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On the night of 24th December, Christmas Eve, the residents of Bauble Avenue were woken up by the cries of help coming from the chimney of number 12. Every child and parent stepped out into the street to see what the noise was, and each of them stared up in horror at the scene; Santa Claus had gotten stuck in the chimney. His feet swung about in the air as he tried to free himself yet he failed to get himself out. Some of the local residents found the tallest ladder they owned and attempted to climb up to the chimney to pull him out, unfortunately the ladder was not tall enough to reach the roof. It is believed that Santa put on weight over the past year. As it was found that more and more people have been leaving mince pies out on the Eve of the celebration, and that Santa does not have enough time in the year between making presents and looking after his reindeer to work off all the sugary treats he consumes that night.

What perhaps upset the residents most was Santa's cries; "You boys and girls won't get any toys if you don't pull me out." after which Father Christmas began to sneeze. Mothers began to take their distraught children inside to keep them away from the scene, or tried to comfort them and to dry their tears at what Santa had just said. "It's just awful. It was such a quiet night, not even our pet mice were stirring," One mother reported, "Santa got stuck in that chimney by himself, and the poor children should not have to suffer because of it." However, some mothers were sympathetic towards the well-known figure and assured their children that they would still receive their presents for Christmas Day.

"We need to help him out, not to stand here and debate over his words," Mother of two told us, "It's not about the presents. It's about working as a community and doing something to make the world a better place."

The fire fighters arrived about twenty minutes after the residents discovered that Santa was stuck in the chimney, and they were able to pull him out safely, however it required three of them to pull him out. Once Santa had been rescued, he was brought down into the garden and given a glass of whiskey to calm him down. "It was scary, in there," Santa Claus told us once he had finished his drink, "I couldn't see anything in there, even my beard was black. My nose was tickling too." He even showed us the inside of his sack, which was full of presents but the wrapping on them was covered in the black soot. Mothers and fathers were pleased Santa had been pulled out, and few were even heard asking if they were on the 'good child' list. "Well, it's still a bit of fun to get your presents," One father told us after just asking Santa himself, "I never grew out of it. And whether I'm on the list or not? Well, he tried to look for my name, but the list is covered in soot as well, so my wife's trying to brush the soot off now."

The children were coming back out of their homes once more now that their hero had been rescued and took turns to sit on his knee to tell him what they had hoped for before he gave them their presents. "I'm happy Santa's free," one nine-year old girl told us, "I was scared when he said we'd get no presents, but Santa's a good guy really."

"I didn't even expect a present," One happy boy told us as he showed his present off to his parents, "Mummy would always tell me I'd be on the naughty list if i didn't keep my room tidy. I did keep my room tidy, but I was always worried that it wasn't tidy enough for Santa."

Once Santa had fully recovered, the fire fighters helped him back onto the roof where he reindeer were. He left the avenue's presents with the family members on the ground, not wanting to risk getting stuck in one of their chimneys again, and he called out to his reindeer to fly on to the next place to deposit the presents. The children chanted the reindeers' names as they waved him a good night and a Merry Christmas. "It's the first time I've ever had to help Santa out," One eager fire fighter laughed once he was back on the ground, "It was a night to remember. I hope he remembers me next year!"

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This article was published on 2010/12/11