This is the story of Santa’s many sleighs,
Some will surprise and others will amaze.
But for fifty years each sleigh should last,
So they’re built to be strong and designed to go fast.
Yet not every sleigh has been that easy to master,
In fact most have been a complete disaster!
Each day you can read about a different one,
And with a bit of luck you might have some fun!
The First Sleigh…
The first one was basically just cobbled together,
And was completely useless in all kinds of weather.
Santa and Rudy built it themselves,
Without any help at all from the elves.
It was mostly fashioned from old wooden crates,
With the sides constructed from the warehouse gates!
These were fixed on with glue and string,
Which made that sleigh a rickety old thing!
Santa then varnished and polished the wood,
And when he had finished it looked pretty good.
After that, he and Rudy tied on the skis,
But it was a bit slapdash and showed no expertise.
The reindeer harnesses were pinned on with nails,
All hammered into the safety rails.
The seat was just an old wooden bench,
The top, English oak, the legs something French!
To protect Santa’s bottom, the bench had to be padded,
But with a bottom so large more cushions were added!
Even so, it was still an uncomfortable seat,
Yet with the padding now done their work was complete.
Sadly, the sleigh was a nightmare to fly,
It was made from old junk so that’s probably why.
Thankfully it would only get used once a year,
But that still didn’t give Santa or Rudy much cheer!
At last, after fifty hair-raising flights,
And for flying quite badly on those Christmas Eve nights,
The sleigh finally failed its safety test,
So, to build a new one was thought to be best!
The Second Sleigh…
The next sleigh made was number two,
Strongly made from wood through and through.
There were no bits tied on with lengths of string,
And nothing at all that would weaken the thing!
This one was styled in walnut and teak,
A beautiful sleigh, both sturdy and sleek.
The finest craftsmen in the land,
All worked very hard to make it look grand.
The skis and rails were both made from pine,
And even the reindeers thought it looked fine!
To finish it off it was polished and waxed,
Then, to make it legal, it was roof and air taxed.
The sleigh looked like some valuable antique,
It may not have been old but it was certainly unique!
Santa named it the ‘Clausmobile’,
As he jumped in behind the steering wheel.
Rudy climbed into the passenger seat,
Made from plush leather – it looked a real treat.
The sleigh was heavy and a struggle to fly,
But all the reindeers gave it a try.
It flew through the air like a giant chest of drawers,
Or like a wardrobe – without the doors!
It landed on rooftops with almighty clatter,
Making children wonder what on earth was the matter!
But, at last, the sleigh’s time was done,
It had made fifty flights but they’d hardly been fun.
The sleigh’s now for sale in an antique shop,
It’s quality and style you just could not top.
The Third Sleigh…
For the third, Santa went for an industrial feel,
Commissioning a sleigh to be made out of steel.
It was put together in great big sheets,
The elves pounding the rivets in rhythmic beats.
The sleigh was properly forged and sealed,
With every elf wearing a protective eye-shield.
Working close to the furnace was incredibly hot,
Especially when welding a difficult spot.
The sleigh was enormous – like a big silver box,
To pull it a reindeer needed the strength of an ox!
With the additional weight of Santa’s toy sack,
The sleigh could not help but drag at the back.
It was delivered to the hangar on a great big truck,
But to get it airborne would need some luck.
The reindeers all started pumping weights,
To make themselves stronger for their Christmas Eve dates.
They soon got themselves all physically fit,
And, to be honest, that really did help a bit.
They managed to tow the sleigh into the sky
But not without one almighty try.
The sleigh was too heavy to land on roofs –
As making it stop wore down the reindeers hoofs.
So Santa jumped into chimneys with the sleigh still in flight,
Whilst gripping a rope incredibly tight.
Many times, in those years, Santa was left stranded,
Until Rudy could get the sleigh safely landed.
The sleigh met its end on its final flight,
It sank through the ice – well it never was light!
The Fourth Sleigh…
This time Santa had learnt his lesson,
With heavy materials there would be no messin’,
Now he wanted something more speedy and light,
Something to cruise through a Christmas Eve night.
Aluminium was the material he finally chose,
A metal, yes, but one that just flows.
It’s pliable and thin and simple to bend,
And any little dents are easy to mend.
Santa set out his plans and met with the elves,
With the ease of design they were beside themselves.
They knocked up the sleigh in no time at all,
It was plain and simple and really quite small.
The sleigh fared quite well when it was duly air trialled,
Its performance and speed were all noted and filed,
It was swift and sleek and had less weight,
And Santa said the whole thing looked really great!
The reindeers thought it would be so easy to pull,
Even when Santa’s toy sack was full!
Rudy, however, thought it a little bit plain
Although he knew it would not do to complain.
The first time out the sleigh got blown off course,
And its handling in high winds was hard to endorse.
To make it more stable they stacked bricks in the back,
But they got in the way of Santa’s toy sack.
They just couldn’t make the thing fly straight in the wind,
So the plans for another just had to be binned.
When the sleigh was retired it was all dented and banged –
Well in fifty flights it was bound to get pranged!
The Fifth Sleigh…
By now Santa had just about had enough,
With metal and wood he was sick of the stuff!
This time he thought he would do it with class,
So he sculpted the fifth sleigh completely from glass!
Now Santa is not as dumb as he looks,
And he’d searched through all of his reference books.
He discovered toughened glass could be really quite strong,
But for fifty years – would it last that long?
On expert advice he had a sleigh made,
Using the strongest glass of the highest grade.
It took quite a while but at last it was done,
And that shiny glass sleigh looked really fun!
But at night the sleigh was completely see-through,
Making the thing nearly impossible to view.
So Santa had to be careful where to park,
Because the sleigh could be easily lost in the dark!
The reindeers thought it all a bit kooky,
As an invisible sleigh seemed terribly spooky!
They did not like the feeling one little bit,
And several of them even threatened to quit!
Santa managed to calm them all down,
By painting the sleigh a nice golden brown.
Rudy thought of something more festive instead,
So they got rid of the brown and painted it red!
The sleigh got chipped over fifty hard winters,
And, every year, Santa got a few glass splinters.
In the end the sleigh started to crack,
And on its last flight out they only just made it back!
The Sixth Sleigh…
The sixth sleigh was powered solely by steam,
A new innovation for all of the team.
Instead of the reindeers pulling from the front in a pack,
They’d be stoking the fire and shovelling coal at the back!
The sleigh used a system of pistons and gears,
Designed to pump, pull and push for fifty long years.
There were pulleys and levers and all kinds of gauges,
That would keep the sleigh going for ages and ages!
A great big fire kept the boiler piping hot,
The fire used coal – in fact, a whole lot!
It was hot, sweaty work for the reindeers to do,
And none of them liked being on the coal shovelling crew!
The elves kept the engine all covered in grease,
‘Cos anything sticking would cause it to cease.
The sleigh had iron wings that you just could not miss,
Each one letting off steam with an almighty hiss!
All of its parts leaked water and oil,
And numerous suits it caused Santa to spoil.
He got stains on his trousers and all down his shirt,
He never thought a steam engine would make so much dirt!
On Christmas Eve nights the sleigh chugged into the sky,
Flying over the world so way up high.
Santa and Rudy would check all the dials,
Recording coal usage and noting the miles.
But eventually, to change the sleigh became a must,
As all the water and steam had caused it to rust!
After fifty years it was starting to look old,
And in a second-hand sleigh store, it was finally sold!
The Seventh Sleigh…
The seventh sleigh was something completely new,
One that gave the reindeers very little to do.
Santa thought they had all earned a good rest,
So to use a robotic sleigh he thought would be best.
He and Rudy would still deliver presents of course,
But the sleigh would be guided by a remote control source.
This was something that the reindeers could control,
From the warmth of their stables back at the Pole.
The sleigh included a complete guidance system,
And photos of the reindeers so Santa wouldn’t miss them!
A huge radio antennae stuck out of the back,
But flying by remote control took some knack!
The reindeers each gave the joystick a try,
But the sleigh soon proved a bit tricky to fly.
They crashed it into many a tree,
And one or two chimneys – possibly three!
At last they got the hang of the thing,
And around the world the sleigh they would fling.
They’d make it loop the loop and do daredevil feats,
Luckily Santa and Rudy were strapped into their seats!
The reindeers began arguing over the controls,
They all wanted to perform new stunts and rolls.
So Santa gave the elves control of the joystick,
As the reindeers tricks were making him feel sick.
Sadly the elves weren’t really up to the job,
One broke off the aerial, another snapped off a knob.
At last the sleigh had to be replaced,
Both reindeers and elves feeling a little disgraced!
The Eighth Sleigh…
For Santa’s next brainwave he really excelled,
He was going to build a sleigh that was rocket propelled!
It would launch from a ramp somewhere in Lapland,
An idea the elves thought incredibly grand.
The ramp was enormous and rose up into the sky,
It must have been over a thousand feet high.
The rocket on the sleigh was the size of a truck,
To control all that power Santa would need some luck.
He and Rudy had to wear flame proof suits,
Along with goggles, helmets and emergency chutes.
The reindeers also had to wear special kit,
Because the heat from the rocket could burn quite a bit.
Each reindeer also had to go on a course,
To help them cope with the effects of G-Force.
Because flying at such speed would not be easy,
As it could make them feel dizzy and a little bit queasy!
The course also involved zero gravity training,
But they agreed to it all without complaining.
There was no test they weren’t willing to face,
For the chance of flying that rocket sleigh into space.
The sleigh blasted off in a huge cloud of smoke,
The elves all laughed but it was really no joke!
Up it went, passed the Moon and the stars,
If they hadn’t turned round they’d have landed on Mars!
They delivered presents at the speed of light,
Blasting along through the Christmas Eve night,
But travelling that fast was incredibly hard,
So after fifty flights, the sleigh was finally retired.
The Ninth Sleigh…
This ninth sleigh was just a skeleton version,
Stripped down to the bones for the seasonal excursion.
Santa wanted something with no fancy stuff,
Although this one really did not have enough!
In a concept that seemed just a little bit random,
Santa and Rudy would ride the sleigh completely in tandem.
They would have to pedal like crazy to get the thing started,
Which was all very well unless one of them farted!
The engine was borrowed from Rudy’s moped,
Which did not have enough power to drive a sled.
It took ages to get the thing into the sky,
The motor wheezing and straining as it gave it a try!
It was fine going downhill and could build up some speed,
But when taking off from a roof it did not succeed.
The reindeers felt embarrassed dragging the thing,
Nothing worked properly – even the bells did not ring.
It rattled and groaned and wobbled in flight,
Drifting through the air like a Christmas kite.
That skeleton sleigh caused so much strife,
As Santa and Rudy clung on for dear life!
So stripped down, the sleigh was terribly cold,
And the freezing night air made Santa feel old.
Rudy, too, felt the draught through his coat,
And on several occasions he got a sore throat!
When the sleigh was finally put out for scrap,
The reindeers and elves could not help but clap.
Santa and Rudy were pleased to see it go,
As on top of everything else, it was useless in snow!
The Tenth Sleigh…
In a decision that Rudy thought really quite drastic,
Santa’s tenth sleigh was going to be made out of plastic!
The sleigh would be formed in one giant mould,
A move that the reindeers thought impressively bold.
The plastic used was shiny and red,
And to give it some weight they mixed in pieces of lead.
The mixture was poured into the moulds hot and runny,
It was really sticky and smelled quite funny!
The sleigh in the mould was then left to cool,
Before being prized out with a specially made tool.
It was then buffed and polished and made to look smart,
And when it was finished it looked the part.
A solid piece of plastic, all red and gleaming,
When Santa first saw it he thought he was dreaming.
The sleigh was so sleek and really streamlined,
With every curve so beautifully defined.
Everyone looked at the sleigh with awe,
All trying to ignore the obvious flaw.
They would have to be careful, everyone knew,
As if it got too hot it would turn into goo!
The sleigh flew through the air leaving no slipstream,
The best one yet, or so it would seem.
It was light and fast and cornered so well,
Santa just loved it, Rudy could tell.
However tragedy struck on its fateful last flight,
As somehow they had left their timings too tight.
They found themselves facing the hot morning sun,
The sleigh began melting and by home, it was done!
The Eleventh Sleigh…
The eleventh sleigh was a suped-up hot rod,
Some people might think that a little bit odd.
It had flames down the sides and four tail pipes,
The only things missing were some ‘go-faster’ stripes!
It had shiny bumpers and skis made from chrome,
With the engine displayed under a little glass dome.
It came with a sound system that pumped out rap,
And a clever device to detect a speed trap.
The engine ticked over in with a deep, throaty purr.
Whilst the dashboard was covered in neon pink fur,
And on the rear view mirror, against Rudy’s best advice,
Santa hung a pair of cheap furry dice!
The elves did not think much to this new suped-up sleigh,
As all the exhausts got in their way!
There was very little room for Santa’s toy sack,
Because of too many pipes coming out of the back!
The engine, when revved, hurt the reindeers ears,
It’s big booming sound reduced some of them to tears!
To help with this, Santa gave ear plugs to them all,
But they were easy to lose and really quite small.
On a rooftop, the engine’s sound was so loud,
That it would, quite often, attract a crowd!
This went against Santa’s strict Christmas code,
After all, a sleigh should not be seen from the road.
Being watched by children was simply not right,
When delivering presents on Christmas Eve night,
So Santa made a decision that might seem tragic,
But the sleigh had to go as it was spoiling the magic!
The Twelfth Sleigh…
Santa’s twelfth sleigh is the best of the lot,
It has all of the good things the others had got.
But has none of the faults of the previous eleven,
And as sleighs go, it’s simply just heaven,
Its lines are smooth with no chance of drag,
And there’s plenty of room for Santa’s toy bag.
There’s space for Rudy in the co-pilot’s seat,
And a fridge stuffed with food for them both to eat!
It’s painted a shade of seasonal yellow,
And Santa, when flying it, looks a real jolly fellow.
It has an onboard computer and a Christmas route-finder,
And a lovely smooth ride that could not be kinder.
The skis are red, the rockets are chrome,
And there’s never a problem getting all the way home.
It flies so fast, all through the night,
Up on the rooftops it’s a wonderful sight!
It has a diving platform sticking out at the back,
For Santa to jump down into a chimney stack,
And a fresh set of clothes stored in the boot,
So if he gets covered in soot he can change his suit.
The sleigh has a turbo to make it go faster,
But flying that fast is a fine art to master!
In fact, Santa’s the only one who can fly the thing,
Because when it comes to sleighs he’s really the king!
This is the greatest sleigh Santa’s ever had,
To use it at Christmas makes him really so glad.
It gets serviced every year by his North Pole team,
And to this day it still flies like a dream!