It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas. The streets were filled with Christmas cheer, green and red lights could be seen snaking the skyline in every direction. Laughter erupted as children finished school for another year, a well-earned break from studying and exams. Parents were found scrambling for gifts and presents, another year of stressing about what to get their children and loved ones.
It may have seemed like an extremely busy time of year, but it was nothing compared to what Santa Claus was dealing with. Thousands of miles away in the North Pole, nothing was going right. Santa’s elves were busy preparing the sleigh and tending to the reindeers as Santa Claus himself was lost knee-deep in a pile of paper, books and old magazines.
“I can’t find them” he said, “This is a disaster. How will we ever know who was naughty and who was nice?”
Santa looked over at Mrs Claus, frustrated and concerned. He had just one job every year: to make sure all the children received the correct presents on time.
“I’m sure they’re here somewhere, dear. We still have a few weeks.” Mrs Claus tried her best to comfort him, but she knew him too well.
Santa slumped down to the ground as paper went crashing and falling in every direction. The North Pole had been hit by as massive snowstorm the night before, cutting the power and the internet. Although the power had been restored with the help of Santa’s elves, the internet was still out, and Santa had no way of contacting anyone outside of the North Pole.
“What ever will we do?”
He looked around the room, trying to find something to inspire him when his eyes landed on the dusty old fax machine stored in the cabinet of ‘never-to-be-used-again-but just-in-case’ items, along with a kerosene lamp and other knick-knacks he had acquired over the years.
Santa’s eyes lit up, “Aha!” He slowly scrambled over to the cabinet, his knees not quite as good as they used to be, pushing paper out of his way.
“What is it, dear? How can a rusty old fax machine help us?”
He retrieved the fax machine from the cabinet, blowing off the dust that had accrued from non-use. Many years ago, before the invention of mobile phones or internet, the fax machine was one of the only methods of communication available, along with traditional mail, of course.
“It’s going to save Christmas, my love. Just you wait and see.” He gave Mrs Clause a big kiss.
Turning around, Santa connected the fax machine to the phone line and found a blank piece of paper. He began to write:
EMERGENCY: SANTA NEEDS YOUR HELP
HO HO HO, it’s Santa here!
This is a message to all the parents around the world. I have lost my naughty or nice list and I need your help! We only have a few weeks before Christmas and I need to know if your children have been naughty or nice.
Please send me a fax to this fax number: 38189192013119
I’m counting on you to help me save Christmas!
After he had finished, Santa loaded his letter into the fax machine. “I really hope this works. It’s the only way.”
He began faxing his letter to fax numbers around the world. Australia, the United States, Germany, Japan, China, Africa… there were children everywhere that needed a cheer this year, and Santa was determined to make sure it happened.
After a few hours, and over 100 faxes later, Santa stopped faxing his letter, clearing the line for incoming faxes. He waited. 5 minutes went by. 10 minutes. Still no received faxes.
Mrs Claus reappeared with a cup of tea and biscuits in hand, placing them on the desk next to her husband. “Come on now, I’m sure it will work. Just give it some time.”
Santa sat quietly as he drank his tea and devoured his biscuits, unaware of how hungry he was while being so focused on trying to save Christmas. His anxiety about the entire situation was soon drowned out by a familiar, yet nearly unrecognisable sound: the fax machine.
“Yes!” Santa jumped out of his seat, almost falling back into the piles of paper that littered the ground where he had first started this morning. He stood impatiently over the fax machine as it started to receive a fax, hopefully the first of many.
During this time, all of the elves had gathered around the door to Santa’s office as silent onlookers. Grabbing the fax as soon as it had been delivered, Santa began to read it out loud:
We hear you! Here is a list of all of the children here at Mercy Medical here in Cairns, Australia, and they are all on the nice list (we couldn’t find a single naughty child anywhere!). We have sent your letter to as many people as we could. I hope this helps!
Michael Andrews – age 8
Rachel Murkins – age 4
Shannon Webster – age 12
Terry Morgan – age 6
Rose Kimberley – age 13
Santa had barely finished reading the final word before cheers erupted from around the room, the elves delighted that such an old, outdated piece of technology had managed to save Christmas.
Another two faxes had been received in the time it had taken Santa to read out the letter from Joanna. It was a Christmas miracle.
Mrs Claus trudged straight through the room, crushing paper without a care in the world and reached out, giving her husband a tight hug. “I knew you’d do it! I knew you’d find a way.”
“We still have so much to do. It’s time to get back to work!”
As the days passed, more and more letters were being faxed to Santa. Each time he received a letter, he would pass the information onto his trusty elves to organise the presents. Three days before Christmas Eve, Santa had received thousands of letters and his sleigh was piled high with presents. The fax machine had not stopped, nor had the preparations for Christmas eve.
The day had finally arrived, and Santa could not believe his luck. He stood outside in the snow, staring at his sleigh piled high with presents.
“It’s time.” Santa exclaimed, climbing aboard his sleigh and departing the North Pole. Santa delivered all the presents and made his way back home, just in time for the sun to rise.
As all the children woke up on Christmas morning, they were greeted by their presents from Santa, just like every other year.
But this year, unbeknownst to them, was different.
This was the year the fax machine saved Christmas.