Hi Friends,

Every year about now, people down South seem to get in a little tizzy about Christmas.

Racing here and there to shop, getting frustrated wrapping, trying to bake but burning cookies. (And burning an innocent cookie is a terribly sad thing to do to!)

Elves, on the other hand, have the Christmas happenings down to a science.

I don’t mean that we’re any better than humans. It’s just that getting everything done in time for Christmas is what we do best.

Though some people don’t like to share trade secrets, I love to – if it helps anyone.

So grab a pen and paper and besides taking down these tips, remember to look for my secret message to you in the first letter of each paragraph.

Citywide, we stage a gift-wrapping party every December 23. Everyone brings the gifts they’ve been making in the guilds.

Helping one another is crucial. Some people are better at measuring the wrapping paper, while others always cut too little or too much. Those who can’t measure can cut tape to have that ready. Others curl ribbons. And for the poor folks who seem to have 10 thumbs – don’t despair! Even the wrapping-challenged can help.

Remember, Christmas is not the handiwork of just one. Northpole becomes a hive of activity and we all work together. The checkers make sure the right present is going to the right child. Besides the checkers, other elves do possibly less glamorous, yet no less important, work.
If you know someone who is strong but lacks the dexterity (vocabulary word!) to help wrap or the concentration to check presents against lists, he or she could help by moving heavy boxes and stacking presents, so the assembly line keeps moving.

Santa’s big night is, of course, December 24.

The entire Northpole population gathers to see him off.

Miniature versions of the Northpole Beacon glow bright as we wave them.

At the same time, guild workers ring bells, which Santa gifted them.

Santa always thanks hard-working elves.

As for the big day itself, December 25, elves and the Clauses meet in the Crystal Forest for the very best show on Earth! (Sorry circus, but this one beats yours.) Watching children around the world open their presents is simply the dazziest feeling ever.

Lots of elves laugh and cry tears of joy when we see how happy we have made everyone.

Loving this seems too small of a word. I mean, I love sprinkles, cookies and peppermints, who doesn’t? But watching children open their special presents is even better than biting into a just-out-of-the-oven cookie! Last Christmas, I saw a little girl, who was very poor, hold her very first baby doll. She cradled it and kissed the forehead and I just found myself crying and smiling at the same time. Two years ago, I saw a boy who really, really wanted a bicycle, but was afraid to ask for one because his parents had both lost their jobs. Santa brought him one.

Yeah, tears and grins again. We can’t help it. By the end of the day, we are very tired, super duper tired, the kind of tired you feel down in your cues to the tip of your hat.

Elves sleep on Dec. 26. That odd noise some people down South have heard that day? You think it’s some weird machine? Nope! It’s every elf in Northpole snoring.

And then? You guessed it! We get to celebrate our Christmas. Feasts, presents and “general happiness.”

Right away, though – actually December 28 – it’s right back to work. I know your calendar is a little different. But the major lesson here, I guess, is if you do a little work toward Christmas every single day, by the time it rolls around, you’ll be super organized and ready to celebrate your cinnamon buns off!

Big hugs with sprinkles,