From where he'd been walking through the deserted Hyperion Hotel main lobby well past midnight, a completely taken-unawares Angel halted in his tracks from sheer shock. An instant later, the Irish vampire whirled around to stare at the large fireplace set off in one lobby wall from where this delighted jollification had originated. Angel could never figure out just why a decades-old hotel set in a Mediterranean climate with sufficient chilly weather merely lasting a week to ten days over a whole year had been built with a fireplace back then, but he wasn't thinking this now.

Instead, the demon with a soul stared in disbelief at the chubby man standing there in front of the fireplace and wearing a snow-white beard, pure black boots, and bright scarlet clothing trimmed with white fur, all while carrying a large, stuffed sack over one shoulder. The stranger (who wasn't really, seeing how even Angel knew who he was despite having a total lack of interest in the last century's popular culture) beamed back at the stunned vampire. It was Santa Claus who broke the sudden silence in the lobby with a happy exclamation, "Merry Christmas, Angel!"

"What?!" weakly came from a former Scourge of Europe, who was having real trouble wrapping his moussed head around everything happening right now.

Taking pity on the stupefied vampire, Santa Claus cheerfully explained, "Oh, yes, indeed! You were sent a gift tonight on Christmas Eve, so naturally I'm delivering it."

Angel just stood there in a daze for a moment, before hollowly asking the first thing which came to mind, "Uh, is it from Cordelia? Or, no, Buffy must've thought of me-"

"Neither, young man!" laughingly stated the traveler from the North Pole, all while his belly jiggled like jelly. "It's from a past acquaintance of yours, who I met myself a few years ago. He went by the name of Spike at the time-"

It was Angel's turn to break in with a disbelieving, "Spike met you, and he didn't ever tell us - me, Darla, or Drusilla?"

Santa gave a merry shrug of his well-padded shoulders. "It seems so. Our encounter was rather short, but apparently the gift I bestowed upon him then left quite a lasting impression. On the next Christmas, he somehow managed to post a letter to me, requesting you be sent the same present, only much more bigger to express his precise feelings about you. I had to wait a good long while to collect exactly what Mr. Spike requested, but now it's done, and here you go!"

Before Angel could react even with his vampire reflexes, another supernatural character acted with blinding speed. Bringing down his sack, Santa smartly swung his arms to launch what now spewed out of the cloth bag directly at the demon in black. It took only a fraction of a second for this material to completely cover Angel from head to toe, trapping him inside this pungent heap.

A quick flip of Santa's arms sent the empty sack back over his shoulder, and he proudly regarded the screaming, cursing, quivering, reeking mound resting inside the Hyperion lobby. Just before he disappeared back up the fireplace chimney, this right jolly old elf boomed in a voice which shook the entire building, "HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!"

Naturally, this noise brought the rest of the hotel's inhabitants rushing down the lobby staircase. Once they caught sight of what was now piled up high in the middle of the reception area, Cordelia, Wesley, Fred, and Gunn all stopped short on the center landing, and they gazed in stupefaction together at the incredible sight below.

Finally, Cordelia had to ask, "Just why did Angel get what looks like a whole ton of reindeer shit dumped on him?"

The rest of the Angel gang around Cordelia now instantly switched their attention to this striking brunette over that question. Or to be more specific, exactly how she knew-

Still staring down at the lobby and its malodorous contents from which a grimy pair of hands had shot up from the top of the heap and was now shaking both of his fists in absolute rage against a certain blond undead Englishman, Cordelia snapped, "My first year in LA, I had to take any acting job I could get, and one Christmas it was a photo shoot of me dressed up as an elf and posing with one of those animals, who wasn't the least bit housebroken! Now, will somebody answer my damn question?!"