It was cold, and the snow was deep. Someone said the fog was thick as pea soup, and someone else said pea soup was green, just like a Christmas tree. The conversation wandered off topic for a minute, and then Santa cleared his throat. Everyone looked to him.
“I can’t do it,” he said. “I need help.”
He was talking to the elves, every single one of which was nursing a winter cold, and all of them deemed too sick for travel.
“It’s Christmas Eve,” continued Santa Claus, “and we are running out of time.”
The elves were heartbroken. It took a team of them to help Santa make his annual rounds. It was their job to make sure the houses were ready, the trees trimmed, the stockings hung, the cookies tasted. They handled logistics, and Santa didn’t think that he could do it without them. Time stood still, but the blizzard never paused.
“We’ll help you, Santa.”
The voice came from the sleigh.
“Who said that?” asked Santa. “Rudolph, is that you?”
Santa’s voice carried away on the wind, but a red light in the distance told him that no, it was not the luminescent reindeer that had answered.
He looked again at the sleigh. There was a figure there atop the sack of toys, and he was wearing a cowboy hat.
“Is that you, Sheriff?”
“Darn tootin’, Santa.” And, suddenly, Woody was standing at the toe of Santa’s boot. He had a friend with him.
“We’ll take these toys ‘to infinity and beyond,’” said the space ranger.
“Thank you, Buzz,” Santa said. “And you, too, Woody, but I need more than two helpers.”
“That’s why you’ll need us,” said another voice from the sleigh. And it was joined by another one. And then another. The voices got louder as each new character joined in the chorus.
The Disney Infinity figures lined up in front of Santa, and he couldn’t help but give a belly-shaking laugh at their gesture of kindness.
“Are you sure, Mickey?” he asked the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
“You bet, Santa!”
Santa looked closely at the toys. The Incredibles would be a great help. Sulley and Mike Wazowski had experience. Rapunzel’s hair would get them down any chimney. Wreck-It Ralph, Vanellope, Jessie, Francesco, Holley, Mater, Lightning McQueen, Tonto, and the Lone Ranger — all of them brought something to the table.
“What about the pirates?” he asked. “Captain Jack Sparrow, Captain Barbossa, Davy Jones, you don’t seem like the giving kind. And Randy? Syndrome?”
“We’re handling coal, Santa.”
“Arrr,” added Davy Jones.
“And you?” Santa asked Jack Skellington. “I feel like we’ve been down this road before.”
“Don’t you worry, Mr. Claws. I’ve learned my lesson. I am only here to help.”
“Good,” said Santa. “I think this can work.”
“It will work, Santa,” answered Anna.
“Then Christmas is still on,” said Santa. “Unless the cold is going to bother you.”
They said you could hear Elsa laughing well into the night.
It would be the best Christmas ever.
This story was created with the imagination of my sons Atticus (10) and Zane (7), respectively.
Whit Honea is the author of The Parents’ Phrase Book (January, 2014/Adams Media). Read more at his site Honea Express. You can follow Whit on the Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).