Little Tommy and his mum queued, for what felt like ages, at the shopping centre so he could meet Santa Claus. He was sure he had been a good boy all year, and therefore had anticipated that Santa would give him a present. He’d practiced what he’d say to Santa every day for the last week as he didn’t want to risk ruining this one chance meeting he’d have with him. 

Finally the time had come and Little Tommy was next in line. He could hear the whispers of elves and the jingling of bells from their furry hats. Suddenly Mr Head Elf (he must have been Head Elf as he wore the biggest hat) held out his hand to Little Tommy and led him into the dark doorway and through to the warm glowing room that was Santa’s Grotto. There was a big Christmas tree surrounded by sparkly presents, lights filled the room from floor to ceiling and right in the middle, there he was, the big man himself, Santa Claus. 

“Ho, ho, ho!” Santa Claus exclaimed “and who do we have here?”

Mr Head Elf leapt in, “this is Tommy Stansby, Santa Claus. Mummy Stansby tells us that he is a huge fan of yours.”
“Well I always have time for Tommy Stansby! I checked my list and it looks like you’ve been a very good boy this year. We must reward you with a present, why don’t you come up here and tell me what you would like?” Mummy Stansby stood to the side getting ready to record the memorable interaction.

Santa Claus leant forward and lifted Little Tommy with his big strong hands, into his lap. Mouth wide open in awe, Little Tommy was having the time of his life. 

“So Tommy, what would you like for Christmas this year?”
“Well Santa”, Little Tommy was struggling to breathe a little, but he stammered “for Christmas could you transform me into an animal please?”
“Well that’s a new one Tommy! Are you sure you don’t want a new remote control car instead?”
“No, I’d really like to be turned into a lion.”
“Ah, well you see the problem with that Tommy is that you’ll be hunted.”
“What do you mean hunted?”
“Some people think it’s fun to hunt and kill lions, so you don’t want to be a lion, do you? Instead maybe you would like a fire truck?”
“Well that’s not very nice, but can I be an eagle instead then? I’ll get to fly everywhere and i could even stop the people hunting lions!”
“Well again Tommy, eagles are a dying species because they are hunted too, I don’t think you’d like to be hunted… So now you’d like the fire truck?”
“Hmm OK, well how about a dolphin? They are super smart!”
“Dolphins get locked up in places like SeaWorld so it’s no fun for them. If you don’t like the idea of the fire truck, then how about a new games console?”
“What about a horse? They run soooo fast!”
“Horses are normally kept in stables and made to race with humans on their back, personally i wouldn’t be a horse.”
“You make a good point Mr Santa Claus. A rabbit?”
“Fur farming.”
“Crocodile?”
“Killed for their skin.”
“Dog?”
“You’ll end up in a dog shelter.”
“Badger?”
“Culled because of TB.”
“Deer?”
“You’ll get shot.”
“Camel?”
“The tourist industry will use you and abuse you.”
“Elephant?”
“You’ll get killed for your tusks.”
“Rhino?”
“You’ll get killed for your horn.”
“Monkey?”
“You’ll be experimented on.”
“Parrot?”
“You’ll be locked in a cage.”
“Gosh, I don’t think I want to be an animal any more. No wait… What about a pig? Everybody LOVES pigs!”
“We eat pork.” 

There was silence. 

“Huh? What do you mean we eat pork? What has that got to do with pigs?”
“Er…” Santa looked over pleadingly to Little Tommy’s mum, nervously not knowing what to say. “Well you see, pork is the word we use to describe food made out of pigs.”
“But why would anyone eat a pig? Pigs are cute.”
“Well it’s very tasty, especially bacon.”
“…I had bacon yesterday.”

Little Tommy’s little face began to redden as he fought off the tears. Fearing a crying child was about to explode on his lap… 

“No wait! Maybe you ate that fake bacon? The bacon made from plants where the pigs don’t get hurt.” Desperately trying to change the conversation, “how about that firetruck for Christmas, would you like that now?”
“I want to be a pig, thank you Mr Santa Claus.” 

Little Tommy slid off of Santa’s lap, handed a candy cane by Mr Head Elf and walked slowly through the exit and back out into the shopping centre, holding Mummy’s hand.  

“Mummy, did we eat the fake bacon yesterday?”
“I’m not sure darling, I’ll have to check with Daddy.”
“But I don’t want to eat pork anymore.”
“OK hun, we’ll sort something out.”
“Mummy… what other animals do we eat?”

Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas 💚