Mrs. Claus surprised me with a Writer’s Day visit, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled.
“I knew from reading your blog that you were off today, and since Nick is so busy getting ready for Christmas, I thought it would be the perfect day to go to Maine,” Mrs. Claus explained to this Modern Philosopher as we sipped Snapple in the dining room.
While Mrs. Claus normally prefers to remain the woman behind the jolly man, she does step into the spotlight whenever she wants to promote one of her charitable causes.
“This year, I’ve started the Elf Literacy Foundation (ELF) because it’s come to my attention that too many of Santa’s Elves don’t know how to read,” she told me with a warm smile that would’ve melted the snow out in the driveway. “The Elves at The North Pole are manual laborers with very little education. Sure, they can build any toy and use any tool, but if you asked them to read from the instruction manual of any toy or tool, they’d be hard pressed comply with your request.”
I was shocked to discover that Elves had such low literacy rates. I always assumed they were well educated because they were so skilled at making toys. Now that I think about it, however, that like of Deep Thought doesn’t make any sense.
“Not all Elves are illiterate, Austin,” Mrs. Claus continued as she offered me a Christmas cookie baked in The North Pole Bakery. “It’s Santa’s Elves who have an issue with reading. I believe it’s because they are thrown into a life of labor at such an early age, and education is not a priority.”
So what is ELF doing to help the average North Pole Elf?
“I have used my influence with the boss at Santa’s Workshop to add a one hour break to every Elf’s schedule for reading classes,” she informed me with a proud smile. “The Elves were a little resistant to the idea at first, but once they realized it meant an hour away from working, they were magically filled with the reading spirit.”
According to Mrs. Claus, ELF has helped Elf Literacy to increase exponentially over the past few months. Book clubs are springing up all over The North Pole, The North Pole Library is now open seven days a week with extended hours, and more kiddos will be getting books with their Christmas presents this year.
“The Elves love reading so much that they are giving their favorite books to the good little girls and boys on their production list,” she explained. “Santa didn’t like the Elves adding gifts to his sleigh at first, but once I had a chat with my husband about it, he was totally on board.”
How does Mrs. Claus find the time to teach so many Elves to read? I’m sure there must be thousands employed at Santa’s Workshop this time of year.
“My brother-in-law Fred has been a real angel,” Mrs. Claus said, referring to Santa Claus’ brother and friend of this blog. “He can be a real troublemaker at times, but he has been totally behind helping the Elves through ELF. Fred has brought in Santa’s Reindeer and several Snowmen to help with the teaching.”
“It was a real eye opener, Austin, when I realized that the Reindeer and Snowmen could read, but the Elves could not,” she told me as she wiped a tear from her eye. “ELF was born the day I discovered that dirty little North Pole secret.”
Mrs. Claus assured me that her husband had no idea the Elves couldn’t read. “He told me it just never came up during the hiring process. Elves were hired based on their toy building ability, skill with tools, and willingness to work long hours for very little pay.”
Mrs. Claus promises that a North Pole populated by well read Elves will not mess with the status quo.
It sounds like this story has a happy ending, Modern Philosophers!