Twas the Night Before Mischief….
November 30, Santa’s Workshop, North Pole
The Mischief Makers, an elite team of Santa’s elves, have a very special job. Each elf lucky enough to make the team is assigned one child to watch and entertain for the Christmas Season.
Starting on December 1, every Mischief Maker does their very best to give their children a magical Christmas full of fun and surprise.
The current team of Mischief Makers were gathered outside Santa’s Workshop drinking hot chocolate from candy cane straws and waiting for Santa to give his start of the season pep talk.
“Mischief Makers,” boomed Santa. “I know you’ve been preparing all year for the Season and are eager to get started.”
All of the elves nodded excitedly and cheered in agreement.
“But remember,” Santa said. “although your main job is to make sure your charges enjoy the season, you are also tasked with reporting any especially good—or bad—behavior to me each night.”
A loud cheer filled the North Pole and elves somersaulted and cartwheeled through the snow.
“Ho, ho, ho,” chuckled Santa. “That’s the spirit! Off you go now to make your final preparations…and good luck this year!”
As the elves zoomed off to say goodbye to friends and wish each other luck, Santa motioned for three figures to stay behind.
“Nim, Lil and Glitter,” he said. “Please come to my office.”
Nim and Lil, two energetic elves, stood in front of The Big Guy’s desk trembling with excitement. Next to them, Glitter the Reindeer stood tall with a determined look in her eye.
“Well team, are you ready for another season?” asked Santa.
“Yes sir!” said Nim with a hop.
“Absolutely!” said Lil as she spun in the air.
Glitter clicked her heels, nodded sharply and gave an awkward salute with her front hoof.
“Nim and Lil,” said Santa. “You won the Top Shelf Elf trophy last year for your work on assignment, but it was a close call with some of the tricks you pulled.”
Nim and Lil bowed their heads and shuffled their feet.
“We promise to do better this year, Santa,” said Lil looking up at him with twinkling eyes.
“And don’t worry, I promise we won’t spill sprinkles all over the kitchen floor again,” said Nim.
“Or cover the house with wrapping paper and ribbon,” said Lil.
“Or toilet paper the Christmas tree,” added Nim.
“Alright, alright,” chuckled Santa. “Just try to keep that sort of mischief to a minimum this year.”
Glitter, ever the prim and proper reindeer, snorted…again.
Nim and Lil smiled and patted Glitter affectionately. She had been a new addition to the team the previous year and she was still not quite sure how to handle the two ornery elves.
“Off you go then team,” shooed Santa. “Get a good night’s rest, you’ve got a big season ahead of you.”
Nim, Lil and Glitter left Santa’s office in high spirits. They were ready to get started.
“Oh I’m not going to be able to sleep a wink!” said Lil.
“Me neither!” said Nim.
“Hey,” said Lil. “I have an idea. Why don’t we just zip down and have a peek at the boys?”
The boys, Joe and Jake, were Nim and Lil’s assigned children. They were young, fun and full of energy. Nim and Lil had to work hard to provide something new for them to do, see or discover each night.
“Yeah!” said Nim. “I bet they are decorating the tree tonight!”
“What do you say Glitter?” asked Lil turning to the reindeer.
“No,” Glitter said puffing out her chest.
“No?” said Nim.
“Why not?” asked Lil.
“In Chapter 1, Section 3 of The Book it clearly states that ‘No elf shall make contact with or seek out their charges until 12AM on the official start of the Season. All violators will be fined 25 candy canes and 10 gumdrops.’”
Nim tried hard not to laugh.
“Poor Glitter,” said Lil. “We must be such a trial to you.”
“Oh well,” said Lil. “We’ll just have to wait until midnight to make the journey.”
“I sure hope the boys have been good this year,” said Nim.
“Oh Barrel will let us know. He’s been there since Christmas after all,” said Lil.
Barrel was a small, mouse-sized St. Bernard that the elves had left at the end of the Season to keep the boys out of trouble.
“It is odd that we haven’t heard from him though,” said Nim suddenly frowning.
Lil nodded in agreement with a frown of her own.
“We’re being silly,” laughed Nim with a shake of his head. “I’m sure all is well and Barrel has just been busy playing with the boys.”
“I’m sure you are right, Nim,” said Lil, her smile not quite meeting her eyes.
Nim and Lil linked arms and flew off to say goodbye to the other Mischief Makers.
Glitter stayed behind, a blanket of dread settling over her.
“I’m not so sure about that,” she said with a shiver.