Here’s an elf, skiving off work to read the paper on the toilet
This year, I’m not buying any wrapping paper. At all. Not a jot. If I’m really stretched I might pilfer some from my mum who will have a stash (much of which will be recycled so I won’t feel bad). But gift wrap is an environmental disaster of which I want no part. But what about the presents Santa leaves? How do I get round that? Turns out easy enough. I was doing the reading with the girls and the pile of yet-to-read-Guardians caught my eye.
“Here, I came across something about Santa Claus earlier.” I say. Their wee ears prick up. “Turns out that he’s going to do a bit of recycling and be environmentally friendly this year.”
“Ohh?” They say. (Poor wee buddies don’t have much notion but on I go.)
“Yes, sometimes he uses a boost of diesel to power the sleigh but this year he’s just feeding the reindeer up with lots of pasta for energy and vegetables.”
“Like carrots,” adds the small child, who is still tickled pink with her letter from a certain Mr Claus last week, who alluded to the eye-sight enhancing properties of our household’s favourite root vegetable.
“Indeed,” I say. “They can’t be clattering into skyscrapers and steeples in the dark.”
“Skyscrapers?” interjects the older one, “Like in Majorca, where Dad used to live?”
“No, that’s New York.” I say. “Dad lived in New York. Majorca is sunny with beaches and you don’t get shouted at if you board the subway going the wrong way.” I still recall the ticket seller almost making me cry at Bowling Green.
“Ahh yes.” She nods, probably none the wiser.
Back to the point. “So, he won’t be wrapping up the presents in fancy paper for your stockings.”
“Ohh? What sort of paper then?” they ask.
I glance at the floor. “Newspapers, or magazines.”
“Like the Guardian?” says the older child.
“Quite,” I say. I can’t imagine Santa being a Daily Mail reader. I’m rather impressed we’ve managed to indoctrinate the children already with left wing papers of choice.
“But there’s a problem,” I tell them. They look decidedly rattled. It’s not hard to discombobulate a four and a six year old when it comes to casting doubt over presents. “He’s raging actually, because they’re way behind schedule in the North Pole.” Their eyes widen. “That’s what it said in the paper anyway, I go on. The flipping elves are sitting round, reading the paper and eating mince pies and drinking mugs of hot chocolate. They aren’t making gifts or wrapping a thing! Santa’s getting a bit fed up.” (None of this was inspired by ‘What the Reindeer Saw’ the other night at all. Oh no, never any plagiarism on this blog.)
I pretend to scan the page. “No, it’s ok. He’s back on track. The elves get stars on their charts if they stop getting distracted and there will be a special treat after Christmas if all their work is done. They are busy little bees again. Phew.”
Big exhalations all round.
“But they probably won’t have time to use sello-tape; they’ll just sort of roll up the presents and shove them in the stockings. Do you reckon that’s alright?”
The girls nod. “It’s what’s inside that counts.” I smile. My job here is done people.