Behind the scenes at the North Pole with one of Santa’s elves | Vicky Meets
Vicky meets... Reece the Elf.
• Are elves as naughty as people say they are?
Whoa, lady! We’re cheeky, I’ll grant you – mischievous even – but naughty is a label we elves don’t care for.
• My apologies, Reece! No offence intended. Let’s start again. Will you tell me a bit about your work?
Well, we help Santa in the workshop most of the year. The schedule is not for those afraid of hard graft. We start early in January, making and sourcing toys, then later in the year we move on to wrapping, averaging 100 gifts an hour – and that includes curling ribbon! By the time we get to December we’re ready to let off some steam, so that’s when some of our number go and hang out on people’s shelves. And yes; possibly get a little silly.
• Is Santa a good employer?
He’s firm but fair. He has high standards and won’t think twice about ticking you off if your work is shoddy, but he recognises and rewards hard work. I met my gift wrapping target in September and so the Big Man gave me a day pass to Butlin’s, a case of candy canes and a barrel of syrup.
• Talk me through Christmas Eve.
Oh heck, it’s bonkers! We set off at the crack of dawn on the 24th, zipping around the world’s different time zones. As well as the reindeer crew Santa takes two elves; one to navigate and one to manage the catering requirements. This year I’m on catering. Mrs Santa packs up an extensive picnic, but it’s down to me to heat things up. We use the sleigh’s turbo booster engine to warm up things like curry and spiced apple punch (non-alcoholic, of course – Santa NEVER drinks and drives). We go through all sorts of different weather and encounter all sorts of challenges, but we always get through.
• What sort of challenges?
Last year Covid presented all sorts of logistical headaches, but thanks to a big pinch of magic, hospital grade PPE and lashings of antibacterial hand gel, we did it. Mind you, we needed a long lie down afterwards – my jingle was well and truly jiggered.
• What do you do after you’ve made the final delivery?
We head back to HQ at speed. Then we give the reindeer a well-deserved bran mash and eat an enormous breakfast ourselves. Then a BIG snooze. When we wake up we exchange gifts and eat more food and play games. Santa is partial to poker, but we play for humbugs, not money.
• What is your message to boys and girls hoping for a visit from Santa?
Please go to bed without a fuss, and do tidy your rooms so that there’s nothing for Santa to trip over. Above all, please be kind to everyone. Kindness is the most powerful magic there is. If more people cottoned on to this fact the world would be a better and much happier place.
• A Track Santa’s delivery schedule: www.noradsanta.org/en