Elves and Anxiety

Elves and Anxiety

Life as an ElfThe most recent crisis at the North Pole – Santa’s absence – seems to have sent waves of panic in the elf community.

It has caused many of you out there to send in letters of concern.

From nine year old Natalie of Wisconsin, this question is typical: “Why are the elves so nervous?”

It is a good question and one I think deserves a straight forward answer.

There are, of course, many kinds of “nervous”.

There is the nervous you feel when you stand before people to perform or give a speech. There is a nervous to starting at a new school or a new job. And there is a kind of nervous that comes on you when you’re just not sure what is going to happen.

But there is still one more kind of nervous that a lot of people do not think about.

It is a nervousness born of high standards, best wishes, and a genuine desire to do well.

This kind of nervousness is sometimes called anxiety. The cause of it is having a good heart.

Elves might be funny kind of people to you. Maybe some of the things we do are silly.

We tend to throw a lot of food, for example. Maybe you have noticed that.

We sometimes sing a lot, we tell jokes a great deal, and we just love to do kid stuff like riding big tricycles, dressing up funny or doing goofy things.

Sometimes we put gummy bears under our arms to make them really soft before we eat them. And we might now and then walk through puddles or put lipstick on a dog.

Just because we are a little goofy doesn’t mean we’re weird or anything.

We are people just like anyone else.

But we also wake up each day thinking about others.

Santa works very hard to teach us to do this. He tells us the most important thing to being an elf is to learn to think of others first.

He tells us the more we forget about ourselves and think more about others the happier we will be.

As elves we take that very seriously.

We work hard to make other people happy and we do that to be happy ourselves.

And guess what?

For the most part, we are pretty happy. Elves are known all over for being cheerful, playful and fun.

But what if we fail?

What happens if we cannot make people happy?

The hardest letter an elf sees at the North Pole is one from a child who says she didn’t like what she got for Christmas or that the thing he received is already broken.

Elves feel terrible about stuff like that.

Because we try so hard and our work really isn’t about making toys or stuffing stockings it is about delivering happiness.

We do sometimes fail.

And that causes us to worry.

And worry causes us to fear.

And fear causes us to get nervous or anxious.

Right now the elves are all anxious about Santa.

The elves are worried he won’t make it back in time for Christmas. They worry if he will come back at all.

And that is because they don’t want to fail.

They know that Christmas will not be as fun if Santa isn’t a part of it.

Now, as many of you in your letters have pointed out, Santa told us before he left not to worry. He said he would be back.

So why worry, right?

Well, some people – like the elves at the North Pole – just cannot help from worrying.

They just don’t want anyone to be unhappy.

Well, I’m a very old elf. I have seen many things in my years as an elf at the North Pole. I personally think this stuff about being worried about Santa’s disappearance is way overblown. I am not worried at all.

Do you know why?

Because Santa is an elf. He in the ultimate elf. I am not with him, of course, and I haven’t talked to him. But know him well enough to know that he’s concerned about getting home for Christmas too.

He does not want to fail either.

And he won’t.

So if you’re a little like most elves here at the North Pole – and I know many of you are – relax. Have fun. Think good thoughts. Don’t worry.

It is going to be okay.

And to my fellow elves out there, the boys and girls of the North Pole workforce, I say: chill.

Santa does not want us worried. He wants us helping other people.

And we can’t help others when we are worried, can we?

When Elves Get Mad

Life as an ElfThe nature of my job as an elf is different. I spend most of my days working at a computer in an office. When the world thinks of elves they think of the guys and gals over in Santa’s workshop.

Really, the world SHOULD think of those workshop elves first. They work hard. They do great work.

Every December they give those of us who don’t get a chance to work in Santa’s workshop a chance to help out now and then. I was over there the other day – helping to make Gak – and I was surprised to see Santa there wearing his tool belt and working up a sweat making building blocks for the little kids.

Santa works a lot in his workshop but not much in December. He spends most of December, as you know, out in the world visiting with children. So it was kind of neat to see Santa there and to be there with him at Christmastime.

And like any elf Santa was in the lunchroom at lunch time. That’s when elves talk.

Right now nobody is talking about anything more than the Merry Prankster. For months he has teased us with silly pranks but this week he has started to do some real bad things. He was once very popular here at the North Pole. But no more.

The elves are mad.

I normally have a lot to say but not when I am around the workshop elves. I respect those elves a lot. They are experts in many things. I don’t want them to think I know as much as they do. So I was kind of a fly on the wall there the other day as they were talking about the Merry Prankster.

I noticed that Santa was listening closely to them too.

And they are mad. Really, really, really mad.

It is not a good idea to get an elf mad.

Elves tend to be very creative people. Those kinds of people sometimes tend to be very emotional. Because they feel things so deeply sometimes the anger gets expressed loudly or even dangerously. Elves like to throw things and pound things and crash things when they get mad.

None of this is good for elves who handle a lot of power tools.

But Santa spends a lot of time teaching us as elves to use our feelings for good. He has taught us to be careful NOT to get mad in the first place. He says anger is a sign of a weak mind – one that does not question enough. Santa teaches us that when we get mad we should really learn to ask questions.

And that’s what these elves were doing in the lunch room the other day in talking about this Merry Prankster guy (we all assume the Prankster is a guy, I don’t know why).

I see from the comments here on the website and from all the mail coming into the North Pole that many of you are starting to get upset about this Merry Prankster situation too.

You’re asking questions!

Why don’t they use cameras to catch this guy? Did anyone think to check fingerprints? Why aren’t these places where he keeps causing trouble under 24-hour security?

You guys are asking all the right questions. And you are asking all the same questions that nearly every elf here at the North Pole is asking too.

But here is the other thing about creative people like elves.

They are problem solvers. When they ask questions, all of a sudden new ideas pop up about what action can be taken.

And some of you are sending in good suggestions. The elves in charge of trying to catch the Merry Prankster are listening. And I’m being told you are being very helpful.

So keep posting your ideas, your questions, your comments and your concerns. Keep sending your messages to the North Pole.

Together we don’t have to get mad. Together we can solve this problem of the Merry Prankster.

Why Thanksgiving is as Big as Christmas at the North Pole

Life as an ElfYears ago I got in a lot of trouble for writing a column titled A Fat Man’s Holiday.

That article talked about Santa’s love of food and the North Pole celebration of Thanksgiving.

I will attempt to once again explain it all without getting anyone upset.

First of all, let’s talk about Santa and food.

You know all this about Santa. Don’t get mad at me for calling Santa “the Big Guy” or mentioning how much he eats. You all feed him cookies. You have a part to play in this.

Just because I call it a “fat man’s holiday” does not mean I’m calling Santa a fatso. I’m just not.

He’s not a porker, a budda-belly, a beached whale, a laardvark, a tubby, Fatty McFat, salad dodger, buffet killer, butter master, a bag of doughnuts, gordo, Count Fatula, lard gargler, cake magnet, wifi blocker, carbzilla, a fattleship, blimp, fatty, hogbeast, lardo, podger, ground sloth, hambeast, Slenderella, or plump or portly or rotund.

It’s a fat man’s holiday because it is a time of feasting. That is all. And food is not the only thing Santa feasts on at Thanksgiving.

Like everyone else at the North Pole he loves the day off. He loves being with family and friends. He loves putting up the Christmas tree. He loves playing games. He loves making things in the kitchen. He loves pie. He loves being prayerful. He loves telling everyone what he is grateful for. He loves looking at the lights, starting on his Christmas cards, watching football and movies, and he loves getting ready for Christmas.

Thanksgiving at the North Pole is a huge celebration. Some even think it is bigger than Christmas.

There is truth to that. By the time Christmas comes around some of us are so tired we sorta sleep through some of it. We love Christmas. But for an elf Christmas is an end. Thanksgiving is a vibrant beginning.

I guess you could say that Thanksgiving for those of us at the North Pole is our Christmas.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

And there is nothing wrong with you having a big Thanksgiving too.

I hope you enjoy it.

When Things Go Wrong at the North Pole

Life as an ElfThe Merry Prankster sure upset a lot of folks this week. When the news broke of what he did at the North Pole Post Office what did the children of the world do? They flooded the North Pole post Office with letters.

Isn’t that ironic?

That’s okay, kids. That is what you are supposed to do.

Children are writing because they are afraid that the Merry Prankster will affect Christmas. The fact that he would do something so terrible as what he did this week really upsets them.
It upsets us here at the North Pole too.

Believe it or not, when bad things happen at the North Pole – and they sometimes do – we worry just as anyone else would.

Over the years we have had a lot of tough events to deal with.

There was the year with no sugar at the North Pole. Last year the reindeer went missing. Then there was that awful year of the Bah Humbug Virus and that year when Santa was so sick he couldn’t fly the sleigh.

Most of you are too young to remember those times.

In every case, things turned out okay. Yes, it might have changed one Christmas in a small way or another but at the end of it all there was still Christmas.

The lesson we learn over and over again at the North Pole is that what we do is not limited to just one man. Santa is our leader and he shows us the way. But all of us have a small part in what Santa does.

When we work together there just isn’t a problem we cannot fix.

This year the problem seems to be this Merry Prankster.

I want you to know that no matter what – they will catch this guy. No matter what – he can’t stop Christmas. Nobody ever has. Nobody ever will.

So we appreciate your concern. And we appreciate your ideas and your suggestions.

Bad things happen everywhere. It is never a question of whether or not we will go through hard things. The question is how we decide to react to it.

At the North Pole we have learned to deal with these things by focusing on love and giving. And by working together.

I would bet all the money in the world that is how we solve the problem of the Merry Prankster.

Things You Need to Know About Reindeer

Life as an ElfLast Christmas was all about how Santa’s reindeer went missing. Remember that?

It was such a big story that the email questions about reindeer are still pouring in.

There are some things you need to know about reindeer. I think I can answer a lot of your questions right here.

First of all, you might be asking what reindeer have to do with elf life. It is my job after all to write about elf life.

Understand that anyone working for Santa is an elf. Reindeer work for Santa. So technically a reindeer is an elf.

No, reindeer don’t look like other elves. But we have already discussed that elves don’t have to look a particular way to be an elf.

Reindeer and Santa have a very unusual connection. He just understands them. And he loves them.

Santa also understands your curiosity about them. I actually called Santa before I wrote this to tell him some concerns I had about this topic.

Santa explained to me that your curiosity and love of reindeer is actually a good thing. He wants you to understand reindeer because he understands why you might like them so much. He does too.

I asked Santa how he first met the reindeer and how they became elves that work for him.

Santa explained that when he grew up he would see reindeer in the mountains sometimes when he helped a family member herding mountain goats. This is something that back in the old days they would do a lot.

Santa says he studied the reindeer from a distance for a long, long time. He noticed that they were animals that were very in tune with nature and everything around them. For a long time a reindeer will stand still and study everything – the sky, the water, the birds and the sounds of nature.

Santa noticed that they moved very quietly. Often they would move towards danger – not away from it. And this was because, Santa observed, they were smart and trusted their own abilities to keep safe.

Santa told me it took him many years to learn to “speak” reindeer. He said it isn’t actually talking that he does to the reindeer. He said it is more like thinking. He thinks the same time they think and somehow they know how each other thinks.

Santa says the reindeer fly and get him around the world so quickly because they are pure. He said the reindeer have big hearts. They love to serve. And they love to give. And this gives them their powers to help Santa.

Does this mean you could capture a reindeer and teach them to fly?

Santa doesn’t think you should try. He said it took him many, many years to see it happen and he only saw a reindeer fly when THEY trusted Santa. They just won’t fly for everyone, he explains.

Santa also told me to tell you that he appreciates all you do for the reindeer. When you leave out carrots or oats or water for them on Christmas Eve he appreciates it. And he gives it to them.

He says it isn’t the nutrition from this food that helps them as much as the LOVE you put into providing it for them that makes them fly.

Think about that!