All Play and No Work for Santa

All Play and No Work for Santa

The month of January seems silly to some. Gone are the days of anticipation for Christmas and with that it seems Santa and the North Pole are forgotten. After the brief post-Christmas rush of thank you cards and letters to the North Pole post office it has actually become very quiet. January seems silly because Christmas is so far away and nobody appears to be thinking too much about it.

This is admittedly a season for a little fun at the North Pole.

The now-famous Christmas Blizzard of 2017 at the North Pole left us after raging for six full days and dumping more than 25 feet of fresh snow on the North Pole. That made for one big play ground for Santa and all at the North Pole who wanted to burn off a little steam after Christmas.

Santa organized sleigh races for the reindeer and the elves. After all, what was he to do with all those sleighs he built last year? He put them to use in a kind of Olympic-style competition for those who wanted to play. There were races on the ground and in the air. There were races with themes — the water race, the keep-the-hat-in-your-head race, the egg race and the midnight race, which was a scary race downhill in total darkness.

For weeks now there have been nothing but games and fun going on at the North Pole and nobody has been more center to it all than Santa.

I heard a laughing bunch of elves gathered around a bonfire in the middle of fruitcake toss festival the other day talking about whether Santa planned for all the fun they were having in January.

The answer, of course, is that Santa DID plan for this. Santa rarely does anything without a plan, even if it is for play. In fact, I would say Santa plans his play to help his work and his work to help his play. There is purpose behind everything Santa does.

He is the Master Planner.

I can tell you right now, even though it is January, and he’s enjoying a little “time off”, Santa’s head is thinking of all sorts of ideas for next Christmas. He is thinking about every bit of it.

In fact, I think about the only time Santa is planning something is when he is maybe flying his sleigh on Christmas Eve. That, he tells me, takes a lot of concentration.

Planning, you see, is kind of like play to Santa. He loves to plan. He loves to imagine things. He loves to think ahead — far, far ahead. He dreams first of what Christmas will be like and then slowly puts the pieces in place to make it happen.

Magic, Santa says, is no accident. This is one of the fundamental things they teach us in elf school. Magic takes planning and work — and love for both of those.

Nobody likes planning better than Santa. In fact, sometimes Mrs. Claus has to get him to take it easy with it a little bit. For example, one year a little girl wrote in that she had experienced cotton candy for the first time at a summer fair and she was sad because that was the only time and place she could get the stuff. She actually asked Santa for some cotton candy for Christmas.

Well, for some reason, Santa really liked that idea too and he started to think of how he could surprise her with some cotton candy for Christmas. He could shape it like a snowman, he thought, and that would be fun. But then, he thought, making a cotton candy Christmas tree sound like a really neat idea so he took over Mrs. Claus’ kitchen for more than a week trying to make a Christmas tree out of cotton candy.

Mrs. Claus was not happy. Not only did she not appreciate the mess he was making in the kitchen but she thought the pink, fluffy Christmas tree he made from cotton candy looked ridiculous. She finally sat Santa down and said, “She just said she wanted cotton candy for Christmas. Why not just give her cotton candy, Santa?”

Santa could only chuckle about the whole thing. Mrs. Claus, he said, was right. Not every idea turns into a plan but great things happen because Santa loves to make things happen.

So don’t kid yourself. Yes, there is a lot of playing around at the North Pole these days.

But Santa is also talking to a lot of elves. He’s asking them about last Christmas. He’s talking to them about next Christmas. And you can see the wheels turning in his head.

Next week we start to get back to work here at the North Pole.

And guess what?

It begins with a meeting — a planning meeting.

Shocker, right?

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.