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Published: Tuesday, 12/13/2011

Students fill out applications to work as an elf for Santa

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Second-grader Ariel Swerlein, left, measures classmate Elle Axe, right, in order to make sure that she reaches the height requirement, 4-foot-6 and under, for an elf to be hired at Santa's workshop . Second-grader Ariel Swerlein, left, measures classmate Elle Axe, right, in order to make sure that she reaches the height requirement, 4-foot-6 and under, for an elf to be hired at Santa's workshop .
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Candy cane maker, gingerbread baker, gift wrapper, navigator.

Elf apps all.

In response to a mock newspaper ad (Elves Wanted Immediately), Dorr Elementary School students spent Monday morning filling out job applications for seasonal work as Santa's helpers (subordinate clauses?).

During the multistep process, youngsters delighted in donning a stubbly beard and pointy ears for a photo session. With holiday-color crayons, they drew pictures (elf, er, self-portraits) of what they would look like as employees at #1 Candy Cane Lane, North Pole, Alaska.

They made ID badges, perfect to gain entrance to the grand toyland known as Santa's Workshop.

They measured head to toe — checking it once, checking it twice — to make sure they meet the elf-job height requirement (4-foot-6 or under).

According to the elf-wanted notice, Santa is seeking small people (who can curl their toes; who look good in green and red) for kitchen, workshop, reindeer barn, and office job openings, including stuffed animal designer, doll maker, knitter, and list checker.

Second-grader Jaiden Ortiz holds up her security badge for Santa's workshop in case she is hired after going through the application process to be Santa's elf in Kathy Zeitler's class at Dorr Street Elementary. Second-grader Jaiden Ortiz holds up her security badge for Santa's workshop in case she is hired after going through the application process to be Santa's elf in Kathy Zeitler's class at Dorr Street Elementary.
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Not much interest was shown in navigator. Students say that's a job for a GPS unit, not an elf.

Second-grade teacher Kathy Zeit­ler cleverly connects elf apps with reading, writing, spelling, math, art, and geography lessons.

"They don't realize all the skills they are practicing," said the teacher in the Springfield Schools' district.

Technology had a key role, too. A special computer program assisted youngsters with job application letters. And with such a lovely holiday intro, too. "First, Yule log on …"

Oh what fun.

Job applicants nodded yes, no when asked if elves listen to "wrap" music when they work or whether elves get paid in "jingle bills."

And they asked their own elf questions, such as "What happens if you can't tie a bow?"

Some were more determined to get picked for the job than others; one wrote that he wants to work in the kitchen with Mrs. Claus, but might be willing to pick up reindeer poop. You gotta start somewhere …

Throughout, the elf app process was festooned with the excitement and wide-eyed wonder of children who believe in Santa and in reindeer who really know how to fly.

Ah yes, but not everyone is eager to dash off to the North Pole. Some youngsters politely asked if, instead, they could work out of their own kitchens. After all, they said, they want to be home for Christmas.

Kids at this age? Brutally honest.

An "advertisement" in the local newspaper glued in by second grade teacher Kathy Zeitler was available for children to read in order to apply to be an elf in Santa's workshop. An "advertisement" in the local newspaper glued in by second grade teacher Kathy Zeitler was available for children to read in order to apply to be an elf in Santa's workshop.
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Consider Harun Musa. This 7-year-old would rather skip the out-of-state elf scene. "Dear Santa, No thank you. I don't want to be your elf. I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I don't want to leave my family. Would it help if I make gingerbread at home? Maybe on Christmas day you can pick it up. Love, Harun."

And, too, the creativity of kids in the classroom? Off the charts.

Joshua Brunner, 7, sat quietly, thinking, thinking about elves and reindeer and Santa. Seems he is concerned about drowsy reindeer. As elf, Joshua would make a "Spiderman thingy arm band that shoots out metal web," creating a sturdy, efficient gift-delivery system. "I would make them for Santa so he could deliver toys faster and the reindeer could get some sleep cause they would not have to fly. I don't think Santa's reindeer get enough sleep."

Elfish applicants jotted down real-life job experience, perhaps explaining why several students sought positions as gingerbread makers. They have worked in their kitchens, alongside their moms (baking cookies, using elf-rising flour, etc.).

On one hand, applicants count the answer to "What is your educational background?" (Like, when did you learn the elfabet.)

"Preschool, kindergarten, first grade, second. Four. Four years of school," said Elle Axe, who wants to do elf work at her place, not at the North Pole. She asks Santa a favor: "Would you mind dropping a reindeer at my home? I have lots of space in my backyard." She said she would give it carrots and radishes.

Sidney Grohowski would head to the North Pole in the twinkling of an eye. She's can't-wait-ready for an adventure of a lifetime, soaring skyward in Santa's splendid sleigh. "But I wonder if it's bumpy," she said. "It will be dark. I know that for a fact."

Santa must work faster and faster each year, she said. "Cities get bigger. There's more and more people. More and more toys."

How on earth does he do it all?

In a flash, she answers: "It's a little sprinkle of magic."

Contact Janet Romaker at: jromaker@theblade.com or 419-724-6006.



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