After Rudolph's red nose led the way, Santa Claus and all his elves were very happy! They finally figured out the system that would make them super efficient and would make all the little children around the world very happy. Every delivery was made on time, and every present unwrapped the next morning surrounded by smiles.
Every year went by so smoothly, until one day, Santa noticed something was different. Kids had stopped asking for the more traditional toys — no more train sets or soft dolls. No, kids were asking for Furbies and iTunes gift cards. Video games became more popular than model airplane kits. Cell phones? iPods?
Santa didn't know anything about those gifts. His elves were trained in, like, woodworking skills and painting tiny toys. How could they compete with gadgets made in giant factories? People would rather make an Amazon wishlist than let Santa know directly what they'd want for Christmas. Where's the fun in that? Why create a middleman? Santa didn't get it.
"Well," thought Santa, "if technology is what the kids want, then technology is what I'll have to give them."
The way he saw it, there are 364 days of the year where he was free to search the world from top to bottom, side to side, for the perfect helper.
He wanted to find someone who understood the kids these days. It'd have to be someone who wanted to spread joy to everyone, just like Santa's mission, and who could do it with a smile, just like the elves in the North Pole.
Deep in the forest, all tucked away for a nap, lived a lovely red panda neighborhood. There was a mayor, a constable, and even little shops filled with Christmas cakes and small trinkets for every holiday gift imaginable.
Each red panda had a job and contributed to the quaint little town. Except for one.
Darth was the baker's son, but he could never quite pick up the skill. He spilled flour nearly every time he tried to help in the kitchen, and don't even ask him to crack an egg. Messes seemed to follow him everywhere.
His parents understood he was different than the rest of them, and they weren't disappointed in their son. They did wish, though, that he could do something that made him happy. Nearly every job in the town was passed along from generation to generation — where did that leave room for a little red panda trying to find his path in life?
Everyone in the town loved Darth, for sure. He always gave the best presents! He could take two totally unrelated items and turn them into something new and exciting. A gift from Darth was a true treasure.
He just never quite fit in, was all. He was teased when he was younger — a lot of snowballs were thrown his way. But as he and his peers grew a little older, they saw that he was just unique and that wasn't something to make fun of at all.
As the holiday season grew closer, the town bundled together their Christmas lists. They always sent their letters all together in one large parcel to make the holiday demand a little less crazy for Santa.
Santa was getting frustrated. Well, as frustrated as the jolliest person on Earth could get. He didn't seem to be making any progress in his search.
"Dear, you should take a break," said Mrs. Claus. "Maybe read through some of the letters that just came in. That always cheers you up!"
He grumbled, but Santa made his way to the mailroom.
The parcel from the red panda neighborhood was just delivered that day, so he untied the ribbon to see what's what.
Many of these letters included little notes in Darth's honor — that the unique gifts Darth made were so special to the town that some of their wishes were for Darth to find a path in life that suited his great abilities.
Straight away, Santa rushed off. He must pack for a trip to go see this Darth in person. Could this be the helper he'd been searching for?
Meeting Darth was everything Santa could have hoped for in a helper. They talked and chatted for hours that day; Darth told him he often snuck into the nearby human library. This meant he knew everything about technology that Santa's elves hadn't learned!
Darth was hired right away! The whole town gathered in the town square to bid him goodbye as he climbed into Santa's sleigh.
He must set up shop in the North Pole, where there was a surprisingly strong Internet connection, to begin making dreams come true across the world.
Thanks to Darth, the internet has been a much happier and joyful place ever since.
Illustrations done for BuzzFeed by Hannah Spiegleman .