Offcuts: Wooden it be great...

Oh, man! It’s so busy around here I need to stop for a minute and catch my breath. I suppose now is as good a time as any to file that report the Big Man asked me to give you. You know, the Big Man, the friendly bearded guy in charge of the shop.

No, not Norm; Santa.

Let me start at the beginning. My name is Fitzgerald – Elf Fitzgerald – and I’m the foreman of the Wooden Toy Division here at the North Pole. You may have already guessed, but I’m an elf. Santa Claus is my boss.

As you might imagine, this part of the world is pretty quiet most of the time. That’s probably why Superman decided to locate his Fortress of Solitude just down the road. His real estate agent must’ve shown him the property in the off-season, but I gotta tell you, it sure isn’t the off-season now. Anyhow, with that super-hearing of his, Clark’s ears must be ringing with the sound of all these tools going around the clock. Yep, I called him Clark. You think we don’t know about the Clark Kent thing? We know about everybody – even you. I mean, we know if you’ve been bad or good, for goodness sake!

But enough about the guy in the blue suit; back to the guy in the red suit.
When Santa put me in charge of the Wooden Toy Division a few years ago, we weren’t exactly the busiest shop in the complex. We’d always held our own alongside the Metal Toy Division, but then along came plastic. Pretty soon there were computer chips and electronic toys. I swear, when all those space toys became popular, Elf Vader went down to the dark side. Fortunately, every kid who got a ray gun or rocket ship could remember a set of building blocks or some wooden toy they had once loved. I guess I don’t need to tell you folks that whenever someone develops a warm feeling about wood, it never goes away.

Mmmmm. Smell that sawdust? What a wonderful reminder that, lately, the demand for wooden toys is on the upswing. With huge orders for wood dollhouses and furniture, chess sets, wooden trains, cars and trucks, swing sets and jungle gyms and thousands of other things, we can barely keep up. In fact, my assistant Viss and I run the shop around the clock. Frankly, we don’t know if we’ll finish everything by the time the sleigh pulls away from the loading dock, especially in light of the belt tightening ordered by Santa’s business manager Elf Cheapo. I hear the same story from Elf Segundo down in the Tool Division. We need reinforcements, and that gives me an idea!

Maybe some of you folks could pitch in and help us meet our quotas. You could make yo-yos or wagons or whatever you like. You can give them to your own kids or grandkids, and if you don’t have little ones of your own I’ll bet there’s a toy drive right in your own hometown. What deserving youngster wouldn’t be thrilled to get something lovingly crafted in real wood right in a neighbor’s workshop?
Whoa, I’m really excited now! I want every one of you to have a joyous holiday season, but I’d better get back to work, and maybe you should, too. I had hoped to continue your tour of the facility by turning you over to my assistant, but it looks like he’s not around.

Apparently, Elf Viss has left the building.

Elf Fitzgerald learned the hard way never to lick a pump handle, flagpole or the side of a jointer in the middle of winter. An elf-taught woodworker, Fitzgerald lives at the North Pole.

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