Santa’s Visit To Tom Thumb

Over the years, Santa became an expert in chimneys. Even blind – folded, Santa could tell the difference between ones thin and long, (though his eyesight on misty nights wasn’t that strong) and chimneys thick and short (in between the odd glass of port). Probably, no – one else in the world knew so much about chimneys as he did. Santa was really an expert at the sport (well he had been doing it since he was a kid !). But, some chimneys were so small that Santa couldn’t fit … some chimneys were so wide that Santa couldn’t hold on or touch the side.

Their size, colour and height were all a matter of incredible mathematical equation, yet also, for Santa, a source of incredible frustration. Of course, Santa had to get in, before Christmas could even begin.”Gggrrr !”, Santa groaned, Rudolph the red nose reindeer frowned and Gerome the gnome moaned. Each year, the chimneys seemed to get tighter … the sleigh slower and Santa’s sack no lighter. Needless to say, since he’d been eating mince pies in enormous proportions, from year to year, Santa wasn’t very good at calculating different proportions, from there to here. He should have ventured down chimneys stacks with rather more caution. Even Santa’s belt underwent some torsion, stretched to the limits in extra – ordinairy extortion. Sometimes, it even seemed that he’d never be set free and make it home in time for tea !

Perhaps it was that none of Santa’s friends had also been present in algebra classes … or that the Snowman had sat upon his glasses. Unfortunately, Santa had never been very good at maths and he liked homework even less. So, Santa’s sense of centimetre was absolutely useless ! Of course, because he’d been so busy with the elves building toys in the garden shed and fixing the shelves, he’d missed the class at school on using a ruler, so it is said. Thus, although he was generally very good at distributing Christmas treasure, Santa wasn’t at all that useful when there was anything Christmas – y to measure. Despite using his brain – strength to measure each inch, he often got the length of everything wrong – even his belt started to pinch !
Without a chimney map book, inevitably, Santa got stuck ! Given how sticky dirty chimneys can be, how could he possibly deliver every Christmas present in the world and make it home by three ? “Perhaps”, Santa wondered, “It would be better to “chuck and duck”, rather than be left with a ratio problem that always needed a second look ! Chimney stacks used to fit, years ago, when Santa never once had this problem, travelling around the world, to and fro. These days, whenever the world’s children wanted to know “Where are my presents ? What has Santa brought me ?”, they had to wait a day or so. Santa, meanwhile, was still struggling down the chimney pots, crying “Just a mo !”. Getting stuck in chimney pots meant that Santa had to play catch and throw for their gifts out in the snow. These days, it seemed, chimneys were even bigger (or was it his waistline that seemed to just grow and grow !?).

Mmmm … From up in the clouds, Santa puzzled about the problems of the world’s chimneys somewhat … why were some cold and some hot ? what a lot of bricks they’d got, yet some hurt to land on and others not ! how did they get to be so tall ? and what would he do, if he started to fall ? “Eureka !”, Santa cried, as one or two or the bricks moved, his problem was solved. The chimney was a much easier glide ! With every snowflake that dissolved, finally, the size of Santa’s stumbling block were resolved. As a snowstorm came and went, one of the bricks became loose (clearly there hadn’t been enough cement). When the television aerial actually came off, on clouds of chimney soot, he started to splutter and cough. Rudolph the reindeer wished he was home with the moose as, in another shake, another rooftile came loose ! This year’s sleigh ride was turning out to be amazingly tough. The ascents to the top of the world’s chimney pots were becoming even more rough ! Luckily, Rudolph had a cold and with each sneeze, Santa’s grip in the snow began to release, his worries soon began to ease. Since Santa could no longer keep a tight hold, down the chimney pot he rolled. After Rudolph gave Santa a shove, suddenly, Santa made a hasty descent from above ! “CRASH !”, he landed on the grotto floor, as a neatly wrapped gift flew towards the door.
The following year, Santa was determined not to have the same problem again. He was determined not to again get caught in the rain ! Initially, he considered only going down chimneys greater in size than a drain. Of course, that wouldn’t be much fun, for the children living in houses with small chimney pots … how would they get their festivities done ? Oh what a pain ! Santa enlisted the help of Tom Thumb, for the chimneys that were so small, the people thought Santa would never come. They were the days when the weather was so cold, even Rudolph’s nose became numb ! When the chimney rocked so much because of the size of Santa’s gigantic bum … and Santa was often left trapped in chimney stacks, drinking Christmas rum !

First, Santa recruited all the Christmas fairies and gave them each an important job to do. Whilst all the elves were busy hammering and glueing toys, around the chimneys of the world, with a tape measure, all magically flew. For the chimneys which were miniscule, the fairies checked the lengths with a school slide rule. For the chimneys that were too great, Santa decided to stand on a crate. For the chimneys that were too narrow, Santa said those children could pick up theirs from the sleigh tomorrow. For the chimneys that were too high, Santa asked an aeroplane to fly by. For the chimneys that had started to fall down, Santa made sure that the presents were express – flown.

Then, Rudolph, the reindeer had an idea – to call on their old friend Tom, as soon as the weather was clear. Santa paid Tom (the Piper’s son) a visit (though his bottom was still so painful that he could hardly sit !). Santa was still aching where he’d fallen into a fire still lit and his feet still hurt a bit !. Santa huffed and puffed, trying to keep up with him, though his chances of catching Tom, Tom the Piper’s son were rather slim. It was only when the apprehended put down a stolen pig rather than pull out a plum that Santa realised it wasn’t Tom Thumb. Tom Thumb was in Tom the Piper’s son’s pocket … hence the reason the pair had shot off like a rocket ! Surprised by his size, when Santa saw Tom Thumb was no bigger than a pin, he couldn’t believe his eyes ! He was no talelr than one of Santa’s mince pies ! However, for chimneys, this was

wonderful ! Santa would no longer have to push and pull. Unlike Santa (who was incredibly unfit), Tom Thumb was considerably a much better fit. Whereas Santa had had trouble reaching the top, all Tom Thumb had to do was launch off and drop. Although some of the chimneys were like jumping into a bottomless pit, now Tom Thumb could easily do it. A heavy weight was lifted from Santa’s shoulders – he felt like he’d been carrying a dozen Christmas sacks … and ten icy boulders ! Especially when Santa was wearing a full kit … (a red and white suit and the odd size twelve Wellington boot … sleigh bells, gloves and a woolly hat on top of it !).



In A Puff Of Smoke

How many of the presents would make it down the chimney ?

* Teacher’s note – draw a selection of different sized chimneys and various presents for both Santa and Tom Thumb to “chuck and duck” : a useful comparative exercise played like a school fete coconut shire game.


Thumbs Up, Tom Thumb !

Thumbs Up, Tom Thumb ! How Long Did it take Santa to come ? Calculate the length of time it took Santa to abseil down the following chimneys …

* Teacher’s note – draw a selection of different sized chimneys and various speeds for both Santa and Tom Thumb : a useful comparative exercise on height.

© Jacqueline Richards 2008


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