Two Possible Explanations
Every picture tells a story. Here’s the story of this one:
They tell me that right up to the end, Santa couldn’t understand why the elves, whom he had always sternly but in his mind fairly treated, had turned on him so. Hadn’t the hovels of mud and seal sinew that he gave them kept them out of the snow, even if the hovels were not heated, and faced into the wind? If the gruel he fed them once daily was watery and thin, was it not still sustenance? Did he not instruct his overseers and factory goons to whip the workers only when they had fallen behind in production, or were insolent, or spoke during work hours? These were not reasons for rebellion! These were examples of his benevolent generosity.
As the elves roughly stood him up against the wall of the factory, Santa resolved that once his reindeer shock troops arrived to rescue him, the time of his generosity was over. The problem was not that he had treated the elves too harshly, it was that he had not treated them harshly enough. He had made the mistake in assuming the elves could be treated like people, instead of the small, pointy-eared beasts of labor that they were. It was not a mistake he would make again. After his reindeer henchmen arrived, he would make an example of several of the elves, starting with their spokesperson, the elf girl. Yes, yes, she would be the first to go. He smiled at the thought.
Then his smile faltered as this same elf girl stepped in front of the firing squad, accompanied by a familiar, quadruped shape.
“Rudolph!” Santa blurted out.
The reindeer smiled cruelly. “Viva la Elfvolution, Santa,” he said.
Santa stared blankly into his traitorous lieutenant’s red, glowing nose as Rudolph and the elf girl stepped back behind the line. Somewhere in the far, deep distance, he heard the sliding clicks of the firing squad readying their weapons.
Alternately, it’s a picture of my kid at her school’s Christmas choral concert, wearing a festive hat.
Either works, you know?