On the second day of Christmas …
It wasn’t an auspicious start to the day. I was woken at about 5.30 in the morning by the sound of the rain lashing against my bedroom window. My first thought was that I was going to spend a whole day outside in the pouring rain, my gorgeous crinoline getting wet and heavy with the rain, trying to hide in the reindeer feeding station. My second thought was much along the same lines, and then I tried to go back to sleep, but the rain wouldn’t let me. It continued to pour down until I reached the farm, and then, miraculously as I climbed out of the car the rain stopped. I won’t exactly say that the sun came out, but it did stop raining.
I headed for the gates. They were locked. Santa, Mrs. Claus and one of the elves had got in with no problem, the rest of us were stuck outside, while the farm staff were feeding the animals. We decided to climb over the fence, and the first elf clambered nimbly over followed by the second elf who leapt the entire fence, gracefully in a single bound. When it came to my turn, Mrs. Claus eyed me dubiously and advised me to be careful not to fall off.
Ready for work, we walked to our positions. Everything still smells of rain, but it isn’t actually raining, although there are huge puddles all over the place. I’m standing at the entrance to the ‘North Pole’ because the ground is firm there; the rest of the North Pole is becoming rather muddy after all that rain. As if on cue, a rainbow appears in the sky.
‘Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas!’ booms out through the speakers to start the music for the day, but no music starts, and Santa appears to be stuck on a loop. ‘Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas. Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas …’ over, and over again as the first visitors appear. I’d like to go and tell someone in the office, but I don’t know where the office is, and I don’t want to desert the North Pole. After what seems like an interminable wait, the music eventually starts, and the day has begun. One of the elves splashes through the puddles, and so do several children!
Today, my opening line is ‘Welcome to the North Pole! I’m sorry we didn’t manage to bring you any snow, but we’ve got plenty of muddy puddles, so watch your feet!’ It’s quieter than yesterday, not so many children, and they’re only coming through in ones and twos, not huge groups. We have one party who have never been to a Christmas event like this before, and are in a state of bemused amusement. The young lad, maybe upper primary school age, wants to dance with me for his family’s camera. He quite clearly thinks that I’m entirely bonkers. I probably am, so I happily oblige. I’m having fun, and so, it seems, is he.
The morning flies. Other than the odd sprinkling of raindrops, it isn’t cold and it isn’t very wet. I only have to hide in the feed store once, and not for very long. A little girl tells me that she wants a book for Christmas and she’s going to read it on Christmas Day. I suggest a roaring fire, some hot chocolate and a gingerbread man to go with the book and I want to adopt her on the spot, because she’s got exactly the right idea of how to spend Christmas Day! So many of these kids are modest in their demands for Christmas. Dolls are popular, one child asks for a basketball, another for some painting things. The most extravagant gift is ‘a little bike’ and none of them are asking for phones, consoles, games …
The afternoon darkens rapidly after about three o’clock, and the sky threatens rain again. The crowds start to thin out and soon there is no-one left to talk to, except the elves and Mrs. Claus. As the day ends and the last visitors wend their way home, the first drops of rain begin to fall.