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The Reject Room
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All the Elves at the North Pole have a specific job, and take great pride in all they do.
The stable Elves look after the reindeer all year round making sure they are fed, watered and groomed. Too much food would make them fat and lazy and too little would result in tiredness so that they wouldn't have the strength and energy to pull Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve.
The cooks and bakers pride themselves in producing mouth watering meals and pastries for all. Santa could often be seen sneaking in the side door to sample their pastries, which Mrs Clause tried to stop him doing!
There was even a special kitchen for making the Elves famous hot chocolate.
The recipe had been perfected over many years and no one dared to change it in any way. (That is until an apprentice Elf named Fredo tried!)
The largest group of Elves' wore the coveted 'Badges.'
The first badge was Red, worn by young apprentices who had to help out in the kitchen, fetch the workers snacks and drinks and basically fetch and carry for all the Elves, and finally sweep up at the end of the day.
Then they moved up to the second badge which was Green.
They were taught how to print all the colourful Christmas paper and ribbons, and to wrap the presents.
The final stage was toy making and there they spent many years learning their trade.
Once qualified, they were presented with the 'Gold' badge by Santa himself.
The head Elves checked everything, and if there was the slightest flaw in it, it was sent it directly to the 'Reject Room.'
On Christmas Eve they had the honour of packing Santa's sleigh.
Our story is about a young Elf named Fredo, who was always happy and liked nothing better than bringing a smile to everyone's face.
Fredo had a wonderful imagination and loved to try new things.
Unfortunately it sometimes didn't go down too well!
He was very quickly moved from the chocolate kitchen when he tried out new recipes in the hot chocolate. From cinnamon, green peppermint, pink strawberry and finally white chocolate with floating balls of bubblegum.
He did try to stick with the traditions but his imagination just took over.
Next came the Christmas paper and ribbon room: Fredo loved it in there and had great fun mixing the colours for printing on the paper.
Fredo behaved himself for quite a while in there and sighs of relief went round the grotto. Unfortunately his wonderful imagination started to imagine what you could do if you started to mix colours and make new designs.
He started off small by changing the colours of Christmas trees from green to blue, purple, orange and pink. All that paper ended up in the 'Reject' room.
Ribbons were turned into animal shapes which could not be wrapped around presents.
The reject room received another delivery!
Finally Fredo was sent to the toy room.
He wasn't allowed to make anything, as that took years of practise, so his job was to spray and paint the toys.
Even that takes a lot of practise, so again, for a while all was quiet.
The elves smiled and praised Fredo as they had finally found him a job that he was good at.
Christmas was fast approaching and everyone was so busy that they didn't notice some unusual toys leaving the room.
Yellow fire engines instead of red, with go faster stripes down their sides; giraffes painted purple with pink spots; teddy bears wearing elf shoes and hats, and bicycles with a saddle shaped like a football.
Fredo didn't give a thought as to how you could sit on it and ride!
More and more toys were sent to the reject room and the elves looked at each other in horror. At this rate they would never make their quota for Christmas.
Santa only heard odd comments from the Elves about Fredo and just put it down to enthusiasm.
Mrs Clause however kept an eye on Fredo as she loved his happy enthusiasm and smiling face.
She noticed that whenever he had to toe the line, his smile disappeared.
The head elf finally took the problem of Fredo to Santa.
It was agreed that he had to be kept away from the making of toys.
Fredo couldn't understand why the other elves didn't like his designs and was saddened by it. He didn't realise that he was breaking years of tradition.
His coveted badge was taken from him and he was put on snow duty.
Day after day he had to clear the snow away from the doors and windows and clear pathways.
Slowly his enthusiasm drained away and he no longer smiled.
Mrs Clause watched her bubbly Fredo turn into a very sad elf indeed.
Santa and Mrs Clause made their usual inspection to see all the wonderful toys the elves had made.
While Santa was congratulating all the elves, Mrs Clause opened the door of the reject room. She was surprised at just how full it was.
As she wandered around she smiled to herself as she realised that most of it was Fredo's rejects.
She picked up the purple giraffe with the pink spots and laughed.
Actually, she rather liked it, so tucked it under her arm to keep.
Very soon everything in the room would be destroyed or re-cycled and she felt an anger building up inside her.
Later that day she marched into Santa's study.
"This will really not do," she said in a stern voice. "We have turned a happy, kind and thoughtful elf into a sad and unhappy elf just because he has unusual ideas."
Santa was shocked to realise that he had been so busy that he failed to notice one of his elves was so unhappy.
He prided himself on treating the elves with the respect they deserved.
Mrs Clause stood there with her hands on her hips ready to do battle for her little Fredo. "Why should people that have wonderful imaginations be made to feel a failure?" she asked.
"Calm down my dear, calm down. You are absolutely right. In fact I think I might have a solution."
Santa strode out of his study and started barking orders to the elves.
"Send a message to the reindeer elves and tell them to make the reindeers ready.
All of you stop what you are doing and help me load the sleigh."
All the elves looked totally confused as there were two days to go before Christmas Eve.
The sleigh was brought round and parked outside the reject room.
They were told to fill it with all the rejects, which confused them even more.
Next Santa opened the big front doors and called out to Fredo. "Stop what you are doing my little friend and come with me."
Fredo wondered what he had done wrong this time and followed Santa outside.
Santa looked at Fredo and asked, "Are you ready to be my helper and deliver some toys?" Seeing all the confused faces Santa explained to everyone about a place named, 'The Land of Odd.'
It was a place where elves, leprechauns and fairies had made their home away from people who didn't understand or appreciate others that thought differently.
Mrs Clause smiled as she saw Fredo's eyes light up and his cheerful grin return.
The reindeer were harnessed to the sleigh and they took off into the night sky.
Fredo's smile started to fade as he had heard rumours about this place.
'Was Santa banishing him there because of all the things that were in the sleigh?'
Santa glided to a stop and was warmly greeted by a fairy named Catalina and a leprechaun named Remus.
They were delighted that Santa had put 'The Land of Odd' on to his Christmas list. Everything was quickly unloaded and put away for Christmas Eve.
Fredo was congratulated on all his wonderful toys and wrapping paper while Santa stood back listening to all the praise and back slapping he received.
They were given strange looking cookies and a mug of hot bubbling purple liquid.
Santa never asked what was in it but was surprised that he really liked it.
Fredo was invited to stay with them if he so wished.
Before any feelings of dread could grow, Santa's Ho, Ho, Ho rang out and he answered for Fredo.
"What, lose my most inventive toy maker? No my friends, once this Christmas is over and we have rested; it will be time to make ready for next Christmas.
We will come again at the same time next year.
As they flew through the night sky Santa said; "Better let that wonderful imagination run free my boy, lots to do."
Fredo was given the reject room to work in and make his own toys and wrapping paper and it even had his name on the door.
A new badge was made just for him; it was purple with pink spots and Fredo wore it with pride.
He was given his own hot chocolate making machine and the elves smiled at some of the odd aromas that came from Fredo's workshop.
Santa and Mrs Clause stood smiling, knowing that next Christmas was going to be very interesting!
Fredo carried on making toys for The Land of Odd, but children, if you ever see or receive a toy that is slightly different from the usual ones, you will know that Fredo slipped them into Santa's sack on Christmas Eve.
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