LAURA DIAZ DE ARCE
No matter how much you love Christmas, you have to admit that the story surrounding the most important figure of the season is supremely fucked up. No, not Jesus, he only shows up on the Nativity, but Saint Breaking and Entering. He not only runs around one night a year giving gifts to “good children” (although rich kids somehow always get better gifts), but those gifts are manufactured by conscripted labor force. It’s been one hell of a capitalist plot to paint Santa’s workshop of Elves as some happy-go-lucky set of minuscule people gladly manufacturing a doll that shits on queue for a first grade bully in Nebraska.
Representations of Santa’s North Pole Sweat Shop make it seem like a peaceful utopia probably concocted up by the Koch Brothers. Here, we have a mythical benevolent boss (Santa – often an old white man, go figure) served by an underclass who gleefully answer to his every whim. They work year around, toiling over toys with little use or value to their God-Like magical, schnapps[i] drinking boss until their little fingers fall off. Its gross, classist propaganda at best.
But who’s to say Snowdrip or Evergreen or whatever generically named Elf won’t end up feeling the Bern and realize that their situation sucks. Short of a full-scale proletariat revolution that turns Santa into Kringle cookies, here’s some stuff they can bargain for in their union contract.
SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS
We’re talking about a people here that are assumed to work sunup to sundown through the year, and closer to the holidays put in extra hours for the uptick in demand. When do they have time to have hobbies? Exercise? A Family? A binge marathon of The Walking Dead? No one’s work should take them away from having things to do outside of work. And yes, the forty-hour work week standard has been heavily eroded away by American Businesses which will now nickle and dime you if you spend an extra five minutes out of a half-hour lunch.
Instead, let Santa’s overworked “helpers” go for a European-style thirty-six hour work week with a full hour lunch break. They’ll be more focused and won’t have to take surreptitious trips to the bathroom to dick around on their phones in order to take a mental break.
On top of that, paid vacation time. Six weeks minimum. What’s the point of working for a holiday if you never get one.
Environmentally Friendly and Safe Working Conditions
The North Pole is eroding from global warming and we’ve got to do our part! Plus you know what really takes the comfort and joy out of comfort and joy? Plastic Fumes. No one should get cancer over a Transformer figurine, not even Michael Bay. OSHA this place to the teeth and switch to renewable energy.
While we’re at it, get some space-heaters. It’s cold up here ya red-coated sonofabitch!
A Living Wage
Classifying your workforce as “volunteer” “unpaid intern” or “contractor” isn’t going to cut it anymore. Plus, the cost of living here is ridiculous – shipping to the arctic, even on a one horse open sleigh, is hellishly expensive. Base salary needs to to start at 15 USD or mistletoe berries or reindeer droppings or whatever the currency is up here, and get adjusted annually for cost of living. I don’t care if putting tracks on a toy train is “unskilled labor”. Labor is labor, and if it’s shit you don’t want to do yourself then you better pay fairly for it. Santa’s not lacking for funds with that sweet Coca Cola endorsement deal. No excuses.
In the North Pole, the government and Santa’s manufacturing conglomerate are one and the same. It’s enough to give Ayn Rand a good-ole fashion fountainhead, so employee healthcare is universal healthcare. Healthcare should cover the work-related (shoulder strain from hammering in the indents of Lego pieces), essential and emergency care. And no, Santa does not get to make decisions on anyone’s Birth Control, because even a man with a naughty or nice list doesn’t give two coals about anyone’s reproductive decisions. It’s covered, in full. People deserve to not freak out over their finances over a strange mole, lump or a missed period.
What You Should Do
If you haven’t gotten the allegory by now I don’t know what kind of garland you’re burning. Be ethical if you shop this holiday season. Don’t buy from slave labor or prison labor. Shop local when you can. And don’t buy additional cheap crap that is going to get shoved in a drawer as a stocking stuffer that comes from exploited labor.
And fucking pay your union dues. Snowdrop doesn’t have all day.
[i] Turns out in parts of Europe, they don’t always leave Santa milk & cookies but alcohol like Schnapps of Guinness. Mom and Dad probably want to cut out sugar but don’t mind a nip while placing gifts under the tree.
Laura Diaz de Arce is a writer and general malcontent from South Florida. She mostly writes for Smoking Mirror Press in between angry letters to her congressmen. Her story ‘Without Him (And Him, And Him) There is No Me’ will be appearing in the upcoming Tragedy Queens: Stories Inspired by Lana Del Rey & Sylvia Plath CLASH Books anthology.
You can find her complaining in ALL CAPS on twitter @QuetaAuthor.