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Words by Rebecca Campbell      Art by Aron Simkins

Elf Discharge Letter

Dear Mr. Patrick and Mrs. Rebecca Campbell,


It has come to our attention that Ruby Ann Campbell, born December 29, 2005, and Henry Patrick Campbell, born September 15, 2007, no longer believe in Santa Claus. Therefore, I’m writing to regretfully inform you that the Man in Red will no longer be delivering them presents. Please know, this has nothing to do with Henry’s inclusion on the naughty list, Christmas 2016.


Unfortunately, we’ve been forced to send out a lot of these discharge letters lately. Most parents aren’t surprised to receive them, but that doesn’t make this task any less difficult. Anyway, as elves, we’re not privy to why children decide to discontinue their belief, so please refrain from requesting such information. However, if you believe a clerical mistake has been made, please notify us by mail before our open-enrollment deadline on December 21, 2018. That’s the absolute latest we will be able to resolve any disputes or account changes for this calendar year.


Incidentally, Santa has also requested that elves no longer check-in on Ruby and Henry or make home visits leading up to Christmas. This includes ceasing all nice or naughty list recommendations—for obvious reasons. On a personal note, we’ve enjoyed your children and truly wish them the best. Ruby has a heart of gold and has been a believer for a long time. It’s only recently that her belief diminished. In fact, just last year, we thoroughly appreciated the letter she wrote Santa and us. Ruby’s been a joy to observe. She’s kind, forgiving, honest, and good. Even though her belief is gone, she still has a child’s heart.


Henry, on the other hand, has been a bit more challenging. While he has the propensity to “turn up the nice” as Christmas approaches, Henry’s always walked a fine line between our two lists. Put simply: his heart is willing, but his flesh is weak. Very weak. Don’t fret, though. Santa’s always been sensitive to this trait—as demonstrated by Henry’s one-and-only inclusion on the naughty list. In full disclosure, all of us elves have spent countless hours questioning Santa’s Henry decisions, or “Henry-cisions,”as we call them. What can we say? The big guy’s a big softy! In fact, Henry’s case actually set a precedent in 2011 when we suggested he be placed on the naughty list. But being the jolly push-over he is, Santa decreed no child under four could be put on the naughty list without elves witnessing a mother’s tears no less than thrice as a result of miscreant behavior. Honestly, it’s Henry’s unpredictable conduct that has made him so fun to observe—except when he’s watching YouTube. We hate that. Anyway, unlike Ruby, Henry seems to despise childhood and all its limitations. We sincerely hope he finds more joy as an adult.


Well, I apologize this letter is longer than the standard discharge notification. I suppose we’ve grown fond of your children and are finding it hard to cut the Christmas cord, so to speak. But, those are the yule rules. We hope you continue to maintain the magic of the season, as well as the element of surprise we’ve worked so hard to create.


Warmest regards,

Simon Blushoes

Discharge Manager, North Pole

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