The welder who saved Christmas

December 5, 2008
By: Dan Davis

Not too many people know the tale of Holslag, the elf welder who saved Christmas. Ol" St. Nick and his merry band of flying reindeer get most of the press, but the tale of ol" Holslag deserves to be shared for all to remember and

You see, on this particular frigid Christmas Eve, St. Nick"s sleigh had a major problem: The golden runners
underneath the cherry-red sleigh had snapped off under the weight of all the presents to be distributed across the
world. The head foreman elf overseeing the loading project that night claimed the sleigh collapsed after loading all
the DVD copies of John Ratzenberger"s Made in America
first-season television series, but that was never substantiated.

No matter how it happened, the sleigh needed to be repaired. Upon notification of his prized vehicle"s plight, St. Nick summarily responded, Well, find the elf in charge of metal fabricating repairs. The elves in St. Nick"s prep
room—which sort of looks like a CNN news studio except the elves don"t wear suits, but they do look like Wolf Blitzer—stared back at the man in red. However, the jolly ol" soul wasn"t in a particularly cheery mood with his mite-sized minions just
staring back at him. Is there a problem? he asked.

The foreman elf, named George, stepped forward and said that there was no elf in charge of metal fabricating. In
fact, with the huge shift to plastic toys and video games, North Pole officials decided that with the dwindling
demand for metal toys that they should shift all metal fabricating activities to Mexico to cut costs and allow the
elves to concentrate on consumer goods that more and more people on the nice list demanded. That meant more elves
working in software programming, consumer electronics development, and costume jewelry marketed by Suzanne Somers
and Joan Rivers.

Surely, someone here must have some metal fabricating skills, even if they haven"t welded in some time, St. Nick
wondered aloud.

Sorry, Santa, George replied. Many of the elves that worked in metal fabricating were close to retirement when
the decision was made to shift those activities south. A majority of them retired down to Florida and work part-time
for Disney. The younger ones moved down to a condo development outside Monterrey, Mexico, where they oversee our operations.

Can"t we call the North Pole Academy of the Toy-Making Arts to see if they might be able to put us in touch with
recent graduates from their welding program? St. Nick asked.

Wow, this is getting awkward, foreman George said. The North Pole Board of Education actually shut down the
welding program about five years ago. They complained about lack of interest in the school and the industrial arts
classes needed more modern equipment. Welding fumes that emanated from the classrooms during the day were making the
reindeer woozy.

St. Nick needed that sleigh fixed. Woozy or not, those reindeer often had a mind of their own, and those runners
helped cushion their rough landings. Additionally, Santa had just had the sleigh painted and detailed; he needed
those runners attached to keep his finish free of deformations.

Meanwhile a messenger elf named Holslag skated up on his roller blades to drop off the delivery schedule for the
night. Dude, who wrecked the ride? he questioned.

Holslag, we got to get these runners attached to the sleigh, and we"ve got to do it in a hurry. We don"t have time for explanations as to how we got here, George said.

My dad"s got an awesome set of tools. I can fix it, Holslag said. You should see the extra runners I put on my
HillTopper 500. I was ridin" high on some wicked hills yesterday.

Shouldn"t you have been in school? St. Nick asked.

I think we had a snow day, Holslag replied.

We"ve got to get this sleigh on its way, St. Nick said. Holslag, with your mad welding skills out of sight, won"t you rebuild my sleigh tonight?

Sure, the welding beads weren"t the greatest, and finding the right filler metal to use with that space-age aluminum
alloy used to construct the sleigh required some time-consuming research, but Holslag got the job done.

Upon his return, St. Nick led the movement to open up a small fab shop where Holslag and hand-picked apprentice
elves could work on prototype metal toys and make metal repairs where needed. St. Nick soon discovered that he could quickly turn around requests for unique toys in small volumes, and North Pole officials were pleased with the
elimination of costly rush shipments from Mexico.

Then all the other elves loved him, as they shouted out with glee. Holslag the welding elf skater, one day you"ll be in The FABRICATOR.

Happy holidays.

Dan Davis

Dan Davis

FMA Communications Inc.
2135 Point Blvd
Elgin, IL 60123
Phone: 815-227-8281