’Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring – not even a mouse. The power had gone out, everyone had gone to bed early.
Far away, near the North Pole, a little old man with white hair and white beard was shaking his head. It was bad enough that Vladimir Putin had claimed this inhospitable piece of tundra for Russia – and that the vodka-swilling miners and fracking equipment had already arrived.
Then he had fallen for the wiles of a slimy salesman and bought Steinhoff shares. Should have bought Bitcoin, he thought, bitterly. Out in the courtyard, his Little Helpers were toyi-toying… instead of making toys.
He remembered that on one of his annual global trips, one of the elves had stowed away in the sleigh and fell off just outside Johannesburg.
A year later, as the reindeer made a low-level pass over Sandton, the elf jumped back on board and there were smiles and cheers all round. They didn’t last long.
That year’s sojourn in the Rainbow Nation was enough to turn a pleasant little worker into an unpleasant little nightmare, as the returning elf formed the Elf-ish Victims Insurrection League (Evil).
Evil demanded that the workers be given annual paid training time in South Africa, and this was put to good use shadowing Cosatu shop stewards.
They even brought back copies of the Labour Relations Act, which they would wave around whenever the old man – who had to permanently use the name Santa Claus, because Father Christmas was sexist and reactionary – ordered them to do something.
They also scrapped the phrase “Little helpers”, because it was size-ist and are now known as “Happiness Facilitation Engineers”.
They had less success with the reindeer, who considered themselves professionals who lived in a heated barn, reading Democratic Alliance pamphlets.
This was a habit they picked up when they were grounded one year flying over Cape Town after Helen Zille said they hadn’t filed a flight plan and they needed to because the Western Cape wasn’t part of South Africa.
However, Evil did manage to cause a bad rift one year between Santa and the reindeer.
The old man was preparing to leave when he noticed that Rudolph, who always had a taste for lurid make-up, had put a huge luminescent red bulb on his nose.
This was against health and safety regulations, because it could offer Vladimir’s MiGs a target-sighter.
The wild cat strike which followed accused Santa of homophobia and he was forced to put Rudolph in the lead …and to put out a press release about how the red-nosed reindeer had saved the day.
Why should I care, thought Santa sadly.
This is my last trip, anyway. The new guy arrived yesterday in a convoy of 39 black BMWs with blue lights, ready for his retirement job.
It was clear that, next year, the sleigh would be picking up, not handing out, presents and Baba Jacob would be in charge.
Some of the reindeer had already packed for Perth. Radical Christmas Transformation was too much for some.
Santa could hear Baba Jacob practicing: Heh, Heh, Heh echoed across the snowdrifts …