'Twas the nocturnal segment of the diurnal period preceding the
annual Yuletide celebration, and throughout our place of residence,
kinetic activity was not in evidence among the possessors of this
potential, including that species of domestic rodent known as Mus
musculus. Hosiery was meticulously suspended from the forward edge
of the wood burning caloric apparatus, pursuant to our anticipatory
pleasure regarding an imminent visitation from an eccentric
philanthropist among whose folkloric appellations is the honorific
title of St. Nicholas.

The prepubescent siblings, comfortably ensconced in their
accommodations of repose, were experiencing subconscious visual
hallucinations of variegated fruit confections moving rhythmically
through their cerebrums. My conjugal partner and I, attired in our
nocturnal head coverings, were about to take slumberous advantage
of the
hibernal darkness when upon the avenaceous exterior portion of the
grounds there ascended such a cacophony of dissonance that I felt
compelled to arise with alacrity from my place of repose for the
purpose of ascertaining the precise source thereof.

Hastening to the casement, I forthwith opened the barriers sealing
this fenestration, noting thereupon that the lunar brilliance
without, reflected as it was on the surface of a recent crystalline
precipitation, might be said to rival that of the solar meridian
itself- thus permitting my incredulous optical sensory organs to
behold a miniature airborne runnered conveyance drawn by eight
diminutive specimens of the genus Rangifer, piloted by a minuscule,
aged chauffeur so ebullient and nimble that it became instantly
apparent to me that he was indeed our anticipated caller. With his
ungulate motive power travelling at what may possibly have been
more vertiginous velocity than patriotic alar predators, he
vociferated loudly, expelled breath musically through contracted
labia, and addressed each of the octet by his or her respective
cognomen - "Now Dasher, now Dancer..." et al. - guiding them to the
uppermost exterior level of our abode, through which structure I
could readily distinguish the concatenations of each of the 32
cloven pedal extremities.

As I retracted my cranium from its erstwhile location, and was
performing a 180-degree pivot, our distinguished visitant achieved 
with utmost celerity and via a downward leap - entry by way of the
smoke passage. He was clad entirely in animal pelts soiled by the
ebony residue from oxidations of carboniferous fuels which had
accumulated on the walls thereof. His resemblance to a street
vendor I attributed largely to the plethora of assorted playthings
which he bore dorsally in a commodious cloth receptacle.

His orbs were scintillant with reflected luminosity, while his
submaxillary dermal indentations gave every evidence of engaging
amiability. The capillaries of his malar regions and nasal
were engorged with blood which suffused the subcutaneous layers, the
former approximating the coloration of Albion's floral emblem, the
latter that of the Prunus avium, or sweet cherry. His amusing sub-
and supralabials resembled nothing so much as a common loop knot,
and their ambient hirsute facial adornment appeared like small,
tabular and columnar crystals of frozen water.

Clenched firmly between his incisors was a smoking piece whose grey
fumes, forming a tenuous ellipse about his occiput, were suggestive
of a decorative seasonal circlet of holly. His visage was wider
than it was high, and when he waxed audibly mirthful, his corpulent
abdominal region undulated in the manner of impectinated fruit
syrup in a hemispherical container. He was, in short, neither more
nor less than an obese, jocund, multigenarian gnome, the optical
perception of whom rendered me visibly frolicsome despite every
effort to refrain from so being. By rapidly lowering and then
elevating one eyelid and rotating his head slightly to one side, he
indicated that trepidation on my part was groundless.

Without utterance and with dispatch, he commenced filling the
aforementioned appended hosiery with various of the aforementioned
articles of merchandise extracted from his aforementioned
dorsally transported cloth receptacle. Upon completion of this
task, he executed an abrupt about- face, placed a single manual
digit in lateral juxtaposition to his olfactory organ, inclined his
cranium forward in a gesture of leave-taking, and forthwith
effected his egress by renegotiating (in reverse) the smoke
passage. He then propelled himself in a short vector onto his
conveyance, directed a musical expulsion of air through his
contracted oral sphincter to the antlered quadrupeds of
burden, and proceeded to soar aloft in a movement hitherto
chiefly among the seed-bearing portions of a common weed. But I
overheard his parting exclamation, audible immediately prior to his
vehiculation beyond the limits of visibility: "Ecstatic Yuletide to
the planetary constituency, and to that self same assemblage, my
sincerest wishes for a salubriously beneficial and gratifyingly
pleasurable period between sunset and dawn."

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