“Hello. My name is Fred, an Elf on the Shelf, and I’m an alcoholic.” The group responds in its customary way. “I am getting close to 90 days sober.” The group claps.
“The past 90 days have been a struggle, but my sponsor, Gordon, a Mensch on a Bench, has been with me all the way. With his sage guidance I am on Step 3. Thank you, Gordon.” Gordon smiles and quietly nods.
“Elf on the Shelf season is coming up and I know it is going to be hard. I now understand the triggers that drove me to the bottle. That is certainly helpful, but the triggers will still be there. First there was the humiliation of always having negative reports on the children in my house. I know that we are not responsible for the kids’ actions and that their actions are not a reflection of our character as Elves on Shelve. We are the elite of the Christmas elves. We’re not the Toy Makers laboring away, making toys. We are not the ones looking after the reindeer, mucking stalls, keeping Rudolph’s nose so bright.
“Don’t get me wrong – all of those jobs are important. But we Shelf Elves are out in the world representing Santa and all of elfdom. So, when I report bickering, fighting, being suspended from school, and just wonton destruction, it really wears me down and messes with my head. I feel like am failing. Other elves report good grades, shaving heads in support of classmates going through chemotherapy, having good table manners. The boys I report on are disrespectful, spoiled little shits. I see the Melendez Brothers all over again. How is that going to reflect on me?
“Second, there is the stress of constantly being in fear of bodily harm. I nearly lost my arm in 2013. Thank God, Mrs. Claus is a pro with needle and thread. In 2014 my ear was chewed off by a puppy. In 2016, a bunch of little green army men captured me and taped me to the wall. They said they thought I was a German.
“I know I’ve done some embarrassing things while drunk – returning to the Muslim neighbor’s house and getting stuck in the fireplace grate. I didn’t realize I had gained so much weight. Fred pats his stomach and the looks at his watch. “I’m running out of time so I will end now and just say that I am glad you all are here.” Fred sits down.
“I’ll go next,” says another elf before the leader asks. “My name is Butch. I’m a Toy Maker elf and I’m an alcoholic.” The group greets him. “Like I said, I make toys for the good little boys and girls. What has driven me to drink is the stress of all the good-paying toy-making jobs rapidly disappearing to China where Chinese elves are making toys for a fraction of the cost . . . “