It was Christmas Eve, Ben’s favorite day of the entire year. He loved to help decorate the Christmas tree and watch his mom bake cookies.
“I wish more than anything to see Santa’s sleigh and reindeer,” thought Ben. This was the only thing he wanted for Christmas. Snow had begun to fall and the snowflakes looked magical as they floated to the ground.
Suddenly, Ben said, “Mandy, let’s play outside and run through the snow!”
Ben dressed in his snow pants, jacket, hat, gloves and boots.
“Where is my scarf?” Ben exclaimed. He quickly looked around the room and Mandy began to wag her tail. “Oh, Mandy!” Ben said.
Mandy was holding Ben’s scarf in her mouth. “You were trying to help me get dressed!” Ben shook his head while laughing. “Okay, we’re ready to go.” But as he prepared to leave he stopped and snapped his fingers.
“Wait! I almost forgot to bring Mae!” Mae was Ben’s stuffed toy turtle he received for his last birthday and he never went anywhere without it.
“Now we’re ready! Good-bye mom,” said Ben. “Mandy and I are going out to play in the snow.” “Good-bye, Ben, have fun!” she said.
Ben and Mandy ran out the back door and Ben tucked Mae safely inside his jacket. They raced and ran through the drifts and under the trees and branches heavy with snow. Then something on the ground caught Ben’s attention. There were hoof prints in the snow, and he followed them into the woods near his house. Suddenly, he saw a movement through the trees. Mandy started to growl. “Shhh”, he whispered. “It’s an animal, I think. You’ll scare it off!”
They came through the trees, which opened into a clearing. There, Ben saw what looked like a kind of deer he’d never before seen. It saw them, but didn’t seem to care. Ben’s eyes widened in amazement. Hesitating, he calmly asked, “Are you a reindeer?”
The animal was incredibly beautiful, with light colored fur, shiny brown eyes and the largest antlers Ben had ever seen. Finally, the animal spoke and said, “Yes, I’m a reindeer. I’m one of Santa’s special team to help drive the sleigh. I must get back to the North Pole to help deliver the rest of the presents tonight.” Ben couldn’t believe his ears. A reindeer that talked! “Why are you here?” he asked?
The reindeer said, “We started our delivery when, quite suddenly, my special harness got loose and fell to the ground. Now it’s in the snow and I can’t find it anywhere. Santa needs eight reindeer and now only has seven. Can you please help me find it so I can return to Santa’s sleigh and rejoin the other reindeer?”
“Of course we’ll help you,” said Ben, “but first, may I pet you? My only wish for Christmas was to see Santa’s sleigh and reindeer, and part of my wish came true!” Ben was really excited now!
He petted the soft fur gently and touched the antlers, too. “They feel like velvet.” Ben said. “Thank you. Now we will look for the harness and Mandy will help us.” Ben and Mandy ran through the snow, looking for any signs of the lost harness. Finally, Mandy began barking and Ben ran to see what she had found. Behind a log sat a beautiful shiny red harness. “We found it!“ shouted Ben.
The reindeer pranced towards Ben and Mandy and was excited and relieved to find his special harness. Ben asked, “Can’t you fly without it?” The reindeer replied, “Of course I can fly without it, but it has special tracking to help find all the boys and girls. Can you please help me attach my harness?” Ben glided the
harness over the reindeer’s head and secured it at the bottom. “I think it is on tightly now,” said Ben. “Thank you,” said the reindeer. “Now I must go and join the rest of Santa’ team. But first, would you like a ride?” Ben was so excited he could hardly speak! “Can I really?” he exclaimed.
“Can Mandy come, too?” “Of course Mandy can come,” said the reindeer. The reindeer bent down to help Ben and Mandy climb onto his back. “Ben, just hang on to my antlers,” said the reindeer. “Are you ready? Let’s fly!”
They immediately took flight and went high into the sky. They flew over Ben's house and school and he was filled with amazement by everything he saw. Then it was time to land and the reindeer shouted, “Hang on Ben and Mandy!” They landed very smoothly near the clearing in the forest.
Mandy got off first and was barking and wagging her tail to say thank you. Then Ben said “Thank you! This was the best Christmas present ever!” “I must go now,” said the reindeer, “It is getting late and Santa needs my help.” “It’s very nice to meet you,” said Ben. The reindeer looked at Ben and said, “You’re very polite. I’m sure you’ve been a very good boy this year, Ben. We will be back later tonight, after you’re asleep. Don’t forget cookies and milk for Santa!”
“Wait!” shouted Ben. “You know our names. What’s your name?” The reindeer was already in the air and Ben only heard him exclaim “Merry Christmas!” Ben and Mandy watched until they couldn’t see the reindeer anymore. “Let’s go home,” shouted Ben. They ran as fast as they could through the snow and when they got home they went straight into the house.
Ben and Mandy ran room to room looking for his mom and found her in the kitchen. “Mom!” exclaimed Ben. “ Mandy and I just rode on one of Santa’s reindeer!” Ben’s mom looked at him smiling and said, “I hope you both had fun!” Ben unzipped his coat and noticed something missing.
“Where’s Mae?” he asked. Ben looked around but didn’t see his favorite toy. “Oh no,” said Ben sadly. “I must have dropped Mae when we were flying with the reindeer.” Just then Ben’s dad came into the house and said, “Look what I found on the steps outside.” Ben couldn’t believe what his dad was holding. “You found Mae!” shouted Ben.
Ben was so happy he hugged his dad and said, “I know how Mae got home.” Ben’s mom and dad smiled and looked at Ben. “How did Mae get home?” they asked?” Ben smiled and replied, “The reindeer brought her home.” Holding Mae, he turned and started towards his bedroom.
Then he stopped and grinned at his mom and dad and said, “Don’t forget the milk and cookies tonight!”