Father Christmas’s Mad Dash (a yuletide punctuation exercise)

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Christmas is always a busy time of year – there are turkeys to catch and pluck, presents to wrap and shopping to do. In Father Christmas’s secret hideaway, Mrs Christmas was counting down the days, too, one by one on her Advent calendar. Time was fast running out and there were still lots of toys to make – not to mention mince pies to bake. It was going to take quite a bit of magic to get everything magically ready in time for the 25th of December. Even the Chistmas angel on top of the Christmas tree was late. As Christmas was getting closer, even the elves started rushing about. Despite the cold weather, Father Christmas was getting hot and flustered. As he stamped his feet, a cloud of sawdust flew into the air. He called to one his favourite gnomes and asked him to magic a trick that would help the elves get things done a bit faster. As the gnome waved his magic wand, he chanted,

“Abracadabra ! Make us a spell ! Make all the elves do as I tell,
And Make my flu go as well” he added, just for good measure. The gnome’s magic spell continued,

“Make my Christmas list short not long – and make all the elves put the toys back on the shelves where they belong ! “.
“Make my scissors sharper than ever and please give us a little bit of a little better weather …
“Make my shopping bags lighter and the days a bit brighter,
“Make the turkey cook quicker and the Christmas sleigh run slicker,
“Then all will be done, by the time Christmas has come”

For a minute there was silence … and all that could be heard was the sound of snowflakes falling on the Christmas ghetto roof. Then, suddenly, with a twinkle of stars outside, the magic started to work, quick as a flash. Soon in Father Christmas’s ghetto – things were going at top speed. So quick in fact, that Mrs Christmas burnt the cakes because she cooked them for two hours instead of one ! Before long, The elves were hammering nails into wood so fast, that one of them banged their fingers ! Mrs Christmas’s knitting needles were flying sparks – and the scarf she was getting ready for Mr Christmas to go out in on Christmas Eve was twice as long ! There were socks and gloves all knit in no time whatsoever. The time passed by so quickly that soon there were twice as many teddy bears for the children, all stitched twice as fast by Mrs Christmas. Ribbons and bows were soon scattered everywhere – the presents, of course, were wrapped in half the time that it usually took the gnomes. Mrs Christmas was worried that the train set wouldn’t be ready on time either, but luckily, the magic worked on all the toys – the train now travelled at top speed and so did the toy cars. The toy soldiers were also in a mad dash – they marched up and down the stairs so much, their heads were in a spin. All the household chores were done – the logs chooped, the chimney pot dusted, the pots washed and clothes pressed – even Father Christmas’s boots were polished (twice as quickly as usual) and shone just like new – finally everything was ready in time for Christmas Day, though the elves little finger was still black and blue !

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Santa Claus Comma & The Mad Dash Before Christmas Game

Santa Claus accidentally dropped all his dashes in the mad Christmas dash. Add in the commas to this text – the lyrics of the Christmas carol “Away in a Manger”. Where should Santa Claus put his commas and full – stops ? (A clue – there are 20 commas and 6 full – stops).

snowman1.jpg Away in a manger
No crib for His bed
The little Lord Jesus
Laid down His sweet head

The stars in the bright sky
Looked down where He lay
The little Lord Jesus
Asleep on the hay

The cattle are lowing
The poor Baby wakes
But little Lord Jesus
No crying He makes

I love Thee Lord Jesus
Look down from the sky
And stay by my side
Til morning is nigh

Be near me Lord Jesus
I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever
And love me I pray

Bless all the dear children
In Thy tender care
And take us to heaven
To live with Thee there

© Jacqueline Richards 2005

Answers
Away in a manger,
No crib for His bed,
The little Lord Jesus,
Laid down His sweet head.

The stars in the bright sky,
Looked down where He lay,
The little Lord Jesus,
Asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing,
The poor Baby wakes,
But little Lord Jesus,
No crying He makes.

I love Thee, Lord Jesus,
Look down from the sky
And stay by my side,
‘Til morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus,
I ask Thee to stay,
Close by me forever,
And love me I pray.

Bless all the dear children,
In Thy tender care,
And take us to heaven,
To live with Thee there.

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