Where Everyone Believes in Christmas!
by Bernard Stewart
Elf Town is the secret magical place where Christmas toys and gifts delivered to children around the world by Santa on Christmas Eve night are really made. Almost every child's gift from their Christmas list is created in Elf Town. The North Pole Elves also have their special jobs, like reindeer wrangling, planning, planning, and more planning on loading the sleight and charting the complicated visit to every rooftop on Santa's Christmas Eve sleigh ride - but Elf Town is the heart and soul of the Christmas spirit of gift-giving spreading peace, love, and joy.
Deep in a tall forest surrounded by snow-capped mountains is where only the lucky will find Elf Town. The streets are constantly covered with snow, and the wind blows cold. But there's a warm light coming from every window. Main Street is lined with workshops. There is a magical toy workshop and a whimsical glass factory that makes spectacular ornaments to light up Christmas trees. There's also a fluffy flour bakery with singing elves with ginger muffins breath that remind you of Christmas when you were young! Christmas gifts can be seen in window after window, waiting to make children happy and joyful on Christmas day. Look over there. The North Pole Express is roaring pass carrying finished gifts created by Elf Town elves on the way to the north pole for Santa's big Christmas Eve sleigh ride.
The Elf Town population is a mixture of elf cultures from around the world. They possess special powers and keep their distance from everyday people although they love the results of their Christmas magic that touch the whole world. Not every elf in Elf Town has the classic Elf look you find in holiday books. Their height range from petite to 6 feet plus. Everyone who lives in Elf Town is an elf but most look like you and me. Except on Christmas Eve that is, when everyone grows elf ears as they prepare for the big night.
Today is a special day. The day for the new Mayor's ceremony to take charge of Elf Town. And It's the day the beloved town Doctor (the new Mayor's father ) will retire and join his brother Santa at the North pole. The Mayor (30's) confident, yet approachable, needed to find a replacement for her father before the hectic days leading up to Christmas Eve.
This is also the day a new Doctor will arrive to take over the Senior Doctor's practice. The Mayor had no idea how difficult it would be to find an elf doctor who loved Christmas as much as her father. She had searched far and wide to find the perfect candidate to care for the elves of Elf Town. Her lucky star was shining when a veteran army doctor applied for the position. She assumed that he had hidden his elf identity to serve his country. Her new hire has years of experience in medical care in remote locations with people that need special attention — the perfect description of Elf Town. Everyone is waiting to see the results of the new Mayor's first big decision.
After the ceremony, the Mayor asks her assistant Mouse (youthful and smart) to check on the new Doctor's arrival. Mouse is the most petite, intelligent, and spunkiest elf in Elf Town. She likes people calling her Mouse because she wants people to know that size or gender shouldn't stop you from being the best at what you do.
Mouse reviews the Doctor's material and discovers a grave error. The North Pole's recruitment flyer sent out on the secret Santa hiring network had the Town's name spelled wrong. ELFTON, Not ELF TOWN. This meant that recruitment search-based was not only looking for elves with the Christmas spirit, it included the whole world. There is no guarantee that the Doctor that has been hired is an elf or at least has the Spirit of Christmas in his heart. The Mayor and Mouse panic. They decide to hide the Mayor's mistake. As soon as the new Doctor arrives, they will test his Christmas joy quotient and if he fails, the Mayor will fire him. They will figure out a reason later to tell the Elders and the Town why he couldn't keep the job.
The Doctor (30's), handsome, skilled, and admirable, is on a very long drive to ELFTON. The voice of google maps is guiding him. He's spent most of his adult life helping save lives, but his personal life is in shambles. His heart has been broken so many times he isn't sure if it could ever be broken again. It's time to move on. Next stop, his new medical practice in ELFTON. He had googled the instructions he received about the Town's location. Instead of Elfton, the name ELF TOWN came up. There were no images of the Town on the map he could use to confirm. A technical glitch in the GPS search?
It's late evening when the map voice guides the Doctor to cross an almost hidden narrow Holley line one-way bridge off the highway. The bridge has a set of railroads tracks right down the middle. He reluctantly drives across the bridge with one eye out the for distant train whistle is heard.
He soon arrives at the snowy postcard town and sees signs all around that confirm he is indeed in ELF TOWN - "The happiest place on earth, and it's not in California". People mingle on the street. Their winter clothing makes everyone's physical appearance the same. The night sky shimmers with a red and green Christmas Borealis.
The Doctor presses the voice map to get more directions. Nothing. No voice, only an X on the digital map. He looks at the instructions to make sure he's got the correct location and then continues through Town. He stops on the side of an isolated road. Up a small hill sitting back from the road is a cabin. This must be the place. He presses for more instructions. Nothing. He drives up the hill, parks, and knocks on the cabin door. No answer. The door slowly opens, and he walks in. No one is home. There is a plaque on the wall, "Your place to dream." A knock on the door. It's the Mayor. The Constable and a few others had told her he saw him drive into Town. She has come to meet the man they called the 'Strange One.'
The Doctor tells her he is surprised by Elf Town. It's not on any map. It's as though he wandered into a mystical north pole. He isn't sure what to make of things. The Doctor begins to rant about how Christmas has ruined his life. He hates it. The Mayor holds back on giving him the whole story of this magical place hidden from the world. The Mayor realizes that she did indeed make a big mistake hiring this handsome stranger who hates Christmas. She explains that he has only come to a regular Christmas toy factory. She wishes him a good night's sleep. They will discuss the job tomorrow in her office.
It's morning. The Doctor wakes with a start. He had been dreaming of the day his wife died. He can't shake the feeling that the dream was some sort of warning. Fresh snow has fallen during the night. The majestic forest surrounding the cabin is draped in a blanket of white. The frozen lake nearby is filled with young children skating. The Doctor feels unusually content nestled in this cozy cabin as he stands by the roaring fire in the fireplace surrounded by Christmas Holly.
Christmas day many years ago. The Doctor, as a child excited at the first time he sees snow. He was so young. It was cold outside, but he didn't mind. His friends teased him and called him silly for making such a big deal about snow. The Town bully kicked the young doc's butt when he said over and over how beautiful he thought it all was.
The Doctor makes a call on his phone. The person on the other end explains that Eve is not there. She has gone to visit friends. Disappointment as he reluctantly hangs up. He turns on the TV and sees the holiday preparation from around the world on ELF NETWORK. A sigh. It will be Christmas Day in three days, and all he can think about is how much he hated it because that was the day his wife died.
The Doctor heads from the cabin down to Main Street. He continues his walk of discovery. The smell of pine needles is everywhere, holiday lights are on every street corner, and all the people around him are smiling. The whole town is festive and cheerful. Too bad he hates stuff like this.
He stops in front of THE SANTA WORKSHOP. The Mayor walks up behind him. She reaches out and gently puts a hand on his shoulder. A soft voice from behind him, "Merry Christmas." The Doctor turns quickly with his eyes wide open as if startled by the sound of her voice. He looks at her confused then lovingly, until finally, recognition flashed across his face.
Mouse comes to join them. She points. "Santa's workshop, a world of magic." The Mayor suggests that Mouse take him on a tour. The Doctor and Mouse head inside.
Skilled elf toymakers are hard at work, crafting the most delightful toys imaginable. The workshop floor is strewn with all sorts of tools and parts for building amazing toys. The workshop is also like a playground. The perfect place for imaginative and creative elf play with hands-on activities that create smile after smile.
Mouse tells the Doctor that she likes coming here because she can make things to her heart's content without anyone bothering her. "I made this miniature reindeer out of nothing but pine needles and lint from our winter clothes." She gives it to the Doctor as a gift. "I have been saving up materials to create something nice for Mrs. Claus for Christmas - she always encouraged me to be whatever I want to be and taught me a little special Christmas magic. She waves her hand. A mistletoe appears over a window. The Doctor is amused by the "magic trick" and is curious about her working in the workshop and also being the Mayor's assistance. "Everyone is encouraged to spend time in the workshop. It's the best stress therapy you can ever have."
Mouse gets a text from the Mayor. 'IT's TIME.' She walks the Doctor to the town hall to meet with the Mayor telling him on the way that she is glad he got a chance to see this special place. She says it with the undertone that he won't be around much longer. The Doctor admits that he would have never believed that a toy factory like that existed if he had not seen it with his own eyes. and that people can always be happy. Mouse questions the Doctor, why is happiness so difficult for him? His view is that In the outside world you work and then sleep, and work some more. Sadness is the only emotion that sticks.
As the leader of Elf Town, the Mayor's office is filled with all the things one could ever want as decorations for the holiday season. The Mayor and the Doctor have an awkward start to their conversation. He says that he is amazed at how it's so damn happy here all the time. Most days, people that he knows struggle to figure out how not to be sad. The Mayor is warming to this stranger, but she knows what she has to do.
Just as the Mayor is about fire him, Mouse interrupts with urgent news. Things aren't right in Elf Town. People are lining up outside the Doctor's office. A mysterious illness has hit, and it's quickly spreading among the children. A few adults have it too. It's transforming them from happy little elves into sad creatures with no Christmas spirit at all. "THE SADNESS."
The ELDERS gather in their chamber and search through the records of the LONG PAST. The Long Past records say that the lack of belief in the Christmas spirit causes the illness. They are told by an assistant that people had overheard the Doctor's conversation with Mouse and he said he hated Christmas. The Elders summon the Mayor for a meeting. She arrives with the Doctor, who stays outside the chambers with his ear to the door.
The Elders explain what they have uncovered about the "SADNESS." It is spreading fast, and it will soon overtake Elf Town, a place of happiness for longer than anyone can remember. The Mayor admits that she was surprised about the Doctor's feelings on Christmas. She explains how the mistake of hiring him happened and that she will fire him immediately. The Elders tell her that the journals of the Long Past say that the Doctor's departure will only worsen an already terrible situation. There was no explanation why he needed to stay, but guidance from the Long Past has never been wrong. She brought this outsider into Elf Town, so she must fix the problem.
Overhearing the Elders's conversation with the Mayor, the Doctor is shaken by the news that he is the cause of all the sadness. He goes outside and facetime Eve, an 8-year-old girl, in the living room of a cozy house. She's decorating a Christmas tree with her adorable small Perky, bouncy, and playful, Bichon dog. The Doctor tells her he's glad they get to talk finally. She asks about the new job. He's hesitant at first, but she pressures him for the truth. The job is not in Elfton, he tells her. It is in a place called Elf Town. The people here live in some kind of Christmas fantasy that this is a land of north pole elves. He shows her the festive city street on his phone as two elves walk by waving. Eve finds it all fantastic. Can she come to visit? He explains that things have not gone well. They are blaming him for a mysterious illness that is affecting everyone. He tells her he's leaving to avoid infecting more people. She wants to know if he will come to see her for Christmas? He says he will try.
Mouse the spunkiest elf in Elf Town, really has the 'Sadness' bad. Like everyone else in town, she is barely able to keep her head up, much less make toys. The Doctor suggests he take a look at her in the clinic.
At the clinic, they talk about the situation. The Doctor may not believe in Elves and hates Christmas, but he knows that recovery from a widespread illness could take months or even years. He doesn't understand how sadness became contagious, but as a doctor, he knows that if he's the cause of it and doesn't leave town now, the elves can't get better, and there will not be enough toys for Santa. Children all around the world will have no Christmas.
The Mayor comes to the clinic as the Doc finishes with Mouse. Mouse tells her the doctor's plan to leave. 'No way.' she says. You caused this disaster by bringing this illness to Elf Town and the Elders say you have to stay to help stop it. Besides, he's a doctor with an oath to heal. He argues that the Elders are wrong. That he must leave.
The Mayor zoom calls her father, now retired at the North Pole. The Doctor listens in. As they prepare to start the call they can see Santa in the background talking to her father. Santa tells his brother, "I know him. He was a doctor in the Army. It's been years since I've seen this man, but I remember how he felt about Christmas; it was his most hated holiday. Why is he in Elf Town?
The Mayor tells her father the situation and that the Elders didn't know why the Doctor leaving would make matters worst. The Senior Doctor pulls out the oversized leather Elf Book of Medicine. He reads to them. 'The power of Christmas is a gift that can change lives. But you have to believe in it. The only way to save the children and the town is for the Doctor to fix his own sadness.' He did believe in Christmas as a young man, and if he believes in the power of Christmas again, He can save Elf Town. He just needs to learn how. To do that, the Doctor must visit the three spirits of Elf Town Christmas. The spirits are in the mountains and have the answers.
If he is truthful during this journey, they will reveal to him what he needs most to move past events that have turned his heart cold. He can end his sadness. To find them he must take a trip on the North Pole Express. The Doctor must not take this journey alone. It will be very traumatic. He must be accompanied by a trusted soul—a person who has always believed wholeheartedly how powerful the Spirit of Christmas really is.
"I hate Christmas." The words left the Doctor's mouth without a second thought, and he regretted them instantly when he saw the hurt in the Mayor's eyes. He knew it was wrong to say that, but he couldn't help himself; anything about Christmas just made him feel so irritated and uncomfortable. Something about the snow-filled streets, the music playing from every store window, all of it just made him want to crawl under his covers until New Year's Day came around again.
The Mayor's Father is dismayed by the Doctor's comments and very glad Santa had left the room and did not hear them. He tells his daughter, 'This problem must be fixed, now! You obviously can't manage him and make that happen. The Elders must be told so they can decide what to do."
"No, no!" she gasped. "Please don't. They'll take my job away! I never meant to hire the outsider in the first place. Her voice trembles with fear and distress. She tells her father she realizes how bad her mistake was in hiring an outsider who hated Christmas to replace him. She had heard that there were people in the outside world that hated Christmas and didn't believe in the Christmas spirit, but she never imagined one would show up here. "I'm sorry, father," she continues in a small voice, barely audible over the howling wind outside the windows. Before she could offer any other words of apology, the Doctor speaks up. She's in serious trouble, and it was all because of him.
I'll do the spirit trips, but the Mayor has to join him as his 'trusted soul.' The Christmas tower clock is ticketing. There are two days until Christmas Eve night. Together they must help him find his way - moving on from a past loss, rediscovering the power of love, and believing in the magic of Christmas.
They are in a race against time. They need to get enough elves well to put the toy workshops back online to save Christmas. The Senior Doctor explains the most frightening part of the illness. They must cure it soon or the elves of Elf Town will become permanently sad and depressed,
The Doctor and the Mayor are onboard festively decorated North Pole Express. They sit quietly on plush leather seats taking in the stunning views as they speed through the snowy landscape. A swirling blast of cold air zips through the cabin. A pad appears in the Doctor's lap. He reads the message. ''Your lost love will come to talk to you. Do not be alarmed by her appearance.'
The train stops, and they get off. They walk towards a snow-covered meadow with reindeer. The Doctor stops and stares. A thick fog ahead. He feels a strong tug on his sleeve. It's the Mayor in small elf form. She speaks, but no words. He does not understand. She pulls harder, this time with urgency in her motions. He follows her as best he can through the thick fog that's shrouded all around them. They come to a cabin in the woods.
Before them stands an old man with a white beard dressed in a red cape. He reaches out. The Doctor tentatively extends his hand and cautiously grabs the man's palm. The man guides him to sit on the steps. The Doctor sits. When he looks up, he quickly withdraws his hand when he realizes that he is holding the hand of the Mayor.
They stare at each other. The Doctor not knowing what to say or do next. The Mayor's image dissolves. He is with his dead wife. She speaks. 'I like her.' The Doctor nervously answers. 'There are so many questions inside my head. Why did I have to lose you? He pauses. 'I wasn't ready for this. It's like you've died all over again.' She answers, 'Too much sadness and hurt has welled up inside.' The Doctor asks, 'What do you mean?' His wife says, 'This is not about the past. It's not about Us. It's about the future. Stop trying to protect her. Fix the Elf Town problem. Do you understand?"
A nod and a mournful sight from the Doctor. She fades. The Old Man appears in her place. He speaks. 'A warning about your next spirit destination. You will have to tell the Mayor everything in your head and heart about the real reasons you hate Christmas.'
Standing on Main street is Mouse, the Mayor, and the Doctor watching the activity. A few children have begun to get better and play in the square. No adults, however, are strong enough to work to prepare for Christmas Eve. The Clock ticks in the tower - minutes and seconds to the Big Night.
The Express Station. The next spirit trip is on. The Doctor and the Mayor board an Express with the sign UNKNOWN PLACE. Onboard the express, holiday decorations are gone. The plush leather seats are now uncomfortable wooden benches. The windows are tiny portholes.
The Mayor talks about her living in Elf Town all her life. It's one big family, and quite honestly, she never had the urge to explore the world beyond it. So many cultures live there together. Her father would always say that the world had come to her. The Doc explains to the Mayor that as a child, his family was penniless. His parent would say Santa didn't know where they lived. Christmas is the reason for so much pain in his life.
The Doctor asks about her personal situation? There are a lot of nice-looking elves in Elf Town. She says she was with someone, but that didn't work out.
They are in a dark room with no windows. The only light comes from an eerie green glow that filters under the door. The sound of their breathing is heavy in their ears, the feeling of sadness in their chest, in every muscle fiber and bone. Loud footsteps are coming nearer; they echo off the walls like thunderclaps or cannon shots. A vulnerable situation. Suddenly, a Big Smoky Black Spirit burst into the room with such force that they thought it had knocked down all four walls at once. The Spirit grabs the Doctor and pulls them face to face. A booming voice - "You were warned. It is now time. Tell Her."
WHITE FLASH - The Doctor and Mayor are sitting in front of a roaring fire in his cabin. He explains that he was born and raised in America, but he has always been a citizen of the world. His family's legacy of service went all the way back to his great-great-grandfather, who fought on behalf of the British in World War I. He joined the US Army as soon as he turned 18 and served two tours in Afghanistan. The Mayor wants to know what does that have to do with hating Christmas?
It is a clear night. The stars twinkle in the sky, and the Doctor is riding on a bus on his way home from the war, going back to his family for Christmas. This Christmas will be special. His first trip home in three years. He's home, but it won't be easy to explain what happened over there and why he has so many physical and emotional scars.
He arrives at his house just before midnight on Christmas Eve. His wife was waiting up. She greets him with eyes sparkling like those stars shining above Elf Town. The following morning they decided to go out with her family for Christmas day breakfast. Brothers, sisters, kids, and adults. A happy group. On the way home, there is a car accident. His wife dies. He was driving.
The Doctor tells the Mayor every year, as December 25th approaches, he gets upset and angry, but something changed inside him this year. He wanted to start fresh and find a way not to feel so sad. He got the letter from Santa Claus saying that he had been hired to fill the spot for a doctor at the North Pole annex. He thought it was a clever gimmick to welcome him to the job. He had no idea he would be on a remote mountain where elves make toys. He's still confused about it all. The Mayor tells him that maybe he was destined to be here. Santa doesn't make mistakes.
BOOM - They are back in the dark room with no windows. There are footsteps. No one can be seen, but the booming voice comes again. "Tell her." The Doctor looks at the Mayor in silence. "Tell her." The Doctor blurts out, "I have a daughter." The Mayor is speechless. 'Her name is Eve. She's with my parents because I didn't think I was good enough to care for her. She loves holidays. Especially Christmas. I realized my sadness and anger at life weren't good for her.' Mayor asks, "So she doesn't live with you?' Doctor; 'I don't want to destroy her joy like I've destroyed mine. Mayor; "How old is she?" Doctor; 'She's eight.' Doctor, 'You remind me of her, fierce and independent.' The Mayor's comment is simple, 'She needs her father, and you need to let go of the past so she can have her daddy back.'
The room changes. A church - people shoulder-to-shoulder in pews singing "Silent Night," rows of candles, a collection box for the needy. The Reverend welcoming his congregation - the true Spirit of Christmas. All the stuff to make you tear up. The Doctor tells the Mayor, 'that he forgot that it was the kindness and goodness of others that got my family and me through tough times.' Mayor, 'When you could go no farther, the Spirit of Christmas was there to help.'
They watch as the Doctor as a young man tells the Reverend that he has decided to become a doctor so he can help others. The Doctor turns to the Mayor and reaches for her hand. 'Merry Christmas." He understands now how much damage his sadness has caused to those who love him - and the elves of Elf Town.
The Doctor and the Mayor arrive back in Elf Town on the Express. At the station, there is dancing and happiness. The children are now well, and the Town is celebrating like the world's biggest Christmas musical. The Doctor and the Mayor smile as they are congratulated for their success.
They are approached by a tall flowing elf wearing a clock around his neck like Flavor Flav. This is the final Spirit, the Spirit of Time. The Doctor, the Mayor, and everyone else has mistakenly believed that the Doctors renewed belief in Christmas was his final test.... and he passed it. Wrong!
The scene around them swirls widely. The minute and hour hands on the clocks of the Spirit and the Town clock tower rapidly move forward. The Spirit explains that the Doctor and the Mayor have been away for longer than allowed. There is now less than eight hours before Christmas Eve begins. The elves must finish their work on all the toys, gifts, and goodies needed from the North Pole Express before the clock strikes eleven O'clock. The Express must make it to the North Pole in time for the north pole elves to load Santa's sleigh for the Big Night. If they fail and the Express does not have every toys slot filled from Christmas lists, it can not depart, and Christmas will be lost.
The Doctor looks at the Mayor and Mouse, 'We can do this.' The Spirit frowns. 'You need as many hands as possible.' I have two more for you. Eve steps from behind the Spirit with her small bouncy, Bichon dog, and they race to her dad for a big hug.
The race against time is on, and every second counts. In every workshop, bakery, sweet shop, and gift wrapping stores, elves work hard, passing orders and packing boxes.
In the Santa Workshop, Mouse wears a bright Christmas bow on her head and is surrounded by stacks of packages, toys, and cards. She was precariously perched on top of a pile of books. Her team counts gifts and toys with the help of Eve as they are placed on carts headed to be loaded on the Express. Mouse tells Eve that elves are the best workers because they can work faster than any machine or human. The Doctor to Eve, "I am so happy you are here to help." She hugs him with a big smile.
All the workshops are empty now. Every task is finished. The last item from the last carry cart is placed inside the Express. OH NO! There is one last empty slot on the Express. The clock is ticking. Seconds before 11 o'clock. There is no time to make another gift. The Doctor reaches in his pocket and pulls out the miniature reindeer gift from Mouse. He places it in the empty slot. The Express doors slide close precisely at 11 pm. There is a blast from the whistle, and it's off, to cheers and more dancing.
Eve tells the Doctor that he's changed. Her daddy's back. She looks at the Mayor. Is she the reason? He tells her she part of the reason. He says that seeing the hard unselfish work the elves do here and how they worked to save Christmas showed him what Christmas is all about. It's like the feeling he gets as a doctor helping people, but bigger. Elf Town is where everyone believes in love and caring for others.
The Doctor and the Mayor are standing under an overhead beam supporting the platform. Mouse waves her hand. A mistletoe magically appears above them. The crowd begins to chant. They want them to kiss. They kiss and then warmly embrace. More cheers.
Eve wants to know if they will stay and live in Elf Town? He looks at the Mayor. The Mayor is handed a proclamation by Mouse. She reads it. 'The Elders and I as Mayor of Elf Town declare Doctor and Eve to be banished as Outsiders.' A gasp from the crowd. She drops the proclamation and behind it is another one. I further declare that Doctor and Eve are henceforth and forever declared elves of Elf Town with all the magic and joy that come with a wonderful life.
Applause, Applause, and more Applause as the Doctor and Eve are pinned with ELF EARS from the Mayor. Eve, the Mayor, and the NEW Beloved Doctor. A new family? Find out in the story of Elf Town Too.
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