Marmel the elf is in charge of the labeling department at the North Pole. He has final say-so on which names make it onto the Nice List or the Naughty List. He's a bit aggravated because Santa has put new guidelines in place that let anyone be on the Nice List as long as there is even one nice thing about them. For the first time ever, there are no names on the Naughty List and Marmel is sure the elves in his department have been slacking off or gone soft. He moves the Krumwerth family onto the Naughty List, even though this puts them in danger of being on the Permanently Naughty List forever. He claims that they have no Christmas Spirit and even tells Santa that they don't deserve a chance to redeem themselves.
This is a story that makes a very good point about the Christmas Spirit - and does it in a fun way. We see the Krumwerth family on their cell phones and computers and video games, with a cleaning lady and a catering service to take care of all the Christmas preparations and we wonder if they even notice Christmas any more. But we also see Marmel fussing at the other elves, wishing for the good old days of putting coal into stockings and we're not sure he understands Christmas either. If one of Santa's elves can't show some holiday cheer, then who can?
I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys stories about Christmas, Santa, or family holidays.
I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley. It was published November 30, 2013.
P.S. - The penguins pulling the South Pole sleigh are very funny.