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?

North Pole Media Explodes with Worries About Santa

North Pole Media Explodes with Worries About Santa

A report from the North Pole Gazette on Saturday has upset a lot of people at the North Pole. The newspaper article said authorities at the Flight Command Center are really “hunting Santa”, not just using Santa’s planned absence as a training vehicle for tracker elves.

The article has led to widespread speculation and genuine worry among elves working for Santa.

“If Santa is missing we should know that,” said Elf Dwight Mancrado, a stocking technician in Santa’s Workshop. “I don’t need to be here making socks that won’t be used for four months when I could be out looking for the Big Guy and bringing him home.”

Elf Dwight’s comments are typical of what many elves have expressed. On radio call-in shows, on North Pole websites online and in the North Pole employee lunchroom all the talk is Santa and whether or not he needs rescue.

According to Elf Ed Zachary, who works part time at the Gazette, the elf who wrote the story is a good journalist and his sources check out.

“This is the real deal,” Ed Zachary said, “but I think there are too many elves jumping to conclusion here. We were all here when Santa made his announcement and explained what he is doing. If there is a search and rescue operation going on I think someone should step up and confirm for us whether or not Santa is really lost. I don’t know think he is. And if he isn’t lost, why would the Flight Command Center be using his absence in this way? Who rescues someone who doesn’t want to be rescued?”

That question may have been answered by Mrs. Claus this morning, who held a hastily called press conference for North Pole media. Speaking from a prepared statement at the podium of the media center at Santa’s Workshop, Mrs. Claus declared, “Santa Claus is not lost. We might not know where he is for sure, because we haven’t heard from him, but we know he is not lost.” Mrs. Claus refused to take any questions.

That statement has done very little so far to calm the worries of elves at the North Pole.

“This is going to be a whopper of a distraction,” Elf Bernard at Santa’s Workshop told me. “We already lost most the day on Saturday. We need everyone to calm down, do their work and let Santa be Santa. If Mrs. Claus says there is no concern, then we should be focused on other things, like getting our work done.”

Elf Ernest