Reindeer Training Academy

Every year nine children from across the world are selected to help train the next generation of Santa’s reindeers but some reindeers don’t want to listen.

Everyone knows the story of the magical reindeers that help Santa fly his sleigh around the world on Christmas Eve. What many don’t know is that every year, a group of reindeers are selected from across the arctic to be official santa reindeer trainees. Once these reindeers are 2 years old, they are sent to a reindeer training school located in the North Pole.

In this training school, the reindeers are taught how to fly, land on buildings quietly, enjoy eating carrots, and even how to use magic dust. However, they are not alone in this process. Every year, 9 children across the world are chosen to be reindeer trainers. Any child from across the globe can apply to be a part of the reindeer trainee program, by completing the application at reindeertrainer.com.

Jane, aged 7 has been wanting to be a part of the program ever since she first heard about it. On December 1st, Jane filled out her application form with the help of her mother, you have until January 1st to complete your application but Jane was so excited she signed up as soon as the website opened. Every year 100 million children apply to be reindeer trainers, Jane has applied for the last 3 years (you have to be over 4 years old to apply) and hoped to be successful.

Each month Jane’s mother would get emailed to see if Jane had moved to the next round. Jane received an email each month until September 6th, the day children all over the world have been waiting for all year! First thing in the morning, Jane wakes up and immediately runs to her door to check the post even though the postman does not deliver until around lunch time. Every winner receives a letter with instructions about the Reindeer Trainee Program.

As Jane sits by the door waiting, around 11:30am she hears feet walking up the gravel path to her home and the letter box open. A collection of letters land on the door mat, Jane feels a sensation inside, through the bills and leaflets she sees a gold glow. Jane frantically opens the special gold glowing letter, pulling out the sparkly red and green striped paper from the envelope. Her eyes rush over the entire letter within seconds, and she gasps as she reads the words:

Congratulations, Jane

You have been chosen as one of the nine children in the entire world to join the Reindeer Training Program. We hope you are ready to help train some reindeer. Instructions for training your reindeer are attached.

Signed,

Santa and Blinky (Chief reindeer trainer)

She holds the letter close to her chest and does a small celebration dance. Her mom and dad rush down the stairs to see what the noise all is about. When they get down the stairs, they see their daughter happily dancing in front of the door. “I can’t believe it” She says as she runs up to them and gives them a giant hug. “Congratulations” They say to her as they hug her back.

Jane reads and reads her instructions every day of September, and it is now October 1st. At the crack of dawn, Jane hears a knock on the door. When she opens it, she is amazed, she sees a small reindeer with an envelope in its mouth. The letter inside the envelope holds instructions on who the reindeer is and where to start, as well as a diary for Jane to record Comet’s progress during the training program.

Jane reads the letter aloud excitedly:

Dear Jane,

Welcome to the reindeer trainer program, you along with 8 other children across the world have been selected as trainers for this year's reindeer trainees. Attached to this letter is a diary that we require you to write.  Please log each day of training you complete with your reindeer. Your reindeer for training is Comet, the only bit of advice I will give you is that Comet isn’t that fond of listening.

Good luck,

Yours sincerely,

Blinky, Chief Reindeer Trainer.

Jane was overjoyed and brought Comet into the house, Jane’s dad wondered where Comet would live for this week of training. He built a small barn in the garden and filled it with hay. Jane was eager to start the training and was raiding the fridge for carrots to feed Comet. “Let’s start training tomorrow Jane.” her dad said. Jane read Comet a story as she rested in the garden barn before heading upstairs to bed.

Day 1 - Carrot Eating, Your reindeer, Comet needs to learn how to eat carrots so he can have all the yummy carrots on Christmas Eve!

Jane does everything the instructions say on how to get your reindeer to like carrots, but none of them work. She cuts them into nice shapes, chops, shreds, slices, dices, boils, steams, roasts and even frys. But it is no good, Comet is such a picky eater. The only way Jane can get Comet to eat the carrots is to hide them in other food but that isn’t going to work on Christmas Eve.

Day 2 - Flying Lessons. All of Santa's reindeers need to fly so they can help Santa deliver presents around the world.

Jane has the brilliant idea of taking Comet to the local airport so he can see how planes fly, and maybe that will teach him how to fly himself. Together they fly paper airplanes, kites, and even play with a toy hot air balloon but Comet is scared of heights and instead of zooming off into the sky he just pretends he is an airplane and makes airplane noises whilst walking around the field.

Day 3 - Learn The Map, as Santa delivers presents across the globe, all reindeers must be able to identify the countries in the world.

Jane tries to teach Comet the countries, she builds Big Ben with lego for England, uses a stuffed toy of a kangaroo for Australia  but Comet isn’t interested one bit.

Day 4 - Staying Quiet, so not to disturb the children of the world sleeping, Santa’s reindeers have to be very stealth when landing Santa’s sleigh.

Jane sets up an obstacle course with bells, tin cans and even a whoopie cushion and shows Comet how to carefully walk, roll and duck under all the obstacles. But instead, Comet prances around and enjoys the sounds the bells make so he ends up turning the course into a game and playing the jingle bells, with some farting sounds from the whoopie cushion.

Day 5 - Trust, flying as a part of Santa’s crew requires great teamwork and trust with the other reindeers when flying.

Since there are eight other reindeer that Comet will be flying with, he has to learn to trust the other reindeer. Jane teaches Comet the trust fall game, but forgets Comet is a reindeer and a lot heavier than her. Jane wakes up the next day with a few bumps and bruises.

It’s day 6 and Comet’s training week is almost over, and Jane is very upset that none of her training is going as planned and feels that she is letting the reindeer training academy down. Instead of helping Comet with her training today Jane sits on the floor and cries. Comet feels bad for being stubborn and for not training well, Comet decides to change his ways and gives Jane a nuzzle and promises that he will work really hard and practice what he has learned so far. They work together through the day and night.

Jane wakes up after a few hours of sleep to find Comet eating raw carrots, flying from house to house, landing gracefully and quietly, and wearing reading glasses! Jane giggles as she realises that’s why he couldn’t read the map locations. Jane is so proud of Comet for making the effort to be a better reindeer and for learning all she has taught him.

The next day, it’s time to say goodbye to her reindeer friend. Even though they had a rough week together, Jane had so much fun! She hugs Comet goodbye and wishes him well for the Christmas season.

Not too long after, Jane receives her reindeer academy medal, engraved with the words “Reindeer Trainer”. Jane wears her medal every day for years to come.

Five years later and late on Christmas Eve, there is a knock at the door. It is Comet, who has become an official Santa reindeer and wanted to make his first stop at Jane's house. Together they give each other warm hugs, and for a few minutes pretend to be airplanes flying around the garden before Comet has to fly off and start helping Santa deliver all the presents. Every year no matter where Jane lives on Christmas Eve there is a knock on the door and there is Comet ready to see his friend and trainer Jane.

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