I have been asked to be an elf at the Capital Health Directors' Holiday Party tomorrow night. Correction. I've been asked to be THE elf at the holiday party. My role? Provide some comic relief, lead the carol sing (which could be comic relief in itself) and, as all elves are wont to do, be Santa'a faithful sidekick.
I'm not sure how I feel about being voted good elf material. I can almost imagine the conversation that led to my nomination: "You know who I think of when I think of an elf? Margaret Angus, that's who!" I'm waiting for the call that says, "We were all talking about how we need a hot, svelte model and your name came up." While I await the call, I shall dutifully fulfill my elfish role (many a star began her journey as an elf, I'm sure).
To prepare, I should put myself in an elf's pointy shoes. What is it REALLY like to be an elf? What untold pressure lies beneath that funny hat?
It could get quite tedious doing the same thing day in and day out for centuries on end. And if you're an elf with ambition (which I imagine myself to be), where do you go from there? It's not like you can aspire to the top job. The big guy's got that one in the bag, so to speak. He's not ever going to retire or die, which frankly limits an elf's upward mobility. And although I'm sure it's rewarding to help make children's dreams come true, it's Santa that gets the milk, the cookies and the glory. Like Mrs. Claus, the best we elves can hope for is a supporting role and an occasional acknowledgement.
But I don't want to be a bitter elf. That would be too easy. I shall rise above the challenges of a dead-end career and an outfit that's the same as every other elf in the workshop. I shall spread joy and cheer and laughter. I shall start by sharing my top 10 list of phrases you'll never hear during the Christmas season:
10. "Let's put up the tree together - it'll be a bonding experience."
9. "I know exactly which bulb is to blame for that string of lights not working."
8. "I've given up sweets for the month of December."
7. "No, I really meant it when I said you didn't need to get me a present."
6. "That tree is perfectly straight - and on the first try!"
5. "I only want one helping."
4. "I'm going to start my New Year's resolutions early."
3. "Can I be the one who vacuums up the tree needles after Christmas?"
2. "I could listen to the Chipmunks Christmas album all year round!"
1. "I've lost weight!"
And if those don't result in the desired cheer, I shall have to resort to the stand-by elf jokes, courtesy of the Internet:
Why did Santa's helper see the doctor? Because he had a low elf esteem.
What's the first thing elves learn in school? The elf-abet.
Who sings Blue Christmas and makes toy guitars? Elfis.
If the above don't draw laughs, they should at least result in groans, which I think counts as audience participation.
And so, my friends, wish your favourite elf good luck (I am your favourite, right?) And the next time you're feeling overwhelmed by the season, just remember. It could be worse. You could be an elf.