer trick," Santa sighed, "Well, there's always next year, boys. Until then, what say we all go inside for a hot cup of cocoa?"