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Father Christmas Junior

(From Tales for Telling series)

There are many influences in this story.  One is Prince Charles, now in his fifties, and still waiting to be King.  Another is all the kids of busy and successful parents who just want a bit of attention.  Throw in child abduction, a grisly murder, criminal car dealers and well, I’m sure it will all make sense. 

 When you tell this story a couple of props are very useful.  You’ll probably have them in the house somewhere at this time of year....a Santa Claus hat and sack.  If you dress up, it’s important that you don’t quite look the part.  Once when I told it I used an ironing board and a sledgehammer…but you can probably do without those!  If you are a woman you can either tell the story as a man.  But I think there is maybe great comic potential in adapting the story for a daughter in-waiting

Britain is known for it’s many different accents.  This story was told in a south London accent.  (That’s ‘Saaf Lundun’ to you!  And it’s ‘Farver Chrismuss’)  Think cockney without the rhyming slang.  That’s not important…just try and get across the neglected kid trying to impress his over-busy Dad.  It was originally told in two parts, with the first part told to tantalise people a little and another story told in between before the second half…but it works fine without.



Part 1

1.     Son Christmas

I’m Father Christmas1.  No straight up, I am.  Well, I am a ‘Christmas’, I am a ‘Claus’.  Actually, I’m more of a Sub Claus.  You see it’s my Dad who’s Father Christmas.  I’m Son Christmas.  The next Father Christmas.  It’s like waiting to be King.  I won’t be Father Christmas until the old man retires or pops his clogs.  Grandpa didn’t retire until he was 123 years old and he still helps the penguins with the packing.  The old man’s a bit of an egotist.  He’s been Father Christmassing for a long time and he’s not planning to give it up.  I’ve got a long wait.

1 You can wear the hat from the beginning.  Introduce the sack in the second part

2.     Youth

I haven’t got much of a beard yet1.  All my mates grew their bum fluff before they turned twenty.  But I stayed clean-shaven just to get back at my folks.  They never took any interest in what I wanted to do.  I’d been really good at soccer.  I even got into the school team.  My Pa found out and he came and dragged me off after 10 minutes.  They took me home and fed me marshmallows and cookies until I was sick.  They still don’t like the way I’m shaping up.  Then I met this beautiful artist called Helena.  She was gorgeous, all mysterious and dark.  We had a good thing going.  Next thing I know my folks have arranged a marriage to some fat jolly woman called Enid.

1  If the teller has a beard.  ‘I’m growing a beard now, but when I was younger I stayed clean shaven etc..’

3.    Duty

I realise its my duty.  I've married Enid.  She's OK but I just wish she wouldn’t laugh and slap her thigh so much.  She keeps trying to fatten me up with suets and puddings and things.  If only Dad would find some time for me.  You know, if he would tell me he loves me as much as all those other kids.  He was never there when I needed him, but now I just want him to give me a chance.  I'd show him I could do it.  Get some practice in for when I take over.  I’d make him proud.  I’d show him, I really would.

(It can be effective to have a break here.  Even if it is just walking out of the room and then rushing back in.  If you are too comfortable to move, just close your eyes for a bit or turn away and then ‘return’.  When you come back you are very excited).

Part 2

1.     Big Break?

Things are getting exciting!  I kept going on at Dad, but he still wouldn’t let me have a go.  But I’ve got to get some practice in.  Then I had an idea.  You know all those dodgy impostors in department stores and at Christmas parties.   Well I’m not like them.  It’s in my blood.  I’d be so much better than them.  So I went for a job in a department store.  But they said I couldn’t have it because I didn’t have any experience.  I said

'Do you know who I am?!!’ 

When I told them (You know, ‘I’m Son Christmas and one day I’ll be Father Christmas and then you’ll be sorry!’)  They just laughed and told me to get out.  But guess what?  Later on I managed to get job with East Delden Community Hall for two hours on Saturday.  They’re trying to get people to use the local shops instead of the mall.  They said I could have the job as long as I bought my own gear and presents.

2.  Getting the kit

Well I already got this hat from the Friday market.  And what you think of this?1  Red sack.  I got it through my mate Frank who works up at the Criminal Court as a cleaner.  He said that there's a whole room full of old evidence up there and that he'd 'borrowed' quite a bit of it.  He said I could have look through if I got there after day’s trials.  Bit creepy really.  Some of it's OK…like the two blokes caught smuggling kid’s toys.  But last week there was a case about some bloke who'd chopped his misses up and then he kept her in a bag in a cupboard.  I saw his picture in the paper.  He looked really evil.  Anyway he was banged up2, but he topped himself3 the following day.  He hung himself with the cord from the sack.  Bastard got what he deserved in my opinion.  Anyway Frank and I went up to that evidence room last night and the first thing we saw was this red sack and I thought I could use it for my presents.  Well, it’s more crimson than red, and its a bit smelly, but I think it will do.

1  I use an old hessian potato sack with ketchup on to make it look bloodstained!

2  put in prison

3   killed himself 

3.  Community Hall

So I went to the Community Hall today.  I got some sweets for the sack as they were only paying me 2.20 an hour so I couldn't splash out.  I sat in the community hall.  The janitor had put up a bit of tinsel to make it into a grotto.  It was a bit drafty and didn’t look like my Dad’s place at all.  But at last I was doing what I was born to do.  I was Father Christmas!!  Here I come kids.  I’ll do my Dad proud.

I waited an hour.  No one came.  It got dark.  Still no one came.  Then suddenly I heard a horrible voice.  'It’s my sack!'  Then there was a dragging noise.  It was my sack of sweets moving across floor..being pulled by a shadowy figure I couldn’t make out.  I thought for a moment he had a knife in his hand.  ‘My sack, it's my sack!’  said the evil voice. 'Listen mate,’ I said, ‘It's my sack and I'm Father Christmas!’  I think that put the frighteners on him because he seemed to disappear. 

But my two hours were nearly up.  I was feeling a bit pissed off.  Then I heard some other voices.  It sounded like the Janitor and his wife.  Actually it sounded like a bit of a barny.1

'Look,’ said the woman, ‘We tell the boy all year not to go near strangers and now you’re telling him to go in, sit on a strange man's knee and take sweets from him!!' 

'Look that poor bloke’s been in there all afternoon and no one’s been in.  It will only take ten minutes.’

A small boy was pushed through door into the darkness.  From what I could see he was looking terrified.  But this was my first customer as Father Christmas!  Actually he didn’t seem very keen to move from the door to where I was sitting.  So I threw him a sweet.  He picked it up cautiously.  So the next one I threw a bit closer to me.  It took me five minutes to coax him over to the shadows where I was sitting.  He wouldn’t sit on my knee.  I did a few ‘Ho Ho's’.  You know, ‘Ho, Ho, Ho2,’ and all that.  But just as he was starting to look a bit happier there was that sinister voice again, 'It's my sack!  It’s my sack!’ and the bloody thing starts sliding across the floor again.  The little kid just burst into tears and started howling.  I snatched the sack back from the shadowy figure and grabbed the boy, who was running for the door.  ‘Look it's OK,’ I said  ‘I'm Father Christmas...’

‘No! I'm Father Christmas!!’

 1 argument

2  This needs to be a rather thin and weedy ‘Ho, Ho, Ho.’

4.     Proper Job

It was my Dad!  He was standing in the middle of the hall in all his glory.  There were snowflakes on his shoulders.  He looked magnificent with his long flowing white beard and his radiant, rosy face, a bulging sack of toys slung over his shoulder.  The kid stopped crying straight away, ran across and threw his arms round my Dad.

Dad said to me.  'What are you doing here you little runt?!  You just can't wait can you!  I was going to give you a job but now I'm not so sure.’

‘Dad,’ I said, ‘Please.  Give me a chance!’

‘All right. But mess up and I'll have to pass on my mantle to your cousin Derek.’

I heard the Janitor calling, 'Johnny is everything alright in there?'  But we were away..on the sleigh, reindeer...the works!  It was the first time I'd ever been in it.  Dad sat up the front his arm round little Johnny going Ho! Ho! Ho! a lot.  I was in the back among the sacks because there wasn't room for us all in the front.  I was so excited at the thought of going to his HQ at the North Pole.

But he dropped me and Johnny back at my place.  He said one of his little helpers had resigned at the last minute accusing my Dad of being an egotist and exploiting his staff.  He desperately needed someone to do a village called East Pinton1.  I said that I'd got some of the gear.  All I needed was some presents.  My Dad just left saying he was busy and to sort myself out.  Johnny was crying again, particularly as the sack seemed to be moving towards the door.

1  Substitute the name of your road, or community

5.  At last!

I suddenly realised I hadn’t got a sleigh.  So I phoned Frank. You know, the one at the Criminal Court.  He said they hadn’t had any sleighs used as evidence as far as he knew.  But he said he had a friend of a friend who may be able to come up with transport.  Half an hour later this geezer came round with a really nice Ford that he sold me for 100.  He said it was quite hot and there were no tickets with it….so I guess he'd driven it carefully1.  He said he didn't mind doing cars.  It was those scum that took children he despised.  He’d just heard on the radio that the cops were looking for someone round here who’s just taken a kid.  I don’t know, I thought.  Just before Christmas as well.

Anyway, I’ve got a sleigh of sorts and a little boy to help me.  So I'm just about ready for my first real job as Father Christmas.  I'm clever enough to have worked out a few other things.  This could take Father Christmassing into the 21st century:

One:  Lots of houses don't have chimneys these days.  So I’ve got this sledgehammer.  I thought in most places I'd be able to get in round the back somewhere.

Two:  I haven’t got any presents, but I read in the paper that most kids want money not presents so they can save up and get what they want in the sales.

Three:  It’s really the parents that pay for presents not Father Christmas.  So all I've got to do once I’ve got into the house is find where the parents keep their money, take it and then find the kids and give it to them.

So.  I've got my transport.  My outfit.  My sack.  And a little boy to help me.  I reckon I pretty much know what I'm doing now.  I bet my Dad will be impressed.  Wish me luck!

 In England, ‘hot’ means recently stolen and ‘tickets’ is slang for all the documents a vehicle needs to make it legal.  But ‘tickets’ can also mean parking or speeding tickets, which is the way our hero takes it.  You might like to use your local slang if this word play doesn’t work in your place.

© Ged Duncan 2003.  All rights reserved.


Storytellers are authorised to tell or perform this tale in private or at not-for-profit groups.  If you wish to tell this as part of a public performance please contact me.  There will not necessarily be a charge for community-based artists, but I would like to be credited and to know when the story is being used.

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