was the day after Christmas. Santa was relaxing on a beach somewhere
with the missus and the reindeer had been turned out to pasture.
Even all of the elves got to take some time off, resting from
the year-long effort it took to fill the sacks, sleigh and dreams
of children around the world. All of the elves, that is, except
"Everyone but me," he muttered as pressed and folded Santa's
suit, putting it away for next year.
"Not Peri, good ole Peri. 'You don't mind putting the suit up,
do you Peri? He says. "Of course not, Santa," I say back. Of course
not - who says no to Santa?"
The elf grumbled and groused as he cleaned the white collar and
trim, brushing tiny specks of glitter from the deep, red velvet.
"It's a good thing Christmas is over," he muttered. "My Christmas
spirit is definitely on vacation."
He picked up one of Santa's boots. It was black and shiny from
the hours he'd just put in polishing it. He looked at his own
tiny feet, with their worn out and scuffed up shoes. Suddenly,
Peri snuck a look around to see if anyone was watching, then snorted.
"Of course they're not watching. They're all at the reindeer
games or watching TV or sleeping. Nobody here but good ole Peri,"
he said. Peri giggled.
Like most elves, he was really a good natured little guy, even
if he had to work when no one else did, and staying angry just
took too much effort.
He stood up and slipped one leg into Santa's boot, then the other
leg into the other boot. While Peri was an elf, he was a tall
elf, but the tops of the boots came up well past his knees. He
staggered around the room for a while, giggling as his feet slipped
and slid in the cavernous confines of Santa's boots.
He pulled on Santa's cap and the only reason it didn't cover
his head completely was because one edge caught on Peri's very
long, upturned nose. The elf peered through the screen of white
fur and staggered around some more.
"Ho ho ho," he squeaked. "Merry Day After Christmas!" He marched
across the workroom floor, pretending to give orders to the imaginary
"Kitsi, paint that doll's lips red, not blue! Just because she
came from the North Pole doesn't mean she has to look like she's
freezing to death!"
the rocket booster pack does not belong on the Wild Frontier Covered
"Sparkitis, since when does Raggedy Ann have varicose veins?
Clean up your stitches!"
Suddenly, Peri tripped. The oversized boots tumbled over and
sent him flying into a mountain of Dear Santa letters. Like an
avalanche, the letters slipped and slid and buried Peri from head
to toe. Gasping and grabbing and giggling, all at the same time,
Peri wormed his way out of the letters.
He stared at the hundreds of thousands of letters with new respect
for his jolly old boss.
"You know," he said out loud, "it takes pretty big feet to fill
He stood up and retrieved the boots, when he noticed an envelope
had fallen inside of one of them. An unopened envelope. Somehow,
someway, a letter to Santa had gone unopened, and somewhere there
was a little boy or girl who had not gotten what she wanted for
Christmas. Peri tore the envelope open and read the letter he
"Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas this year is for you to
have a good year, because next year, I will have a baby brother
and we will need lots more toys so you need to get your rest.
Love, Annabeth ."
Peri relaxed. At least Annabeth hadn't been disappointed when
she woke up Christmas morning and a specially requested present
wasn't there. He didn't have to roust Santa or the Panic patrol
- who took care of last minute and hard to find items. He could
just go back to putting Santa's suit up, then enjoy some free
time for himself.
the letter naggled and niggled and jiggled inside of him all day.
When he finally closed the door on Santa's closet, the suit all
ready for next year, he was free to go to the reindeer games,
or to curl up in front of his fire for hot chocolate and leftover
Christmas cookies, but he couldn't seem to make himself go.
Instead, Peri found himself wandering through the Book Nook,
where all the storybooks children got from Santa were stacked
and packaged. He looked through the books for hours until he found
just the right one.
"How to be a Good Big Sister," he read.
He nodded , and even though he knew he might get yelled at, he
called the Panic Patrol hotline and got the elf and reindeer team
that was on call.
By the time Peri finally got that hot chocolate, the book was
nestled deep in the branches of Annabeth's Christmas tree, where
the family would think they had just overlooked it.
Peri was blowing the snowman-shaped marshmallows across his cocoa
when a knock came at the door. It was Santa.
"Peri, I understand you're responsible for a late Christmas present,"
"Yessir," said Peri, his head bowed. Was he going to be in trouble?
"I know she didn't ask for anything but ."
"How did you know about her letter?" asked Santa.
Blushing, Peri told the story of wearing Santa's boots and hat
and stumbling into the pile. It was silly, he admitted, but he
felt he'd learned something.
"Those are big boots to fill," he said.
"Oh, I don't know," said Santa.
"I think you did a pretty good job of it yourself."
And he left Periwinkle the elf sitting there with his own late
Christmas present - a pair of shiny black boots that were just