I decided to surprise Ms. Claus with a visit to the Mail Room after lunch. When I entered, I found the elves huddled around my wife.
“Is there a problem?” I asked.
Carter, the head elf of the mail room, spoke up, “We have been discussing all the letters from children asking that their parents have the chance to go back to work.”
Confused, I asked, “How can that be a problem? The number of unemployed people in most parts of the world has dropped.”
“That may be true, Santa, but from the letters we are receiving,” Ms. Claus explained, “many people are not working because their Unions are on strike.”
“What’s a Union?” an elf shouted.
“And what does it mean to go on strike!” another mail handler added.
“I see,” I said as I rubbed my beard. “You have to understand that making things in the world are a little different than here at the North Pole.”
“How’s that?” Booker asked.
“For instance,” I began, “in the rest of the world companies have owners, share-holders, managers, and workers, who actually . . .”
“Wait a minute,” Booker interrupted. “You and Ms. Claus are the owners, Bernard and others are managers, and the rest of us are workers. But what’s a shareholder?”
Anya smiled. “Actually, all of us at the North Pole are shareholders because we share the same belief in the magic of Christmas. As a result, everyone here works together to solve problems or make improvements.”
I clapped my hands. “Well said, Anya” Turning to face everyone, I added. “Elves have the uncanny ability to resolve their differences. In your home town of Elfkoti, the Finnish call it ‘konfliktinratkaisu’ or solving conflicts. Ms. Claus and I shortened it to ‘konflikra’.
The elves grinned and nodded. “You mean like our version of the World Cup Soccer Match,” Stamper explained, “where we solve disagreements on the field together rather than using referees.”
“EXACTLY!” I shouted.
“And when there is a problem here in the mailroom,” Ms. Claus said, “you come up with solutions.”
“Like that time about all the sensitive letters we were getting,” Carter replied.
“That’s right,” my wife responded. “All the mail elves realized there was a delay in getting them to Santa fast enough. Together we solved the difficulty.”
“And you let us implement it right away,” one elf shouted as all the others agreed.
Carter, scratched his head, and asked, “You mean that’s not how it works everywhere else?”
“Unfortunately, not.” I took a seat on a stool and continued. “You see, in many places, managers and owners are more concerned about making money, instead of the best and safest way for the workers to do their job.”
Stamper folded his arms on his chest, “That makes no sense. The workers are the ones doing the actual work, so they should have a say in how it’s done.
“I remember my cousin telling me about a toy-making problem last year. Bernard and Houser noticed a glitch in the system between the workshops and the warehouses. They worked with the elves and created a series of colored slides and conveyors to connect the workshops to the warehouses.”
“YES! Those slides and conveyors made a big difference. But having ideas to improve things is not the only issue people face at work. Many times, companies don’t pay their workers a fair wage or provide benefits.”
“You mean, when they need something, they can’t just ask for it like we do?” Stamper asked.
“Sadly, it doesn’t work that way,” Anya chimed in. “And when workers feel that their employers are not treating them fairly or not meeting their demands, they sometimes go on ‘strike,’ which means they stop working until their worries are taken care of.”
The elves all looked at each other, then Carter asked, “So, you mean workers in some places stop making toys like we do here when they’re not happy with their jobs?”
I nodded. “But remember, here at the North Pole, we work together and are dedicated to the spirit of Christmas. We don’t have the same issues that workers in other parts of the world might face.”
Booker, still curious, asked, “So, Santa, what can we do to help those children who want their parents to go back to work?”
I patted Booker on the back. “Keep spreading joy and happiness through the toys and gifts you create. That’s our way of making the world a better place. Eventually, those on strike and the companies they work for will find a way to resolve their differences and return to their jobs. In the meantime, we’ll do the best we can to make sure everyone has a wonderful Christmas.”
The elves grinned. “Thanks Santa and Ms. Claus. You’re the best.”
As the group went back to their work in the mailroom, Anya turned to face me. “I will always be thankful for what we have,” she said and slipped her arm through mine. “Maybe someday, the world of owners, managers, and labor will work in harmony as we do at the North Pole.”
I wrapped my arms around my wife and gave her a big hug. “Me too!”
Notes From Santa
I hope you enjoyed today’s story. Stories are posted on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, except December. Santa’s next story will be posted on Saturday November 4, 2023. If you have any comments or if there is something you would like me to tell you about, please feel free to leave me a comment. Until the next time . . .
To read more about the Sensitive Letter please check out:
A Little Bit of Elf Magic – April 20, 2020
To read more about the Colored Slides & Conveyors please check out:
Workshop Improvements – August 23, 2021
To read more about the elves World Cup Games please check out:
International Games – August 5, 2023
Find Cincy Santa (@CincySanta) on:
Illustration from Glow Blogs