What Elves Really Do at Christmas
I have mentioned that I am an elf. Mama Elf, in fact, and that’s Papa there in the photo. Our children are Dipsy Elf and Elfis (thank you very much, complete with blue suede elf shoes), we do “line maintenance” at the mall during the holiday season where there’s always a long line of parents and kids waiting patiently to sit on some Santa’s knee and inform him of their heart’s desire – and get their picture taken so Mom and Dad can make Christmas cards to send off to the relatives.
We don’t work for the photo ding, though. We work for the mall itself. Pays much better. For the first two years after we’d moved to these mountains Papa and I provided the entertainment at a Christmas theme park in Cherokee, the only steady work we could find in our field in a new state and fairly unpopulated region since we determined to leave the city life behind. Six shows a day, seven days a week, 26 weeks a year from Memorial Day through Halloween. It was grueling, but did get us the ‘in’ we needed to market our elves to malls closer to home, and that allowed us to keep our curly toes in the profession we’d pioneered in North Florida all those many years ago.
We didn’t start out as elves. We started as clowns. Hubby and son as juggling partners, daughter as set designer and fill-in for balloon sculpture and face painting, me as last resort. I refused to learn to juggle because they would have sold me in the birthday party lineup, and I had my hands full already. I made the costumes, built the puppets, maintained the props, wrote the skit scripts, stage managed the rehearsals, and kept the calendar schedule up to date. Which was quite tricky in a region of more than 2 million people. Birthday parties, resorts, country clubs, company picnics, civic events, stage shows at festivals and night clubs and so many other venues. During the summer there was such a demand for your basic birthday party clown that we hired up to a dozen of the kids’ college friends and paid them $20 an hour (out of the $100 an hour we charged) after training, which was our son SkyPup’s department.