I wrote this short story many years ago....
Once upon a time there was a little girl called Lucy who lived in the Algarve. Lucy didn’t believe in Santa Claus. She had always thought the idea of a fat man travelling around the world in one night just a ridiculous. That is, until one rainy Christmas Eve…
“Mum, why don’t we ever get snow here in the Algarve?” Lucy asked.
“Because it’s not cold enough sweetheart. It has been known to snow briefly up the Monchique mountains though,” answered her mother, “maybe if it’s really cold again this year, it’ll happen again.”
“If it does, can we drive up to see it?” the little girl asked.
“Sure we can. Now, have you written your Christmas letter to Father Christmas?” her mother asked her.
“Oh Mum, you know that Santa Claus doesn’t exist. I’m old enough to know that!” she replied hastily as she entered her bedroom and closed the door behind her.
That night while Lucy was sleeping, something unusual was going on in her bedroom. Her two favourite toys, a ragdoll called Mafalda and a teddy bear called Henry, seemed to come to life.
“Lucy doesn’t believe in Santa, Henry. Did you hear?” whispered the ragdoll.
“I did and I think we should do something about it, otherwise Saint Nick will be a bit upset. I think a visit would be the best thing to do. Are you ready?” Henry asked Mafalda, who nodded in agreement.
The toys climbed onto the bed and whispered into Lucy’s ear:
“Santa’s little helpers
Are watching over you,
Take us into dreamland
And they’ll make it all come true!”
Suddenly, the three of them were standing in the midst of a beautiful green forest, blanketed with snow. There were hundreds of tall Christmas trees, all covered with thousands of bright twinkling fairy lights.
“Wow – it’s beautiful. It’s so pretty. I must be dreaming,” whispered Lucy.
“That you are,” replied Henry.
“This is your dream Lucy. You brought us with you. Look, you’ve made us the same size as you!” chirped Mafalda.
The odd looking threesome – a small eight year old in pyjamas, an overgrown pink ragdoll and a huge brown teddy bear – strangely didn’t look out of place in this charming yet mysterious place.
“I’ve never seen snow before,” yelled Lucy as she bent and sifted the cold stuff through her fingers.
The three giggled and began throwing snowballs at each other.
Suddenly there was a great whoosh and a flash of light. The sound of jingling bells could be heard from above, then a high-pitched friendly voice called out: “Oh, what fun! What fun! It never ceases to be so much fun!”
Then there was a loud crash and a huge sleigh appeared from nowhere – the rider tumbled from it and landed directly at their feet.
The plump elf-like fellow slowly climbed to his feet, dusting away the snow from his green furry cape.
“My, oh my – I must practise my landings,” he giggled
“Hello Billy”, said Henry and Mafalda in unison – clapping big kisses on his cheeks.
“Oh, how wonderful to see you again Mafalda, Henry. And you…you must be Lucy. We’ve been expecting you.”
“You have?” she asked questioningly.
“Why, of course. Santa heard overheard you say that you didn’t believe,” Billy said with a wink to the two toys.
The strange elf-like creature took Lucy’s hand in his, “come, we shall travel in a more traditional manner.”
And with the blink of his eyes, the four of them were instantly transported to what appeared to big a giant dolls house.
“Where are we now?” asked Lucy, her wide yes taking in every detail of the exquisite white and red building which smelt distinctly of strawberry shortcake.
“This is Santa’s Grotto,” replied Billy with a cheeky twinkle in his eyes.
“If you listen carefully, you can hear all the helpers singing.”
Lucy strained her ears and closed her eyes. Sure enough, the sound of happiness and cheer echoed throughout the land.
“Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way…”
As the four characters stepped towards the giant house, the door opened – revealing a huge hall where hundreds of creatures, similar to Billy, busied themselves, making what appeared to be children’s toys.
The singing continued, although the words seemed to change: