By Katherine Wright
I didn’t have a traditional experience during my one-time gig as a Christmas mall elf, if there even is such a thing.
There wasn’t a life-size Gingerbread house in the middle of the mall decorated with fake snow and reindeer to supplement an intimidating Santa sitting in a deluxe armchair. Nothing like that.
It was a free event shoved into an obscure corner of the mall and included a few craft tables, a photo booth, a very small arrangement of snacks and a DJ playing classic Christmas jams. As an elf, my job was to roam around and entertain the guests, subtly building excitement for Santa’s arrival — without spoiling the surprise, of course.
“Oh, I think I heard one of the elves whispering that Santa is on his way,” I said as a six year old’s eyes lit up with overwhelming excitement. I could practically see a Christmas wish list forming in her anticipating eyes.
While the families showed only mild interest in my elf ears and peppermint-colored dress, Santa’s arrival sparked chaos.
Someone shoved a bowl of mini candy canes in my hand, told me to follow the guy with the fuzzy red suit and white beard — who was very demanding, I might add — and to try my best to keep the conversations to a minimum. There were a lot of kids to get through and Santa was on a strict schedule. It’s a busy time for him, I can imagine.
I may not have had a typical experience as a Christmas mall elf, but I can say with some certainty that the thought process of any one of us goes something like this:
- Smile and laugh, then ask that kid what she wants for Christmas. Or do I wait for Santa to do that?
- This outfit is way too small.
- Kids are terrible at art.
- So no one wants to talk to the Christmas elf, but the second Santa gets here, kids are trampling each other to get a look at him? Greedy little phonies.
- I can tell I’m not the first person to wear this too-small outfit.
- There’s a chain-of-command here and Santa is acting like he’s better than all of us.
- I never thought I’d be dressed in an elf costume dancing alone to Ashley Tisdale’s rendition of “Last Christmas.”
- What a magical time of year.
- Okay, Santa, but who’s the one holding the bowl of candy canes? You heard me.
- I think I could be a Christmas DJ. Yep. I definitely could.