On Christmas Elves and The Importance of the Alphabet

Dec 4 2011

I don’t know how to tell you this, but Google doesn’t know everything.

I know. I feel your pain. It was, after all, only a few days ago that I was forced to face the bitter truth myself. See, one of my preschool boys, inspired by who knows what bit of Christmas lore, asked me a very important question.

“Mama?” Cai said, all big blue eyes and inquisitive, impish stare, “Do Kwissmas elves know the alphabet?”

Do Christmas elves know the alphabet? I had no idea, so I did what any modern mom would do; I asked Google. Then I fell off of my chair because Google didn’t know. And I hardly know what to do in a world where Google (who’s identical, really, to that kid in your sixth grade class who sat in the middle of the front row and raised his hand so very high at every question posed by the teacher that it’s frankly a Wonder of the World he didn’t dislocate or pull something, all the while panting “Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Pick me! Pick me!”) doesn’t know the answers. I was dismayed.

Fortunately for Cai and me, and probably thousands upon thousands of people out there searching Google right this second, I wasn’t cast adrift upon the Google Sea. Oh, no. I have another source of irrefutably accurate information. Her name is Facebook. Due entirely to the diligence and knowledge of this blog’s Facebook friends**, I’m writing today with clear evidence that Christmas elves do, in fact, know the alphabet.

Cai: “Mama? Do you know yet? Do Kwissmas elves know the alphabet?”

Me, raising my hand so very high: “Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Pick me! Pick me!”

Cai: “Uh, Mah-ahm. I alweddy asked you. Duh.”

Me: “Oh, yeah. Sorry about that. But, Cai Cai! Christmas elves DO know the alphabet! Next to being short and having pointy ears, knowing their ABC’s is the most important of all Christmas Elf Qualifications. And guess what else, Cai? They don’t just know our alphabet! I heard that elves know the alphabets of every single language. The combined alphabet is called the ELFabet.”

I was a veritable font of Elfabet knowledge.

Cai: “Whoa.”

Me: “Right?”

Cai: “I bet they’re in preschool for a weally, weally, weally wong time!”

I bet they are, dude!

I also bet that by now you, the reader, are wondering if this entire post is seriously about the Elfabet.

Seriously, seriously; it is. Also, it’s going to get really technical here really fast. This is the only warning you’re gonna get, people; save yourselves.

For Your Reading Pleasure:
The Complete List of Evidence that Christmas Elves Know the Alphabet
(Ahem. The ELFabet.)

1. Nice and Naughty List Procedure
As everyone knows, Santa is detail-oriented and meticulous. I mean, check out his Nice and Naughty lists. That right jolly old elf has some serious alphabetizing skills and crazy good penmanship, not to mention a mind like a steal trap.

Now, I think it’s clear that the toy-making elves must refer to the Nice List to complete their toy orders. That’s already some hard evidence for knowing their ABCD’s.

However, it’s a little-known fact that there is also a Naughty or Nice Preliminary Checklist which is used to determine who gets automatic Nice List placement and who needs remedial effort. Obviously, it’s Santa’s job to check every list twice. But for those folks needing more than two nice-or-naughty checks, well, Santa’s gonna need some help, and that’s where the literate elves come in. I’m not saying Santa’s a quitter or anything. He just is a really busy guy with a lot on his plate, and if he can outsource some of the heavy lifting when it comes to list checking, well, good for him.

Exhibit A:

2. The Tab A / Slot B Hypothesis
Y’all, the North Pole is not Ikea. Christmas elves have existed forever (or, according to Wikipedia, 155 years, but who’s really counting?), which means they were around way, way before Ikea took words like “Tab A” and “Slot B” totally out of circulation in favor of pictorial assembly instructions.

Elves are old.  They’re old-old. They probably started reading toy-assembly instructions in hieroglyphics and cave-painting languages before moving on to learn more modern languages. I know; we can hardly remember a time when reading was essential for assembling anything, but I lived during those dinosaur days, so I can bear witness. The operative word here is “read.” The elves had to read directions.

Exhibit B: Seriously, it’s not like the Santa’s Workshop toys came with this…

3. Gift Tags
Every year, elves use their prolific knowledge of the alphabet to write millions of names on gift tags. Santa, after all, would get serious writer’s cramp if he had to both sign and address every single one. Come on, guys; let’s be realistic.

Exhibit C:

(Psst… download these and other Christmas tags for free from Terra Verde Online.)

4. Alphabet blocks and fridge magnets.
I guess an elf with an excellent work-ethic and a strong sense of design could learn to make alphabet blocks and fridge magnets by mimicking shapes without learning the alphabet. For quality control purposes, though, and to ensure that, um, terrible mistakes don’t happen, it’s probably a good idea to make sure the elves can read what they write.

Exhibit D: You have never seen these blocks under your Christmas tree…

(Probably true, but no elf wants to get fired for accidentally saying it.)

Aaaaaaannnnddd… whew! We’re at the end.

There you have it, folks; all the evidence that elves are, in fact, the masters of the Elfabet.

Except for one more thing.  I have it on very good authority that elves have three favorite letters:

J       O       Y

Which seems like a very good place, indeed, to leave you this December day.

Wishing you and your family deep and abiding joy,

Beth

~~~

**Thanks to all of you on Facebook who took pity on a 5-year-old and his mama by answering this essential Christmas question! Anyone who helps me play elfin games with my kid has a special place in my heart. Specifically, thank you and credit goes to Elizabeth of My This n That Life, Maria, Jessica, Joetta, Kristen, Jennifer Dawn McLucas, Jim, Genevieve West, Davida, Leanne, Sinead, The Simple Homemaker, and, of course, my very own Greg. (Psst… if I didn’t get your blog link in here, send it to me, STAT; it’s only not linked ’cause I’m a giant dork. The end.)