The Christmas Trolls
NORTH POLE RESOLVES LAWSUIT
A.P. – December 22, 1999
Counsel for the North Pole Foundation announced the out of
court settlement of a civil suit filed by a group called the
Christmas Trolls. Proceedings began in January 1986 when the
previously unknown troll alliance claimed discriminatory
labor practices. NPF agreed to an undisclosed sum and
admitted no wrongdoing. The organization’s longtime CEO Mr.
Santa Claus did not attend today’s press conference, citing
Three unemployed trolls from Barrow, Alaska had answered a
classified ad. "If you're magical, small, and can build toys
there’s a job for you at the Workshop" the copy had read.
The trolls rented sled dogs and made the trek across thin
ice. Fifteen elves applied the same day and were all hired.
The trolls were turned away.
60 Minutes ran a segment about their plight. A spokesman for
Mr. Claus's organization asserted that the trolls had failed
the basic skill test. He showed the camera two of the three
toys constructed by the trolls: a jack-in-the-box that
contained a lifelike tarantula and a hobby warthog. The
trolls countered that their third toy had been a teddy bear.
"With fangs!" responded the spokesman. Letters to the
program overwhelmingly favored Father Christmas. Wrote one
viewer, "Trolls are disgusting."
The controversy continued in the supernatural creatures'
trade press, only once again making broader headlines. "It's
an outrage!" a reporter overheard Mr. Claus exclaim on
encountering picketing trolls outside a Juneau restaurant.
"You should crawl back under a bridge and eat billy goats!"
Reports of the incident swept across Alaska, becoming an
international scandal when six of the troll protesters proved
to be Canadian citizens. "Yes, I like trolls in principle,"
Mr. Claus said in a notorious impromptu interview, "as long
as they know their place. Have you ever smelled one of
The Christmas Trolls then formed an unlikely alliance with
the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith. UPI editors
mistook the press release for a prank, but the charges were
serious. They asserted not only that Santa was personally
prejudiced against trolls but that he had been a Nazi
sympathizer. Mr. Claus had delivered gifts to Hitler Youth,
rewarded French and Dutch collaborators, and charted an
aerial course directly over the Warsaw Ghetto while noting
the missed opportunity to provide food drops. "Bad or good my
a**," scrawled one troll on a fax cover sheet to the New York
Times. This comment may have been responsible for the
paper's decision not to run the story.
Despite continuing media blunders the Christmas Trolls were
winning in court. Subsequent filings included documentation
that 97.2 percent of the NPF employees were elves and that
Santa claimed ethnic affiliation as a "right jolly old elf."
A disgruntled gnome who once worked in the kitchen came
forward to testify. "They'll hire you if you ain't an elf,
but you better be cute and you sure ain't gettin' into the
union. Dishwasher, janitor, maybe a filing clerk. That's
Attorneys for NPF supplied evidence that 30,000 human
helpers were hired as independent contractors to represent
Mr. Claus each December. "Elves constitute less than 10
percent of the actual work force." Two other gnomes and a
leprechaun, all current employees, testified that NPF was an
exemplary employer. After a preliminary ruling favored the
trolls, NPF's law firm of Grinch, Humbug, and Scrooge won
dismissal on the grounds that the North Pole is international
territory. The trolls had filed under Alaskan law.
The World Court refused to hear the case, stating that
neither side represented a sovereign government. From 1995
to 1997 the case was dead. The trolls of Barrow, Alaska had
exhausted their savings. One even took a job with a carnival
side show. While on tour she met a Fairbanks attorney who
revived the issue as a slander lawsuit.
Although the North Pole Foundation avoided further public
scandal, rumors spread and institutional contributions
dwindled. Negotiations for corporate sponsorship also ended
abruptly. Said a public relations representative from NPF,
"We really didn't think a Mattel Christmas sleigh was
Leaks from both sides tell that the legal impasse was broken
when all three of the original trolls decided they no longer
had any desire to work at the North Pole. NPF signed a
pledge that future troll applicants would be considered
In response to a Wall Street Journal reporter's question
about waning American corporate donations, the NPF
representative answered, "This had nothing to do with our
decision to settle the case. Over half the toys we deliver
come from Taiwan and Japan."
At that moment a stray microphone picked up one attorney's
cellular phone. "That d***ed Ford Foundation. It’s a troll
front," growled the distinct voice of Mr. Claus.
"Remember your grandmother," his lawyer Mr. Grinch hissed.
"She was a troll too." The words echoed from the auditorium
A long silence filled the hall. "This'll be one for the
spin doctors," somebody mumbled.
The visibly shaken elf spokesman then attempted to reassure
the press that children around the world would not bear the
cost of the settlement. A lone troll at the back of the room
interrupted to throw switches and coal, hollering, "'Fess up.
Only the really good tykes get goodies this year!"
Authorities booked the heckler for disorderly conduct.
Activists called the arrest a fresh outrage and vowed to
reveal the ugly truth about Santa's Workshop. "We're gonna
troll that ancient yuletide carol, capisce?"
©1999 Lise Broer
All Rights Reserved