Spring Training, Day 1 - Guest Post by Garland the Social Media Elf

Spring Training, Day 1

Guest blog by Garland, the Social Media Elf

It’s a balmy -19 degrees today at the North Pole—perfect weather for our annual Spring

training camp. Christmas Eve 2018 is only 274 days away, so Santa has had the elves outside

doing calisthenics since 4 AM today. (I’m exempt due to my fragile constitution—I have what is

known as ‘Cotton Candy Knee’… For decades now he’s been holding a two-week training camp

shortly after St. Patrick’s Day to kick off the push to Christmas. The Big Guy loves movies, so this

year’s camp is kind of like “Remember the Titans” with just a touch of “An Officer and a

Gentleman” thrown in. He’s calling it “Spring Training 2018: Full Flannel Jacket.”

For the last week he’s been walking around the workshop decked out in a pair of red coaching

shorts and a campaign hat, wearing the “North Pole Intramural Champion” t-shirt that he got

for winning last year’s tinsel tug-o-war. On this Saturday past he finally figured out where we

had hidden his whistle and clipboard, so Spring Training officially began this morning.

Coach Claus started things off with an hour of jumping jacks, burpees, and crunches. After this

little ‘warm-up’, he led the elves on a quick 10k snowshoe run around the village. In order to

motivate the elves, he recites inspirational sayings like “sweat in training saves tears on delivery

day!” and “pain is just humbug leaving the body!” It’s not clear if these pithy aphorisms actually

improve morale, but they do drown out all the moaning and complaining.

After a quick break for eggnog (hydration is so important…), they were off to the obstacle

course. Our obstacles are all representative of the kind of problems an elf might encounter

during the final push to get the sleigh ready to fly. Scaling the 3-meter wall of packages is

difficult, and crawling under the ungrounded strings of Christmas lights can be dangerous, but I

think crossing the popcorn string bridge is the hardest obstacle on the whole course. It’s tough

physically, of course, but the real challenge is staying light mentally. If you think, for even one

second, about the gingersnaps in your lunch box, you’ll fall straight into the holly pit!

The elves aren’t the only ones working out. The reindeer are also hard at it, doing take-off and

landing drills on the roof of the elf dormitory. “The prancing and pawing of each little hoof”

sounds poetic, but I can tell you from personal experience that it loses most of its charm when

it goes on continuously for over an hour. Based on the results of this drill, the whole team has

been put on a diet. The new “one carrot per week” rule almost caused a riot in the stables. The

elves were similarly displeased when it was announced that gumdrops and candy canes have

been downgraded to “sometimes” on the workshop cafeteria menu.

At 12 we broke for a light lunch of sugar plums and cinnamon tea, then the packing elves were

on the line for sled loading drills, while everyone else attended yearly mandatory training. Our

union rep, a tough old elf named Mincemeat, gave a riveting presentation on the dangers of

wrapping paper cuts and how to avoid ribbon-related accidents, then our health and safety

officer, Trinket, reminded us all again about the dangers of unsecured glitter. Never forget

Glittermageddon 2017—we will redecorate.

Around 1:30, the team from Bows and Wrapping got busy with some speed taping practice,

while the Santa briefed the rest of us on the hottest new toys for this year. The tech elves have

outdone themselves this year; some of these toys are really quite amazing! I wish I could tell

you about them all, but they’re top secret for now. Just take my word for it; there are a ton of

really good reasons to get on the Nice List this year!

By 3 PM everyone was exhausted. Well, everyone but Santa; nothing makes him happier than

preparing for delivery day. Long after the elves and reindeer had all limped off to rest, he was

still at the workshop, muttering to himself about the list on his clipboard. When I checked on

him just a minute ago, he was down in the warehouse humming a happy tune while counting

fidget spinners. He is remarkably spry for a man of his advanced age—a miracle that he

attributes to “living like every day is Christmas.”

Santa Claus