Rudolph called order, shouting to be heard above the discontented grumblings of his fellow reindeer. This was the inaugural meeting of Reunion, the newly formed reindeer union, and someone had already mentioned going on strike.
The reason for this talk about industrial action was Father Christmas’s recent behaviour; Nick, as he urged everyone to call him, had become an entrepreneur. Tired of having to fly around the world on Christmas Eve, delivering presents to children and eating more mince pies than were healthy for a man with his cholesterol level, Nick had decided that Father Christmas should become a franchise.
Santa plc would sell franchises to portly, white-bearded, ruddy-cheeked men with their own reindeer, provide them with presents to deliver to their town and they would earn money by doing personal appearances in department stores during December. Nick thought this was a genius idea as he would be able to stay at the North Pole drinking a lovely bottle of Shiraz instead of all that horrible sherry.
The only thing he hadn’t considered was militant reindeer. If Nick had his feet up on Christmas Eve what was going to happen to them? Either they would be made redundant and put out to pasture or they would have to be sold to another Father Christmas©. If this happened, would their current terms and conditions be honoured? Out of this uncertainty, Reunion was formed.
Rudolph, as newly elected “grotto steward”, approached Nick with a list of conditions and if he failed to meet them, the reindeer would go on strike for twenty four hours beginning at 6pm on Christmas Eve. As Nick read the list, he become more and more red in the face until Rudolph feared his head would explode.
An hour later, Nick was starting to come round to seeing things from the reindeers’ point of view. He agreed to ensure their terms and conditions were retained if they were transferred and offered a reasonable redundancy package if they were let go. The one thing they couldn’t agree on was whether the reindeer should be given double the amount of carrots they currently received as they worked the night shift on a bank holiday. Rudolph and Nick carried on arguing long into the snowy night.