, Derry, New Hampshire

December 12, 2013

Children learn how to be the perfect elf

Young elves are ready for action

By Julie Huss

---- — DERRY — Calling all wannabe elves: Santa Claus may have a job for you someday.

But it requires some training.

About 40 children went to Derry Public Library last week to take part in an Elf-in-Training workshop. Children learned the fine points of being an elf and what it takes to be part of the holiday team led by Santa.

Upon arrival, elf trainees signed in, received a special name tag, and learned how to wrap a perfect gift, sing songs and make an elf hat.

Children's librarian Evan Bush donned his own elf hat and took charge of the workshop, filled with stories about elves and instructions on just what it takes to be one of Santa's sidekicks.

"What do elves need to know to help Santa?" he asked his young charges.

Skills on the list included being able to listen well during a story and being a good friend.

"And one other thing all good elves need to do is sing Christmas carols," Bush said. "By the end of this program, everyone will be an excellent elf just in time for Christmas."

Bush said he might have once been an elf in a previous life.

"I think I was born an elf, but then left the North Pole to move to Georgia," he said.

Five-year-old Audrey Labbe took her time creating a felt ornament to take home to hang on her Christmas tree. This was one skill that was important for anyone wanting to learn to be an elf.

"And to be a good helper for Santa," she said.

Erick Mojica, 5, said an elf must have a steady hand and a flair for art.

"That's to be able to paint the toys," he said.

Kathy Lane joined Bush and other staff members to teach the elf skills needed for the season.

She liked what she was seeing in this crop of young elves in training.

"You guys are all passing the test," Lane told her class. "I'm giving you all an A in your elf training."

At the end of the workshop, children received a graduation certificate, declaring they were officially trained elves.

Library staff member Meryle Zusman said this was the first year for the elf training event and it was a big success.

"It's going to be an annual tradition," she said.