It was the Sunday before Christmas and I had promised to take Emily, my best friend’s daughter, to see Santa at the local shopping centre. However, there had been a road accident and the traffic was chaotic. We finally got to the car park at 3.45, knowing everything closed at 4.00 pm.

We flew through the mall eventually getting to the grotto with just 5 minutes to spare.

“Sorry, we are just closing,” the elf on the door said. “Come back tomorrow.”

“I can’t because I am working, and Emily has been looking forward to meeting Santa, haven’t you dear?  Oh please, pretty please,” I begged in a child-like way for Emily’s benefit.

“I’m sorry, you are too late,” she repeated grumpily.

Emily began to cry, but then a kindly voice from within the grotto said, “Ho, ho, ho. I have been waiting for you to come and see me. Please do come through and give Santa a hug.”

Emily’s face was a picture of happiness, unlike the elf who felt her domain had been breached and was now very grumpy indeed. We strode past her and Emily jumped on Santa’s knee and gave him a big hug. She was loving the special attention.

“I see you are on my ‘good list’, so I will be visiting you at home in a few special days’ time. Tell me, Emily, what would you like for Christmas my dear? Something special?” Santa asked kindly.

Poor Emily froze, not knowing what to say.

“I think she would like a new doll, a skipping rope and a computer game, Santa,” I piped up to save her blushes.

“That sounds splendid. I will see what I can do for you. However, Christmas is still a few days away, but as you have been so good, here is a little something to be going on with, Emily,” said Santa, passing her a small wrapped gift.

“What do you say, Emily?” I said to her.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you, Santa!” She hugged him again and jumped down. We started to leave the grotto but there was a small area to draw a picture, which Emily quickly did. Behind us, we heard voices, slightly raised. Emily tugged my hand.

“Jo, I have remembered what I wanted from Santa this year. Can we go back and tell him? Please, please!” she pleaded.

The raised voices continued for a few seconds, then with a small ‘ooff’ sound they stopped and we hurried back into the heart of the grotto, not prepared for what we saw. Santa was on his seat and the elf was kicking and struggling over his knee.

“You are a very, very bad elf! You should never ever speak to a child that has come to see me like that ever, ever again. That puts you straight onto the naughty list. And you know what happens if an elf gets on my naughty list at Christmas, don’t you? They get no presents but instead get their bottoms spanked good and hard. With that, his glove removed, Santa’s hand came smacking down on the elf’s bottom, which was hidden by her short green felt dress. He spanked her a dozen or more times before briefly stopping and pulling the dress up and continuing to spank her on the seat of her red and green striped tights, which were stretched very snugly across her bottom. The elf struggled and kicked, but Santa continued to spank the poor elf’s bottom for all he was worth. The elf was soon in tears and lay sobbing and otherwise motionless over Santa’s knee. Next, her tights came down and he continued the spanking over her red panties, which seemed to match the colour of her bottom from where I was crouching. Emily tugged my hand and pulled me back out towards the grotto exit.

“I think we had better leave Santa to finish spanking that naughty elf, Jo. I can tell Santa in a letter what it was I really wanted,” she said innocently.

Behind us, we could hear the occasional ouch and yelp as the sound of Santa’s spanking of the elf faded into the distance and I couldn’t but wonder was this the only elf to suffer over Santa’s lap that year.