From the Snowy Mountain Tops, To the Quiet Lodge Below
Everyone was relishing the view from the sides of the mountain, marveling at the dazzling snow below. The trees even glittered in the light of the sun, but the air was unrelentingly cold and cut right to the bone. Even layering their clothing hadn't helped too terribly much.
"I believe that is our cue to descend.", Jim said, leading the way. There was a collective sigh of relief from the students and the faculty and soon the students joined the others that had stayed in the lodge in some rigorous and intellectually challenging board games.
Jean-Pierre then had another announcement.
"We are going to be participating in some holiday themed games before dinner. I think then we might be having a special guest.", Jean-Pierre said, trying not to give anything away about the guest who was coming. But all of them knew it was Santa and they were eager to his visitation and the bounty that followed in his wake.
Fairly soon, the students were paired into groups and wore name tags with labels such as "Cinnamon" and "Candy Cane". Each student had to find the number that correlated with the holiday element and whoever had the most would take a Poinsettia home. The runners up got stockings stuffed with candies, noise makers and small toys such as matchbox cars.
The second game was a holiday scrabble, followed by holiday versions of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!. At the end, they all shared non-alcoholic eggnog. Suddenly, jingle bells were heard, and the children seemed to become even more luminous than before. The jocularity in the room was so grand that the building could hardly hold it. George, who had been inconspicuously dressed in a Santa cap and faux beard during the trip earlier, had donned the entire ensemble. No one could guess it was the bus driver, and he had such a merry laugh it was hard to discern if he was the "true Saint Nicholas". In all actuality, it didn't make any difference one way or the other because everyone was having such a jovial time that they were awash in the goodwill and true spirit of the season. Soon after Santa left his gifts for the children to unwrap on Christmas Day, everyone went to bed and were tucked in nice and snugly by Suzanne and Jim, who sang them to sleep with Christmas lullabies.