At this moment, countless elves are feverishly hammering away to fill the Christmas gift demands of people all over the world. It’s an ugly business.
From the garage, where Santa’s sled is getting a final tuneup, to the paddocks, where reindeer are being given preflight enemas, to the last elf on the assembly line, placing “batteries not included” stickers on items, the entire North Pole is a hive of hysterical activity.
Imagine the elves. These poor creatures — of whom Sarah McLachlan or some other celebrity has yet to make a commercial decrying their exploited status — will slave right up to the last minute to turn out billions of perfect Christmases.
I have been a major cause of elf pain. Christmas 1961. In the nights leading up to that particular Big One, I lay awake imagining where my anticipated spear gun was in the production process.
I gave little thought to the poor pointy-eared chump making it. All I cared about was that he or she got it right. It had to be a real spear gun, capable of piercing and dragging behind a fishing boat either a deep sea monster or my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Miller.
Granted, I was just a kid back then, and what I wanted for Christmas was completely unrealistic. By Christmas 1962, I had grown up and instead wanted a dozen real U.S. Navy depth charges.
I was at the peak of my disregard for the welfare of Santa’s elves, with a Christmas demand list topping 100 items — including a jet fighter, timber wolf, Roy Rogers boots, a fully outfitted medieval dungeon, G.I. Joe, flamethrower and more.
Here’s the weird part: Through the years, either I’ve developed more regard for the labor of elves, or I’ve just stopped wanting so many things.
In the past week, my wife, three daughters, several grandchildren and friends, have made inquiries regarding what I would like to receive for Christmas.
I can’t think of a single thing. To avoid giving the matter any real (and pointless) thought, I usually mutter “slippers,” “batteries,” “Band-Aids” or even “medicinal weed.”
They always get frustrated. “But that’s what we got you LAST Christmas. Can’t you think of something else? A REAL Christmas present? This year, the grandkids plan to go in together to get you something you really, really want.”
What I really, really want. Well, I want to play guitar like Stevie Ray Vaughan, I want to pilot an SR-71 Blackbird, and I would love to set fire to the White House. But those are unrealistic Christmas expectations. There aren’t enough elves in the world to make any of that happen.
It’s easier for me to think of what to give other people for Christmas than it is to come up with ideas for myself. I’ll give my wife a week of good holiday behavior. Sonny will get booze. The neighbors will get an explosion-free holiday.
Me. What I want doesn’t take any elves at all. All I want for Christmas is to sit and watch my grandchildren go nuts.
Who knew Christmas could be so simple? Consider the elves. Take it a little easier this Christmas and focus on what really matters.