Noel glanced upon the red hash marks crossing off the days of the calendar. Today was December 23rd, and Santa's elves still had many more toys to make for good little boys and girls. The girl elf sighed and tucked a strand of blond hair behind her ear before she continued to sew the dress upon another Barbie doll. Her small fingers ached with each pass of the needle, and she resisted the urge to rub her eyes.
Joy danced over and plopped onto the bench. "Come on, Noel. Let's go see what Ralph's doing."
Ralph was Joy's newest love, and Noel couldn't help but roll her eyes. "I can't, Joy. I have more work than I can handle here, and we have less than twenty-four hours to get all these toys finished and on Santa's sleigh."
"All you do is work. We're elves. We always get it done." She tugged on her friend's arm. "Come on, Noel. I can't go over by myself."
Noel glanced over longingly toward the table where Ralph and his buddies were. She missed their carefree nights of fun over hot chocolate and marshmallows. December 26th was the happiest time of the year for Santa's elves, but come January 1st, the list started over again as well as the presents. This year was particularly difficult. So many children wouldn't have a happy Christmas without these toys, especially with the crummy economy. "I really can't, Joy, unless you want to help me finish all this work."
The other elf shot off the seat. "You're just no fun. Besides, no one sews better than you."
It was the truth. Noel stitched and sewed all the toys and their clothes. She often mended the elves' clothes as well. Then, there were the few times she fixed Santa's red outfit. It was the highlight of her elf career to be so valued. It made her tasks even more difficult. "If there were more of me, then I'd be able to have some fun. It'll have to wait until after Christmas, though."
A mischievous gleam glistened in Joy's blue eyes. "Do you know where Santa keeps his magic?"
"Yes, I do." She'd been in the big man's house several times. She knew the small clay jar that held Santa's magic powder. The glistening dust made the reindeer fly, Santa shrink small enough to fit into the tiniest of places, and multiplied Santa, so he could get the job done in one night. It was his greatest secret, and it dawned upon Noel what her friend was thinking. "Oh, no, we can't, Joy. We can't!"
"Yes, we can." Joy giggled, grabbed Noel's arm and yanked her off the bench. "We're going to make more of you, Noel. You'll see. It'll be great."