A Christmas Tradition

(Based on a true story)

The Fairy Society Field Guild to Elfs describes Christmas elfs as being similar to Keebler elves but faster and humbler, they don’t take tips and are never a grumbler.  This is true insofar as it goes, but Christmas elfs are more akin to shoemaking elfs of Die Wichtelmänner than those cookie making corporate shills.

Christmas elfs are jolly and happy folk and as such are accepting of everyone despite their differences.  For the most part.  The now famous story of Buddy the Christmas elf being a prime example of this elfin tolerance.  The conspicuous exception to the open-mindedness of Christmas elfs being their well-known distrust of dentists.  The story of why Christmas elfs (rightfully) hate dentists will be covered another day.

The point being that even the elfin spirit of inclusion and friendship does have limits.   Every once in a great while there’s an elf who’s too much of an oddball even to fit in at the North Pole.

Happy is one such elf.  Like many Christmas elves Happy has a long beard.  Nothing wrong with that right?  Well, you see, most Christmas elves that wear beards have thick luscious beards that are almost as broad as they are wide.  It can make them look wise or cute or mischievous and sometimes all three at once!  Happy’s beard on the other hand is very thin and wispy.  If you were unkind you might even describe it as “creepy”.

Christmas elfs are a fair folk, living at the North Pole and all, some to the point of paleness.  But Happy was a little beyond paleness to the same white as the driving snow outside of the elf’s workshop.  And where most elfs wear jaunty caps of red or green Happy’s cap was drab beige – and without a single bell!

Now Christmas elfs know better than to judge someone by how they look or how they dress or the fluffiness of their beard.  And if it was just the way he looked that was odd Happy would have been welcomed into Christmas elf society with open arms.  But on top of that he was also something of a pill.  Excuse my language.

Happy made toys like nobody’s business – nobody can deny that.  Happy was probably one of the six or seven best toymakers in all of Santa’s village.  But he was just a little off.  You know?  As an example most elfs drink eggnog and once in a while some peppermint Schnapps.  Happy preferred eggnogtinis and shots of 100-proof cinnamon schnapps, not to mention a special drink that he calls the “braincracker suite” –  a mixture of grenadine, corn syrup, pure cane sugar, and hi-octane spirits.

While the other Christmas elfs are content with visions of sugarplums dancing in their dreams Happy preferred the actual sugarplums that put on a burlesque show down the road a ways.  It’s rumored that one time he said something very naughty to Mrs. Claus’s sister while gorging himself on candy cane pizza and gumdrop chow mein.

The point is while the other Christmas elfs played reindeer games and held hands and sang song Happy was more apt to stand in the corner muttering to himself and drinking from a flask.  He just didn’t quite fit in.  But that was fine, nobody wanted to hang out with the guy but it’s not like he wanted to be a damn dirty dentist.  Live and let live right?

Then one day things got a little too weird.  Happy went to Tammee his shift supervisor with a request.  This was very strange because Happy had never made a request before even though other elfs did it all the time, to get some extra ribbon or to request more hours to make toys in their off time or such.  Tammee was especially open and friendly even for a Christmas elf and she tried her best to give Happy the benefit of the doubt.  She even asked him about his collection of antique reindeer bridles one time.

But even Tammee was pretty freaked out when Happy requested that his hands be chopped off and replaced by knives.  When she recovered enough to ask him why anyone would ever want something like that Happy got a far-away look in his eyes and simply said “I hold knives in both hands so much of the time I think it will just be easier for everyone this way.”

When Tammee suggested gently that having knives for hands would make it very difficult to work on the toy production line Happy replied that he wasn’t going to be making toys for much longer anyway.  He looked out the window into the freezing cold and said “There’s a whole world out there.  A world full of ignorance and sin.  They need to be education.  I’ll start with the Shelfies.”  Shelfies are what Christmas elfs call those imposters known as “Elf on the shelf” which will be covered in a later post.

Tammee was a great shift supervisor, one of the best, her group never missed a toy quota, always worked to help out other shiftss when they were behind, and the people on her team loved her.  She got 700 stars on her annual review the last four years running!  But she had no idea what to do about Happy and his very strange request.  She told Happy she’d look into it and escalated to her boss, who was pretty freaked out as well.  It was kicked up the chain, some say all the way to the Big Man in Red himself.

When Tammee somewhat nervously told Happy that no one felt like having his hands replaced with knives was a good idea he just nodded and said that it was okay, that he didn’t really expect that they would say yes anyway.  A few weeks later Happy, who had never taken single day off in more than 2000 years, put in notice that he would be taking a vacation.  Everyone breathed a sigh of relief, Happy was just wound a little too tightly, some time off would do him good.  After all he earned it didn’t he?  2000 years of making toys without a break?  That would make anyone a little cranky.

Many of the other Christmas elfs asked Happy where he was going, Bermuda being a popular vacation destination amongst the North Polers, but he never said much about it.  When he came back a few weeks later his hands had been replaced by long blades.  Some said the Grinch did it.  Some said Krampus.  Some said Evil Santa.  Some say it was the Winter Witch that enchanted Frosty’s old silk hat.  No one knows for sure, but the blades are there shiny and cold as you like.

Happy is still able to make toys, and make them very well, with his knife hands, although he’s mostly worked in the whittling department from then on.  The only thing that changed was ever year Happy would take a vacation.  None of the other Christmas elfs know where Happy goes.  In dark hours of the cold North Pole night they whisper to themselves that they don’t want to know. 

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