We’ve already learned from Seth McFarland’s “Christmas Time is Killing Us” (back in 4/9/2016) that there’s too much to do for the elves. But in that version Santa is the elves’ shop steward and suffers their fate as well.
In Matt Groening’s competition, Futurama, the elves are now Neptunians who have it really tough even with new masters. “The Christmas Elves Song” is an appropriate round of everlasting refrain, but pepped up with merciless inspiration–i guess those menials deserve their lot in life. Think Sinclair’s The Jungle.
Dan Crow sings songs for children. He’s contributed to TV and movies (including the Big Show: Disney). So i’m delighted to see some artful agenda in his “I’m an Elf” song. Hey kids! It would suck to be at the receiving end of those endless wish list letters! And you better watch out! Big Brother Santa is monitoring your elf work work work work work work…. (I never considered the dry skin problem.)
A simple message, a profound statement: “I am Santa’s Helper” is Sufjan Stevens electronica. In a brief time, he posits the dichotomy of the elf, a lovable ally/an overlooked tool. Maybe i’ve had too much college, but this speaks to me.
The Funny Music Project (FuMP) brings us many treasures each year. Here’s one from Marc Gunn of the Brobdingnagian Bards (a Renn faire duo based out of Austin). “The Celtic Christmas Elf Conscription Song” is based on the ‘Recruiter Sergeant,’ an Irish folk song. They know a thing or two about being impressed into someone else’s trouble. Although i suspect this has more to do with co-opting that timeless tradition of elves into something crass and commercial (that isn’t Tolkien).
Okay, we’ve reached Labor Day on my calendar. This will be our 122nd such observance of the muesli that built this infrastructure, which predates the rest of the world’s May Day by 10 years. So there.
Are the elves satisfied without contract? Are they genetically disposed to such endless workloads? Do we care?
Try the manifesto “Elf’s Lament” by Barenaked Ladies. If BnL’s list of demands outlining indentured servitude without union doesn’t foment a face-to-face about conditions… well, i guess we’ll talk about violence as a means to an end later on. At least feel guilty about your long list, kids.
Well, there’s that creepy Big Brother “The Elf by the Shelf” who is INSIDE YOUR HOUSE RIGHT NOW!! The Kids Christmas Party Band attempt to minimize the creep factor with a bouncy little number. But yergh, stop helicoptering.
Off Santa’s sweat shop property–but campus adjacent–is “Elf U.” They learn a valuable trade here, just like they would locked away in any other state-run institution. Sadly, no elocution classes (still sound like chipmunks). Daniel Dennis adds a bit o’ spice here to make it funny, but i really like the chant ‘Elf U! Elf U!’ ’cause it sounds naughty.
It’s all about work ethic for these elves at Christmas!
Songs for Children lays it on thick (‘No time for shirking!’ ‘When you work and sing it’s not a chore!’) in “Santa’s Workshop Song.” Build low, sweet chariots, Santa’s for to carry them to homes….
‘We work all day. To us it’s play.’ So goes Elf Magic’s rocking guitar riffing tantalizing repeated refrain in their “Getting Things Ready for Christmas.” Even the rap battle interlude overlaps WORK! PLAY! until you can’t tell the difference. (Check out the quality control elf—brrr.)
Documenting the chores like it’s a hella labor, The Elf Cottage Elves warn us what it’s really like “At Santa’s Workshop.” But somehow ‘so much to do’ becomes ‘so much fun.’ Freedom is slavery; ignorance is strength.
The Ghost Script singing “We are Elves” also reminds me of 1984 with the dehumanized looks and electronic marching music. Some aphorisms got by me, but i think there’s something about sleep being for the weak. Damn.
1985’s Santa Claus, The Movie flopped partly because some fantasies shouldn’t have big budgets and special effects. The elves scene “Making Toys” is annoyingly frightening, and doesn’t mesh with Henry Mancini’s song. Quite upliftingly symphonic, though.
Even though elves are a Victorian notion mostly adorning advertising, they have been confused with chipmunks. Chorusing with helium afflicted voices, they chime in (with odd Manchester accents) with Bob Pryde for “Santa’s Little Helpers.” Frightening, man.
We’ve been feed a log of bologna for decades, declaring that the special species that effects our gifts does so out of love and joy. Some cracks in this utopian facade appear as early as 1964 with the NBC broadcast of ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ in which–during the song “We Are Santa’s Elves“–the laborers are mischievous, and easily distracted during their team-building exercise. Bunch of sixth-graders, basically.
Mostly we get propaganda as with Mother Goose Club for Songs’s “Here at Santa’s Workshop.” The culturally diverse crew (including a Mexican mouse minion) fantasizes how cool it would be to be elves making toys nonstop (‘so cool!’). Quick, park the two-to-three year olds in front the imagery! (And yes, there is a song buried in there somewhere.)
Being with Santa? Helping get ready? Who doesn’t want a job?! Teresa Jennings has the big grade school musical number “I Want to be an Elf” here very nearly discernible by the Carillon Elementary kids. Are you pointing at me?
The Learning Station at least mentions the ‘joy of children everywhere.’ “Me and Santa’s Elves” may teach poor grammar, but it inspires with new age music, kinda like Enya. Menial 9 to 5 is full of fun sounds: rat a tat tat.
More caffeinatedly Golden Films (those guys that produce low budget Disney animations because the original story is in public domain) shovel out “Christmas Elves” (based–ha ha–on Hans Christian Anderson’s ‘Shoemaker’ tale), wherein we learn in the theme song that elves are more like drama camp cheerleaders with enough Ritalin in them to cause seizures. Boi-i-ing!