Summary: Oh yes little ones, there is a Santa Claus.

Disclaimer: Just a little Christmas fun from my little world. I forgot I even had this one. As always, comments are welcome. Please send them to

December 10, 2013




by Drew Meyers


The day before the day before Christmas was always hectic at Santa's Workshop, but somehow Nikki had managed to find a few moments to enjoy a cup of tea between checking the schedules twice and going over the lists of drop spots. This year they were actually running ahead of schedule and so a moment of relaxation could be afforded. Of course as luck would have it the door was suddenly thrown open and one overly efficient assistant, Kendel, rushed in.

“Boss we have a problem.” He informed Nikki as he placed a folder on the desk in front of her. As she flipped through the papers he noticed as her ice blue eyes start to narrow.

“How did this happen?” She inquired, still reading the file.

“Well, the license was not filed until yesterday and they have been running under the radar, pretty low profile until they could get everything together to make it official.”

Nikki tossed the folder on her desk and stood up. “Get me Lansing and Jenny, I'll handle this one myself.” Nikki began gathering her briefcase and coat. “Have my suit dry cleaned and sent to the warehouse.” With no further instructions Nikki was out the door, leaving Kendel to take care of the details of her unexpected trip.

Pulling out his cell phone Kendel smirked. He loved watching his boss when she shifted into high gear. No one could pull off a last minute Christmas miracle like Nikki. And he knew the kids of Home Farm would have a Christmas they were never going to forget.



The warehouse was an enormous building on the edge of town, it handled the collection and distribution of all the Christmas presents for the northern quadrant of Nikki's territory. There were a number of other warehouses under her control that covered the rest of her territory, which included North America West, but this one was her favorite and not just because it was only two miles from her home.

Upon arriving at the warehouse, Nikki went straight to her office. She did not make eye contact with the two individuals standing inside waiting, but went to her desk and dropped the folder on it before taking her seat.

Looking up at the two people standing in front of her, Nikki was once again struck by how different the two really were. Where Jenny was all loud energy, Lansing was quiet and contemplative. Jenny's petite frame, electric green eyes and flaming red hair were in complete contrast to Lansing 's six-four height, white neatly trimmed hair and soft brown eyes. These two were the best team she had and they balanced each other, and so far Nikki had never been disappointed in them.

“It looks like R&D had one slip through the cracks.” Nikki pushed the folder forward.

“What! You've got to be kidding! We are in the last forty-eight hours.” Jenny exclaimed, while Lansing reached forward and began reading the file.

“I know and trust me heads are going to roll. But right now I need everything you can give me: every child, every person and every dream. Have my personal vehicle prepped and make sure my suit is here no later than tomorrow morning. I'm handling this myself.”

Jenny's eyes went wide, Nikki was the boss, and the boss did not go on runs. “Boss, Lans and I can handle it, you don't have to…”

Laying a gentle hand on the small shoulder, Lansing interrupted his partner. “I think she does.” He gave his boss an understanding look. “It's only ninety-seven miles from here.”

“That's right, in our own backyard and we missed it.” Nikki stood out of frustration. She ran a tight ship and no child would ever be left behind on her watch. Not on Christmas. “Pull anyone you want, I want the full works: dinner, tree, whatever they don't have make it happen.”

With a twinkle in her eye Jenny smiled up at her boss. “Don't you worry Nikki, this is going to be their best Christmas ever.” She snatched the file out of Lansing hand. “Come on lad, to the boards, we've got work to do.”

Lansing gave a reassuring nod to Nikki as he let his feisty little partner drag him out of the room by his shirtsleeve. Once the door had closed Nikki felt a small weight lift. Her two best were on the job and she knew they would not let those kids down. Grabbing her iPad off the desk she headed down to the main floor to make sure all the other deliveries were on schedule.

The entire warehouse was a swarm of activity. Everyone in the workshop worked hard all year long to make sure every child had a happy Christmas, but the days leading up to Christmas Eve were the hardest and most intense. Nikki pulled up the schedules and shipping lists on her iPad as she moved through the bustle of activity checking the tags on each sack of wrapped presents. She watched as thousands of bundles were loaded into cargo vans that would then take them to their final destination.

It was not unusual to see their boss on the floor this close to the big day and everyone gave her a cheery welcome as they continued on with their tasks. After seeing for herself that everything was on schedule Nikki headed back to her office. No sooner had she taken her seat when Jenny barreled through the door waving a hand full of papers.

“Got it Boss.” Jenny exclaimed as she rushed to Nikki's side, laying out the papers before her. “Seven kids, ages ranging from fourteen to five, three boys and four girls.” Jenny took a deep breath, knowing this next bit of information would probably cause her normally calm boss to explode. “One of the boys is deaf and the oldest girl lost a leg in a car accident.”

Nikki's head snapped up as she sent a burning hot glare toward the diminutive messenger. “This is a special needs home? Are you telling me we missed a special needs home?”

“No Boss, it's just those two kids.” Jenny swallowed hard, now that she had gotten Nikki angry, why not put her in a thoroughly bad mood? “In fact they were the original foster kids of the woman who owns and runs Home Farm, she adopted them and then decided to take in more foster children. Lilly Anderson, thirty-six, sole proprietor, runs the home and farm, and yes it is a real farm, along with her Head of Household Margaret Sims, age fifty-six.”

At this point Lansing walked in the door and began speaking where Jenny had left off. And even though Nikki was upset about this slip-up, she had to keep herself from smiling at the way these two seamlessly worked together.

“While Ms Anderson has met all the requirements of the state to run a children's home, it appears their resources are a little tight right now.” Lansing handed over the papers in his hand.

It was a list of the children's interests and even the two youngest ones Christmas letters to Santa. A brief run down of items in the home and even the last shopping list of Ms Sims. The NSA had nothing on the resources Nikki had to find information. “Good work you two. Right, I've got some shopping to do. Lansing I want you to handle the catering, and I want one of everything. I want them eating leftovers till New Years. And don't skimp on the deserts.” As Nikki put her coat on she could not help notice the anxious look on Jenny's face, the woman was itching for an assignment. “Well come on, let's go melt a credit card.”

The little red head's face lit up as she dashed for the door. “I'll grab my coat and meet you at the car.”

“Forget the car, we're taking the van.” Nikki gave Lansing a nod and a wink as they watched green eyes light up then disappear out the door. “I want to be on the road by ten tomorrow and I think Christmas dinner should arrive no later than eleven day of so Ms Sims can arrange it as she wishes.”

“I'll have some wrappers stay late tonight for when you get back.” Lansing assured her.

“Thanks Lans, I'll see you tomorrow.” Grabbing the van keys out of her desk, Nikki headed out the door and prepared herself for a shopping blitz.


Despite the bitter cold temperatures and a light dusting of snow on the ground, Nikki enjoyed the drive out to Home Farm, singing Christmas carols for most of the long drive. She past field after field of cows and dormant crops, the land around her lay quiet and peaceful. And as she drew closer to her destination she felt the warm spirit of Christmas embrace her, just as it did each year.

Turning off the main road and traveling between two pastures of idly meandering sheep looking for something to graze on, Nikki caught her first glimpse of the house that was the newest children's home to pop up in her district. It was a large rambling house that looked as if it could easily be home to a dozen kids. Before she could pull to a stop, the door opened and a woman with long brown hair pulled back in a ponytail stepped out. Nikki killed the engine as she got her first look at Lilly Anderson, owner and caretaker of Home Farm.

Living so far out in the country security was not really an issue but Lilly was ever vigilant about anyone pulling onto her place unannounced, she knew just about everyone in town and this bright red van was not familiar to her. No one had called from the state to let her know someone would be visiting; perhaps this was a surprise inspection. As she waited for what appeared to be a woman to get out of the van, a cold wind whipped around the corner of the house and nearly knocked Lilly off her feet. Quickly she wrapped the cardigan around her waist even tighter. The temperature was in the teens and she had only intended to step outside for a moment.

Realizing she had been sitting in the van for far too long, Nikki jumped out as soon as she saw the smaller woman getting blown around by the strong winds. She ran up to the porch with a wave and a friendly smile hoping not to startle the smaller woman.

“Wow, it's really cold out here! Hi, I'm Nikki, I'm looking for Lilly Anderson.” Nikki said as she climbed the steps to the porch.

“I'm Lilly Anderson.” Noticing the woman trying to pull the collar of her wool coat up around her ears, Lilly opened the door and waved her inside. “Why don't we step inside where it's a bit warmer?” As soon as the door closed Lilly began rubbing her hands together to get some feeling back in them, she guided her guest into the front room where a warm fire was burning in the fireplace. “I'm sorry I was not expecting anyone today, what did you say your name was again?”

Extending her hand and offering a soft smile, Nikki got lost for a moment gazing into emerald green eyes. “Nikki, Nikki Kringleson, I am sorry to drop in on you like this, but we just received your paperwork.” Nikki smiled warmly at the confused woman. “I work with a foundation that every year provides Christmas dinner to all the children's homes in the state. It's a full on spread with all the trimmings. As I said, I apologize for the last minute notice, but we only just received your application.”

The news stunned Lilly and she felt the need to defend herself. “Thank you Ms Kringleson but we already have Christmas dinner planned. I provide for my children very well thank you.”

At that moment a strong and sturdy looking older woman walked in carrying an axe. Margaret caught the very end of the conversation and wondered what was going on. She immediately noticed the tall woman with long black hair standing next to Lilly and the only word that came to mind to describe her was striking. “Oh, sorry Lil, I didn't realize you had company.”

“Margaret Sims, Nikki Kringleson.” Lilly introduced them. “Maggie is in charge of the house and head cook.”

“Only cook.” Margaret added with a smirk.

Lilly chose to ignore the jibe at her own cooking skills. “Ms Kringleson here is trying to give us a Christmas dinner.”

“Please, call me Nikki.” It was obvious that Lilly was not comfortable with Nikki's donation and that was not something Nikki was used to.

Lilly nodded the concession. “I was explaining to Nikki that we already have our dinner.”

Glancing down at the axe, Margaret subtly moved it behind her leg. “Actually Lil, I haven't started on it yet. On Christmas morning I usually get up extra early to start cooking, I don't suppose it would hurt to have a few extras on the table.”


“Ms Sims if you will allow it, we would like to do all of the cooking for you tomorrow. The Foundation provides Christmas dinner for all the children's homes in the state. It is our gift to you, our way of saying ‘thank you' to the caretakers.” Reaching into her satchel, Nikki pulled out a piece of paper and handed it over to the woman in charge of the kitchen. “Here is the menu we have prepared, if it meets your approval it will be delivered tomorrow at eleven, all you have to do is direct the caterers where you would like it set up.”

Lilly moved to her friend's side as they read the long list of food. It read more like a restaurant menu than a single meal. “That's more food than we eat in a week.”

Margaret's eyebrows shot up. “Well I wouldn't go that far.”

“Excellent, it's all settled. The caterers should be here promptly at eleven.” While the women were reading the menu Nikki had discreetly taken in her surroundings. Standing in the large bay window was a recently cut tree decorated with handmade ornaments of felt, wire, cotton balls and colored paper and strings of popcorn, she could only imagine how much fun the children had creating their Christmas tree. Below the festive boughs sat seven brightly wrapped gifts and two rather awkwardly wrapped presents that appeared to have more tape than paper. Music was playing upstairs and the sound of children's laughter could be heard coming from somewhere deeper in the house. The love that was held within these walls filled Nikki with warmth and she had no doubt the children here were well taken care of.

Just as she was about to say her good-byes, a little head with white-blonde hair peered around the arched doorway. Large blue eyes looked at each of the adults, before being drawn to the axe in Margaret's hand. The little girl seemed to shrink back but her eyes never left the axe. She loved Albert the turkey and was determined to find a way to stop Maggie from making him tomorrow's dinner. Suddenly a light jingling sound caught her attention. The small tinkling sound came from a tiny bell attached to Nikki's bag. The little girl looked up at the stranger and into bright blue eyes that were very much like her own and was surprised when the woman suddenly smiled and winked in her direction. Quickly the child slipped back into the hallway and plastered herself against the wall.

Lilly had been watching Nikki from the corner of her eye and saw the wink just as a shock of blonde hair disappeared from the doorway. The smile that crept across her face could not be stopped as she lifted an eyebrow in the direction of where her littlest one was hiding, giving Maggie a heads up.

Margaret knew in an instant what was going on, she and Lilly had known each other for more years then either could remember and could practically read each other's thoughts. “Well thank you Nikki, I greatly appreciate your gift, Merry Christmas.” She took a deep breath and then spoke a little louder. “I was going to go chop some kindling for the fireplace, but I think I need to get started on those cookies for Santa. I just wish I had someone who could help me with that, it's a lot of cookies.”

The small girl sprung from around the corner. “Could I help you make cookies for Santa Ms Maggie? I'm real good at squishing dough.”

The older woman turned and smiled down at the child. “Brook! Just the girl I need, would you like to help me make Christmas cookies?”

“Yes, please.”

“Well then lets go put this axe back on the wood pile and get busy in the kitchen.”

Before the two could leave Nikki called out to the little girl. “Hey Brook? I happen to know for a fact that Santa likes oatmeal cookies the best.” She nodded her head in reassurance as the girl let Margaret lead her from the room.

Now the two women found themselves alone once again. Nikki knew she should be going, but as she looked into Lilly's bright green eyes she found herself wanting to stay, the smaller woman was beautiful with her wind blown hair and not a lick of make-up on her pink cheeks. Nikki was trying to find the words to say good-bye when her thoughts were interrupted.

“Oatmeal? I always thought Santa was more of a sugar cookie kind of guy.” Lilly realized she may have come off a bit strong before and she did not want Nikki to think she was ungrateful.

“Oh no, he prefers the rich buttery taste of oatmeal to the sweetness of sugar cookies.” Nikki informed her with a gentle authority, followed by a warm smile. The smile was returned and Nikki could feel her insides beginning to melt. She still had work to do before tonight and the last thing she need on Christmas Eve was to get caught up in sudden emotions for a client. This thought brought her back to her senses. “I should be going now. It was a pleasure meeting you Ms Anderson, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.” She offered her hand and was almost bowled over with pleasure when the smaller one reached out and took it in a slow gentle shake. Lilly's hand was warm and both strong and soft at the same time and Nikki had to force herself to let go. It had been a very long time since someone had held Nikki's interest.

“Thank you Nikki and Merry Christmas to you too.” With reluctance Lilly let go and watched as Nikki stepped back out into the frigid temperatures. She continued to watch as the bright red van slowly disappeared into the distance leaving a swirling trail of snow in its wake. Taking a ragged breath, Lilly shook herself and headed for the kitchen, it had been years since she had even noticed another woman and Lilly had almost come undone at the sight of this beautiful and kind stranger. As she entered the large brightly lit kitchen and saw Maggie and Brook up to their elbows in cookie dough she thought ‘Lilly you really need to get out more' before joining in to whip up a batch of sugar cookies.


Christmas Eve had always been Lilly's favorite night of the year, it was the one time she could actually believe in magic, even if for just a moment. From the time she was a small child and caught a glimpse of Santa Claus in her living room to now. Watching her unique tribe of children, each one with a different story of sadness and hope, sitting around the table laughing, happy, safe and excited about what tomorrow would bring, she knew this was the true magic of Christmas and the joy of the season that she always looked forward to.

After dinner everyone gathered in the den supplied with mountains of cookies and mugs of hot cocoa to watch Rudolf, Charlie Brown and the Grinch offer up their own version of Christmas. Lilly watched as Brook and Charlie, her two youngest, had fallen asleep around the time the Who's in Who-ville joined hands and began to sing. She carried Brook upstairs while Charlie sleepily walked by her side to the bedroom they shared. It did not take long to tuck them in and she then made the rounds to say good night to her other charges. Her son Justin shared a room with Walt and her two ten year old girls shared a room, leaving her daughter Kate with a room to herself. It was a full house, but Lilly was grateful for each and every child in her care. She always made sure to say goodnight to all the children, but especially tonight. Going back downstairs she joined Maggie in filling seven stockings and hanging them from the mantle before retiring back to the den to watch It's A Wonderful Life. Lilly did not need a movie to tell her how wonderful her life was, she had seven kids who reminded her of it every day, but the old movie was a tradition for as long as she could remember, and Lilly would never break a Christmas tradition.

Outside the crisp cold air gently swirled snow around the yard. All the land lay asleep and not a sound could be heard, not even a bright red van approaching the house.

It was almost three a.m. when something woke Lilly up. She did not know what had caused her to stir, lying in the quiet darkness she listened for any sound but there was nothing. Getting up she wrapped a thick warm robe over her flannel pajamas and went to check on the children just to be sure. Quietly opening each door, all were present and accounted for and soundly asleep. Something still felt off and so she carefully made her way downstairs. As Lilly reached the bottom of the stairs she heard a muffled sound coming from the living room. She knew Maggie was asleep upstairs and her heart started pounding at the thought of an intruder. For the first time Lilly was regretting that she kept her rifle out in the barn locked in a safe. She tip toed to the large coat rack by the front door and grabbed the first solid thing she could lay her hand on then made her way to the living room.

The only light came from the warm soft glow of the Christmas tree lights that cast shadows across the room and dimly illuminated a figure bent over next to the tree in a red Santa outfit. Lilly was counting on the dim light to work to her advantage; she raised her only weapon up as if she were holding her rifle. “Hold it there pal. Put your hands up where I can see them and back away from the tree or this is going to get really ugly.”

The figure stood with both hands slightly raised and slowly turned around. The soft light and fur trim on the suit caused Lilly to blink. They were being robbed by Santa. Blue eyes twinkled and she could have sworn he was smiling at her, if she could have seen his mouth through the beard.

Looking down the barrel of the object pointed in her direction Nikki smiled. “You can put the umbrella down, Santa never takes, he only gives.” She took a step back and motioned to the tree where a multitude of packages now crowded beneath it.

Lilly's eyes were drawn to the tree and little piles of gifts, each one clearly marked with one of the children's names on it. And when she looked back at Santa she blinked rapidly when she realized she was looking at Nikki. “Nikki? What the hell are you doing? What…what…what is this? What kind of scam are you running?”

“Please Ms Anderson, if you just put down the umbrella I can explain.”

“Not on your life. How did you get in here? And just what do you think you're doing?”

The last thing Nikki had wanted was to frighten Lilly and she could not figure out why the woman was awake. Her presence in a house had a calming effect that made people rest easy and stay asleep while she did her job, only on occasion did a child who had stayed up in hopes of seeing Santa catch a glimpse of her. And at that moment her point was proven as Brook's little head peaked around the archway. Blue eyes as big as saucers and hair tangled up from sleep, the little girl gasped with excitement. “Santa!” she whispered in awe.

“Hello Brook, and what are you doing up at this hour?” Nikki smiled down at the child.

Before Lilly could stop her Brook ran to Santa and wrapped her arms around his legs to give him a hug. “I knew you were real.”

“Brook, come over here by me please.” Lilly tried to gently coax the child away.

“It's okay.” Nikki said as she moved to kneel down so she and Brook could see eye to eye. “Brook has been a very good girl this year.”

“Santa, may I touch your beard?”

“Of course you may, but then you have to promise to go right back to bed.”

Nikki laughed as the girl petted the thick fur collar of her suit. “It's so soft, I knew it would be.”

Reaching into her pocket, Nikki pulled out a felt snowflake with tiny clear beads sewn on it and handed it to Brook. “This is a special snowflake from the north pole just for you.” She patted the girl on the head then turned her in the direction of the stairs. “Off to bed you go now, Santa has work to do.”

Brook turned, carefully holding her snowflake. “Thank you Santa.” She looked up at Lilly with a smile that almost split her face in half. “Isn't he the best?”

“Merry Christmas little one.” Nikki said as she stood and the child ran up the stairs.

Lilly stood confused as she watched Brook go. The umbrella now rested limply by her side as she turned to stare at the woman in the Santa suit standing in her living room. “I don't understand, what's going on here? Brook thought you were Santa Claus, a man, when it's very obvious you are a beautiful woman.”

That small slip of the tongue made Nikki smile even brighter. She wondered if Lilly even realized she had done it. “It's the suit, kids see what they want to see.”

“No, Brook is a smart kid, she would never mistake a fur collar for a beard.”

Taking a step forward Nikki looked deep into the eyes of the woman who had been on her mind since they met fifteen hours earlier. “She would if I wanted her to.”

In the blink of an eye Lilly found herself standing before that jolly old elf Santa himself, the same Santa she had seen when she was six years old and had snuck down the hall to discover for herself if Santa Claus was real or not. The shock was too much and her knees began to buckle, but before she could fall to the floor, strong arms were wrapped around her and she was guided to the sofa. She looked up at the woman who was still holding her and saw the concerned face of Nikki once again. “Who are you?” Lilly asked as she began to shake.

Placing a gentle hand on top of the smaller trembling one in Lilly's lap Nikki took a deep breath. She knew the time had come and she was going to have to explain to someone outside the workshop just who she really was. Nikki had never believed in love at first sight, until she met Lilly Anderson and now she would have to risk it all by exposing her true self. One look into Lilly's eyes and she knew she was willing to take that chance.

“On this night I am known by many names, but most people just call me Santa Claus. It's a little bit of a family deception though. See my Dad is the real Santa Claus, but as you can imagine with the world as large as it is, it would be an impossibility for him to make every delivery himself in one night. So as his children got older he brought us into the family business, which wasn't much of a stretch since we all grew up in and around the workshop. Eventually he created Santa's Workshop Foundation, which is just a natural expansion of the original workshop, and then assigned different districts to each of his children. We run a number of charities that help the under privileged and have the largest toy drive in the world to make sure everyone has a merry Christmas. Daddy oversees everything, but we are each responsible for our own districts. And it wouldn't do the image of Santa any good to have a woman with long dark hair get caught delivering presents, so the suit has a glamour on it. With kids it's easy, they see a little old man because they want to see Santa that way, adults on the other hand see what I want them to see, sometimes Santa, sometimes just me.”

Lilly could not believe what she was hearing, Santa Claus was real and he was a woman, a beautiful woman. “Are you a witch?”

“No,” Nikki chuckled, “that's someone else's holiday. I'm an elf, remember? A jolly old elf.”

“But you're like almost six feet tall.”

Nikki laughed for real this time. She was amazed Lilly was taking it so well, at least she had not been pummeled with the umbrella the woman still held in one of her hands.

“How old are you? Oh my god, I saw you when I was a kid! I stayed up and then snuck down the hall and watched you putting presents under the tree.” Lilly was starting to panic and began pulling away from Nikki.

“That wasn't me, it was my brother Yule, this used to be his district back then, we traded some years ago. I may be a little older than I look, but we have never met before yesterday, believe me I would have remembered.”

“That was the year my mother died, I remember my dad crying when we opened the presents that had been left for us. I told him Santa had left them, but the card had read ‘from Mom'.”

“Your dad didn't know where she had hidden them so Yule found them and put them under the tree. You both needed something special that year.”

A tear rolled down Lilly's cheek as she remembered that long ago morning. “Yeah, we did, but how do you know all this?”

“Comes with the job.”

Lilly looked up into bright blue eyes and her stomach fluttered, she shook her head trying to comprehend all that she was hearing. It seemed preposterous and yet how could Nikki know about that night. “So you're Santa Claus?” Nikki gave her a smile and she could have sworn those blue eyes had just twinkled. Taking a deep breath Lilly tried to gather her thoughts. “You must be pretty busy tonight and here I am taking up your time, you probably need to get back to your rounds.” Inside her head Lilly realized how absurd what she just said sounded, but in her heart she knew it was the truth.

Giving her head a slight shake, Nikki smiled. “Tonight Ms Anderson I have only one house to attend to.” She grinned. “It's not the same old one man operation it use to be. Santa's Workshop employs over fifteen thousand elves worldwide and we oversee charitable organizations, toy drives and meal programs all over the world. In fact we have such an efficient and well run system that I don't get to go out on many runs these days.” Taking a deep breath Nikki reached for Lilly's hand once again. “I have all night set aside just for you Ms Ande…”

Two fingers were pressed to Nikki's lips before she could finish speaking. “In that case I think you should call me Lilly.” They both grinned. “So Santa, do I get a Christmas kiss?”

Before Lilly knew it she was wrapped in strong arms again and receiving the best present of her life.

After a few moments Nikki pulled back just enough to give them both a chance to breath. “Lilly?”


“Would you mind losing the umbrella now?”

Lilly let her defense weapon drop to the floor then closed the distance between them once again. Not only was Santa Claus real, but she was a fantastic kisser as well!

The End


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