Lately Natalie has been making much to do about the Holiday helpers posing as Santa at the malls. But we all know that these guys are nothing without their trusty elf assistants. The loyal and hard-working elves make the whole Christmas experience at the mall possible. Who do you think sets up those elaborate displays featuring trains, cottages, tress, and more? It’s the elves! Who gets the kids to smile and stop screaming while sitting on a total stranger’s lap? The elves! How does that picture that costs you $14.50 get taken, printed, and thrown into a cute cardboard holder? Magic? Only if you mean the magic of the elves. The Christmas mall elf as an arduous work life. These are no Santa’s workshop elves, protected from the masses of children at their North Pole compound.
The mall elves are not trained and pampered like the mall Santas. Research found no formal training centers or certification programs. There are no designer outfits to be found or national fashion protocol. Officially you are known as Santa’s assistant and expected to fill one of many levels of help for the guy in the chair. You might be the greeter- the one to “encourage” passing parents and children to stop in and visit. This job is the hard sell- convincing a family not intending to visit Santa to stop what they are doing, get in a line and wait to pay for a photo they don’t want- FUN! Or you might be the helper. This is the elf that talks to the mom and the kid and then funnels the info to Santa (you didn’t really think he knew every kid’s name and particulars did you?). Helper elf has lots of pressure to get it right. Next up os the photographer elf. This elf has the unbelievable difficult job of snapping the perfect pic while the child screams, squirms, and cries through the visit. Last elf up is the cashier elf who has to try to up-sell you to the deluxe photo package including frame and decorative ornament. Regardless of which position you are assigned, you have fussy parents, line management, crying kids, and candy canes to navigate with the non-stop 60 minute loop of Christmas music playing over it all! Finally the most difficult job of every mall elf- explaining to the curious 5 or 6 year-old how this man isn’t the real Santa, but one of his “helpers”. Good Christmas mall elves are the true protectors of the magic that is Santa Claus. Who’s up for being an elf this fall?