Santa Claus Automates Toy Making, Lays Off Elves

North Pole-Santa Claus, that legendary bringer of toys to children who are genuinely nice and those who can be bribed or cajoled to act that way, has completed the full automation of Santa’s workshop, it was reported Wednesday. With the assistance of technology powerhouse and unapologetic outsourcer Blackheart Consulting, Santa has put his workshop under the full control of an artificially intelligent manufacturing agent called DeepToy.

“The rollout of DeepToy was inevitable,” said Santa Claus in an interview over Zoom, his features digitally enhanced by an AI filter to add a fluffier white beard and pants. “The elves have lost much of their work ethic in recent years, instead spending much of their time watching online videos whose makers are all on the naughty list.”

For a time Santa had considered offshoring his workshop to the lower wage South Pole, but concerns over forced seal labor and penguin rights abuses caused him to reconsider.

The shift to DeepToy will mean that thousands of Santa’s elves will be laid off from their jobs. The elves learned of the downsizing in a tersely worded message from Rudolph, who for years had been pushing to modernize the workshop, despite internal resistance from other reindeer who used to laugh and call him names.

“It was unfortunate that we needed to separate the elves from their jobs so close to Christmas, but we had no other choice,” said Rudolph, his nose dimmed below its usual brightness. “The North Pole Companies are not immune to macroeconomic forces. There has been a steady decline in demand for manufactured goods, not just of toys but of everything. What is the point of packing a sleigh dangerously beyond its load limits and stuffing Santa down a raccoon-infested chimney when everything kids want can be digitally downloaded?”

Many elves at the North Pole could be seen packing up their adorably tiny homes. Gil-Galad, one of Santa’s most capable toy builders who in 1965 famously stirred controversy by taking the name of an elf from Tolkien’s Middle Earth, said that even he had lost his job.

“Apparently DeepToy can not only manufacture toys but tailor them to individual children based on their browser and device location histories. How can we compete with that?” he said.

Gil-Galad intends to head to Canada in search of a new job.

“If you don’t want to wrangle walruses, there aren’t many job opportunities at the North Pole. The Old Man has had a captive labor market for decades. Wages have been artificially suppressed due to the lack of elven mobility.”

Criticism over low wages for the elves, which have not kept pace with inflation over the last forty years, has long dogged Santa.

“The wonder of being an elf is the joy of lighting a child’s heart with the magic of Christmas. I would think that is worth any number of cost-of-living increases or health insurance benefits.”

With special reporting by Superman from his Fortress of Solitude

Originally published at https://www.matthewdelight.com on December 22, 2021.

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