LEGO is an organisation that from time to time lends their support to certain social issues. Finally in 2020 The LEGO Group is tackling an issue that far too many people overlook – the appalling treatment of Christmas Elves.
You may be thinking “But Michael, the Elf Club House is just a fun Christmas set!” Wrong. It is a wake-up call showing us all the horrors faced by Santa’s indentured servants.
Let’s start with the simple fact that this set is meant to represent a “Club House” for the Elves. To me, a club house suggest something social, a place where you can unwind. Right? Why then is there so much emphasis on work related activities?
There a gift wrapping station on the bottom level of the club house. Either the elves are wrapping so many personal presents that this was deemed necessary or the elves are expected to continue wrapping presents in their club house. There is also a computer shown to be checking the naughty list. Why have a computer in your club house if it’s just going to be used for work? Where is the work life balance for these poor elves?
Now let’s talk about the sleeping arrangements in the elf club house. I would question why a club house needs three beds.
The most obvious answer is that these elves are being forced to work around the clock and sleep on-site between shifts. Regardless of whether this is just for quick naps or more substantial sleep it’s messed up that these beds have a mechanism that allows management to forcibly eject people. I like my manager at work (not just saying that in case she finds this post), but under no circumstance should she ever have the power to push a button and send me falling to the ground while I’m sleeping. That’s a workcover issue just waiting to happen.
Perhaps I am being too harsh. It appears that the elves do get free meals. By meals I mean waffles. Just waffles. I googled “Can you live off just waffles” and while I didn’t find many peer reviewed studies on the subject I feel pretty confident that waffles alone make for a terrible diet.
Can’t the elves just bring food from home? I’m not so sure that these elves even have homes.
The elves look pretty happy though. With their cute little smiling faces. Of course they aren’t going to tell you how they really feel. This is an environment where people are regularly thrown to the ground while they are sleeping. What do you think happens to elves that step out of line?
While the situation is undoubtedly horrible, there are some positives that do deserve to be mentioned.
The club house features an upper level balcony with incredible views of the wintery landscape and quite often the aurora borealis.
The club house also has it’s own resident pet. Unsurprisingly for the north pole it’s a reindeer rather than something more traditional like a cat or a dog.
Hooking up the sleigh and going for a cruise in the snow does sound like a pretty good way to unwind.
On the balance of pros and cons I really don’t want to be an elf.
The Elf Club House is a cute set visually, but I can’t help but feel its a bit mixed up in terms of direction. I think it would have been better to commit fully to either the idea of a club house for the elves (think hot tub, big screen tv, karaoke machine, maybe a bar) or an elf workshop (making toys, wrapping presents, checking the naughty list, reindeer stable) but that was kind of done with 10245. As it stands the Elf Club House we got in 2020 feels a bit muddled.
Overall I still rate it, and I would definitely suggest picking it up. I just personally would have loved to see the concept fleshed out in a more fun and ridiculous way.