The Elders told tales of this ancient custom that had not varied much with the passage of time. One would be chosen from all of the groups. The elite of the elite. The Chosen One.
The Ritual would be starting soon. The sun was just breaking above the crest of the valley, spreading light, but no warmth upon the candidates.
The Others were coming soon. The Elders could feel the vibrations of their wagons, slowly navigating the snow covered hills to The Clearing.
The Others dismounted their transport and began to walk the line, appraising The Fives, The Sixes, and The Sevens. Discussions were had whether it'd be a Five, Six or Seven being a sufficient offering this year. Walking slowly in front of the proud, straight lines; circling each Candidate with an appraising look.
The decision had come. The Others had chosen a Six. This Six would make a fine sacrifice to the gods.
An axe was raised and The Six was cut again and again yet The Chosen One did not cower or even allow a whimper. Finally, mercifully, The Other's sacrifice fell to the frozen ground. Ropes were quickly affixed to the corpse of The Chosen One. As they drug their quarry through the snow and out of The Clearing, The Six's body left a faint trail to the awaiting wagon.
The Others hoisted The Chosen One onto the wagon,tying it securely for the journey ahead.
* * *
When they reached their destination, The Chosen One was drug into the warm house. A red ring was affixed to its trunk and secured with screws. The Six was dead and could not protest as further preparations for The Others' ritual were made. Tiny hooks and candles were hung from Six's limbs and a metal hat, in the shape of a golden star was placed upon Six's head.
The Others stood back from their now adorned sacrifice. Satisfied, smug smiles were on their faces, knowing the God in the Red Suit would be very much pleased and The Others would be rewarded greatly for their efforts.
* * *
Back in The Clearing, The Elders and The Former Candidates settled down for a nap. Not to be disturbed again until next Christmas Eve.