The room rings with raucous laughter as elves crowd around tables, hoisting mugs of butter beer and singing along with the jukebox.
Jingles: Man, that was a long month.
Holly: Tell me about it. They covered me in shaving cream last week. Shaving cream!
Jingles: Aw, that’s not bad, I got rolled in powdered sugar and propped up on a flour canister. The dog slobbered all over me. Gross!
Kringle: Whiners. It’s not like it’s a tough gig.
Holly: I guess, as long as you’re okay with being the creepy spy who reports on kids all month. By Saturday little Jimmy was giving me a side eye so hard it felt like I was getting knocked out of the chandelier. He was convinced he’d blow Christmas in the last few days.
Kringle: At least you stayed inside! My people attached me to the outside of their kitchen window, in thirty degree weather, so the kiddos could “catch” me sneaking back in from reporting to Santa.
Jingles: Brrrr, that’s cold. Hey, Merry!
Jingles: What’s your worst this year?
Merry: It’s a toss up between getting hidden in the dog food bin and the night they perched me in their Christmas tree with a branch shoved under my nether regions.
Jingles: Woo, that’s a tight spot!
Merry: Yeah, no doubt. Yo, Dasher! How’s it hanging?
Dasher: I’m on my third butter beer, Merry, it’s hanging like perfectly draped tinsel. Did I hear you guys comparing war stories?
Jingles: Yep. What you got?
Dasher: Well, Dave smeared chocolate all over my face just for fun – God forbid I actually get to eat a sweet, nope, just a punchline here. But at least the kids were good this year.
Merry: Really? Mine ran wide open all month long. Broken lamps, stolen toys, two books dropped in the bath, lipstick ground into the carpet, and one kid who stole his dad’s bike and rode it into a tree. I mean, come on…what am I supposed to do with that?! Not even Mary Poppins could spin those shenanigans into a candidate for the Nice List.
Jingles: Bah, the Nice List is overrated.
Tiny: That’s just because you’ve never been on it, Jingles. Bwahahaha!!
Jingles: Shut it, Tiny.
Dasher: Aw, guys, keep it clean. We’ve all had a rough go of it, let’s just enjoy our butter beer before our butts are back at that subzero North Pole.
Merry: I’ll drink to that!