One on One With ‘Bernard’

Talks with Santa’s Head Elf

By Gina Dostler

creg elf 2It was cold up here at the North Pole, a beyond shivering -40 degrees below and from what I could tell, partly cloudy. As I stared out the backseat window of a covered white sleigh clipping at a rate of about 120 kilometers, I noticed piles of snow underneath us, the headlights barely clearing the fog in front of us.

It’s been night-time at the top of the world for almost three months now and with the winter solstice days away there is still another three months left before the sun decides to peak into this wonderland.

But all that didn’t matter. At that very moment, I was sitting next to Santa’s right hand elf, the Elf, a mischievous short guy with a great sense of humor and an alarmingly big nose who wished to remain anonymous.

Asked to go by the moniker Bernard, I laughingly agreed as he finished telling me the latest elf joke about a bird, a lighter and roasting chestnuts. His bright green suit and stylish red hat sprang out in Technicolor detail against the all white interior. I couldn’t help but notice two bright silver bells hanging off the tip of his shoes.

It’s coming down to the wire at the North Pole with Santa Claus practicing his baritone “Ho Ho Ho!”

After receiving an email from Bernard, I was authorized by the jolly ‘ol fella himself to come up and participate in the spectacular gala they lovingly call the Rockin’ Rudolph Pre-Launch Celebration. I thought this a great time to ask a few questions about life in Santa’s village.

Q:  Whoa, what in the world am I riding in?

A:  Quite a ride, isn’t it? You are sitting in a 2013 Super Sky Sport SR6 8.2 liter V8 ASD (All Sled Drive) sleigh with 3300 RP. Being that it is 24,906 miles just to go around the world and with stops at millions of households, Santa likes to keep his sleighs under 80 million miles so he trades them in yearly. He has a hangar filled with a couple dozen of the newest models, using them for test flights throughout the year.

Q:  I take it that it doesn’t run on regular gasoline, does it?

A:  It runs on radiant energy, which as we all know is abundant free energy available to all. Santa was a big fan of Tesla in the day, allowing the scientist to experiment with maximizing the flow of Christmas spirit into his sleigh. Other elf scientists have taken over for Tesla, improving the innovation so that today free, clean energy powers not only our sleighs, but our toy factories, homes and businesses all over the North Pole.

Q:  What other differences are found from the old fashion sleighs of years past?

A:  The trunk space is incredible, something akin to Mary Poppins’ handbag and allows Santa a compact ride across the world, reducing air resistance and creating a smoother ride. There was a bit of a ruckus last year when Prancer, Dancer and the whole gang decided to retire. It was Vixen’s wiz kid that collaborated with a Japanese company to engineer holographic reindeers to lead the sleigh. Believe me, Santa was a bit upset about the whole thing. But after finding himself flying sans reindeer pies, he immediately saw the benefits and embraced the new venture.

Q:  What’s the community like at the North Pole?

A:  Think Whoville meets downtown Manhattan. Tons of tiny people walking up and down streets lined with huge skyscrapers. Santa Corp heads the downtown, its tall candy-striped building topped by a blinking red light, an icon to everyone living at the North Pole. But despite the hubbub of the city, a very close and friendly community exists amongst the Polers. It’s a great place to live. The original toy factories still continue production at Santa’s Village and with it being only 10 straight miles away via the Polar Express, it’s the perfect commute.

Q:  Were you affected by the downturn in the housing market?

A:  The North Pole operates on its own economy so we were spared the crisis. Our GSP (Gross Santa Products) is actually on the increase with the multitude of good girls and boys on the rise. The production of toys couldn’t be better and we look forward to continued success. In fact, we’ve had a labor shortage and had to employ gnomes and fairies and they’ve settled in nicely. The gnomes have taken a liking to Green Garden Boulevard and have lined the lawns in that community with their little domes. Housing sales are way up and communities like Candy Cane Lane and Gumdrop Road are the coveted places to live.

Q:  What are the schools like at the North Pole?

A:  All the schools are highly respected and are the training ground for elves to find the talents they possess. The school then nurtures these traits and allows the children to develop at their own pace. The teachers are highly skilled and rotated around the different communities so all can share in their wisdom. We want happy innovative elves that can think for themselves. We’ve had a 100% success rate and it shows.

Q: Are you happy in your new role as Santa’s Head Elf?

A:  Absolutely. It’s always a jolly time with the Clauses. But there are certain challenges.  Collecting Santa’s requests has always been the main objective of this position. The big red guy’s mind is constantly firing off ideas and they don’t always make it out of his head. So I’m still learning the ropes in interpreting gestures and under-the-radar clues to his demands. I think I’m happiest when updating the Naughty/Nice list along with keeping the shops running smoothly and taking the heat if anything goes wrong. Basically, whatever Santa needs or wants, I get. I consider myself his personal go-to elf and though at times challenging, it just doesn’t get any better than this.