Portable North Pole Console

“Attention! Attention everyone! There’s a great gathering in the Village square!”

Santa and Mrs. Claus invited all the elves to take a break from work to mark the seventh anniversary of the invention of the Portable North Pole console. Standing on a platform, Santa addressed the crowd.

“Before we’re all too caught up in the whirlwind of the holidays, Mrs. Claus and I wanted to thank each of you for your hard work. Seven years ago, the Invengineer elves developed a new technology that has made our communications with the world much more effective. With the Portable North Pole console, I have the great pleasure of being able to speak by video with every child in the world who wants to speak with me!”

The elves applauded loudly. In the crowd, Nano, a very small young elf, tried to see Santa Claus over the shoulders of his colleagues.

“What? What did he say? Why is everyone clapping?” Nano asked.

“Shut up and you’ll hear a little better,” replied a grumpy elf.

“But I can’t see because I’m too short!” cried Nano.

“Stop complaining. We are all small,” said the grumpy elf.

Santa Claus continued to talk to the crowd for a while, but Nano still had a hard time hearing his speech.

“What is he saying now?” Nano asked a redheaded elf.

“Shh!” she whispered back. “He’s explaining what motivated the Invengineers to create the Portable North Pole console.”

Nano tried to listen really hard, but he still couldn’t hear Santa’s speech. He just managed to grab the last few words.

“… so that is why the Portable North Pole console was invented! To celebrate this seventh anniversary with you, Mrs. Claus and I will now distribute these delicious Christmas cupcakes!”

The elves are very fond of sweets so they cheered loudly! They started to line up right away to wait for their cupcakes. Disappointed, Nano took a spot behind one of the lines.

“Why do you look so sad?” asked a girl elf with very blue eyes. “Don’t you like Christmas cupcakes?”

“I love cupcakes very much,” said Nano. “But I wasn’t able to hear everything that Santa was saying. I would have liked to have learned the story behind the creation of the PNP console.”

“I can explain to you how the console works if you want!” said the elf. “The child positions themself in front of a computer, tablet or mobile phone screen, then they launch the communication console which reaches our village. Santa appears on the screen and talks to the child through a video connection. It’s quite impressive!”

“I already know all of that,” protested Nano.

“If you already know what the Portable North Pole console is, then why are you so disappointed?” asked the elf.

“I know how the console works,” explained Nano, “but I would have liked to have found out why the Invengineer elves decided to create it.”

“Because it’s a very effective way to communicate with Santa!” said the blue-eyed elf.

“Yes, yes, of course,” replied Nano. “But for years and years, children communicated with Santa by sending letters to the village. It worked great! I’m curious as to why Santa decided to do things differently.”

“Those who still wish to can always send a letter to Santa” said the elf.

The line to get a cupcake was slowly making its way to Santa. An old elf decided to meddle in the conversation between Nano and the blue-eyed elf.

“It is true that the Postationist elves have always done a very good job of sorting the mail,” said the old elf. “Personally, I preferred the old method. It was simpler.”

“But the console is very easy to use!” protested the blue-eyed elf. “And it’s exciting to talk directly to Father Christmas via video! I have witnessed several conversations between children and Santa Claus. Some of the kids were so moved to review their year with him that they started crying!”

“I’ve also seen children cry because they were afraid of Santa’s beard,” replied the old elf.

“That never lasts very long!” replied the blue-eyed elf impatiently. “Eventually, they all get won over by the Christmas magic.”

“It’s all well and good,” said Nano. “But I still don’t know what gave Santa Claus the idea for the console.”

“Why don’t you just ask him,” said the blue-eyed elf. “We’re next for the cupcakes.”

When it was her turn in line, the girl elf gave a big hug to Santa. She then took her cupcake and walked away. Then it was Nano’s turn. The young elf rarely got to be so close to Santa. At the sight of the tall bearded man, his low voice and his legendary smile, the little elf became very, very nervous. All he managed to do was to stretch his hands to receive the cupcake that Santa was handing him, then he mumbled a shy thank you and walked away.

The blue-eyed elf had already devoured her cupcake. She came up to Nano.

“So?” she asked. “Did Santa’s answer satisfy your curiosity?”

“I completely forgot to ask him my question!” Nano replied, his eyes still bright from having been in the presence of the old man.

The look on Nano’s face touched the heart of the blue-eyed elf and made her laugh softly.

“Dear little elf”, she said. “I guess you’ll just have to attend a video session between a child and Santa. It’s magical! You’ll understand very quickly why the Invengineer elves work so hard every year to improve the PNP console!”

On these last words, the blue-eyed elf stole a bite of Nano’s cupcake and ran away giggling.