My name is Ayesha and I’m a part time elf. Technically, I’m a Drummer Girl, but I find elf catchier. If you’re a child, read no further. If you’re a grownup, then once you’re done reading this, please make sure you hide this newspaper where a child can’t reach it. The last thing I need is the kids finding out I’m not from the North Pole.
I’ve worked at Santa displays in the Jane Finch community for about half a decade now. Each year around mid November, we haul out the fairy dust and cotton fluff and paint our smiles bright in anticipation of the children’s arrivals. Each year the same ones come back a little taller.
When I started this job, I knew I would have fun with the costumes, but I didn’t anticipate how attached I would grow to the specific kids who keep coming back to Santa’s workshop year after year. The process is simple; we give them a free Santa photo and then the kids come over to the decoration station for arts and crafts. We make ornaments, keepsakes and trinkets, and sometimes we even break out the gingerbread cookies (of which I eat more than I’m proud to admit.) We guide their little hands and help them with things they can’t do, like using hot glue guns and holding scissors. Our set is so beloved that it gets so busy sometimes I can hardly move!
Over the course of my time, I’ve gotten letters from little girls addressed to my elf name, telling me their wishes. I remember kids who were once up to my knee and are now old enough to give me attitude. I’m on people’s fridges and in their hearts, and I can’t think of a better way to spend the holidays. Being a part of this community in such a personal way has taught me that if you put something wholesome out in this community, people will use it, and if you give children a little love, they come back with a lot.
You can visit Santa at the Jane Finch Mall weekends from 1PM-4PM!