This week, National leader Judith Collins had MPs traipsing in one by one with their wish-lists and to discuss the positions she might bestow upon them.
It was something akin to a visit to Santa.
Admittedly, this Santa has somewhat less job security than actual Santa, and also has to give an added layer of consideration than the simple naughty or nice test.
Collins has shown an inclination to reward the "nice" in the past: giving promotions to her loyalists in both caucus rankings and on the party list, while thumping those she had less affection for such as her erstwhile challenger Mark Mitchell, and Alfred Ngaro.
She no longer has the luxury of indulging in personal patronage.
Her caucus is much smaller, there are fewer people to carry the load of the bad performers. The right people need to be put into the right jobs, regardless of her feelings toward them.
All Collins' considerations should now be on 2023, and the best team for the next election campaign.
It is for that reason that keeping Gerry Brownlee and Paul Goldsmith in their current roles of deputy leader and finance spokesman is untenable.
Collins' biggest initial decisions will be those two roles.
The deputy role can be used to try to patch up a factional caucus, but is also someone who can complement a leader's own attributes. It is technically voted by caucus, but the leader's preference has great sway.
It may be unfair on Brownlee, given he was not the architect of National's spiral of woes.
But he was the campaign chair and so has an obvious target on his back when it comes to the darts of blame. The fact he lost his own electorate will have only made that target bigger.
Brownlee appears to have acknowledged this. It may well be he will make it easy for Collins by saying to her he will step out of the Deputy's role.
As a replacement, Shane Reti is a viable option – trusted by Collins, respected for his work in the health portfolio, detailed and unlikely to find himself outshining the leader either deliberately or by design.
Collins should also consider putting Simon Bridges into the finance portfolio – although that could be a hard thing for her to swallow.
Goldsmith was starting to build up his name in that portfolio until the $4 billion hole of the fiscal plan.
Goldsmith will have learned a hard lesson and it will have improved him.
But the party has simply not got the time to squander on giving him a chance to prove that.
In short, Collins will have to weigh up whether keeping Goldsmith in the role will make it harder for National to regain its credibility on the economy quickly.
The answer to that is yes. Every time he stands to point out a flaw in Labour's books, Finance Minister Grant Robertson will jeer "$4 billion hole".
The case for Bridges to take it on lies in the second element Collins said she was considering: choosing those with the right personalities to go up against their counterparts on the Government benches.
Some politicians are built for attack – Collins included – while others are built for constructive engagement and tend to be more low profile.
In that regard, Simon Bridges should be moved into a more politically contentious portfolio than foreign affairs, one where his attack skills are more use.
Bridges also has some grounding in finance - both from his ministerial days and as leader in Opposition.
Bridges is not the only one who could do finance.
Todd McClay is another, and Collins' loyalist Andrew Bayly is also reportedly keen.
However Bayly is not well known, and it would be seen by others in caucus as simply a reward for loyalty.
The final name is Christopher Luxon. He too could do finance, but not yet.
It would be risky for National - and could also be risky for Luxon. Rookie mistakes can damage entire careers.
As for Brownlee, there does remain an important role for him to play for National as either associate Speaker or shadow Leader of the House. He could also get the foreign affairs portfolio back.