I've hung up my elf outfit, put away my glitter and said goodbye to working in Santa's grotto for another year.
I've lost track of the amount of crying, screaming children I've taken photos of, too scared to sit on Santa's knee. I don't blame them to be honest.
My favourite kid was a little boy who asked Santa to bring him a pizza for Christmas. When it was time for his photo I chirped "give me a Christmas smile", his mum shouted "look less cross eyed!". I've never seen a kid look so confused. He tried uncrossing his eyes which only made things worse and resulted in the worst photo ever.
We dealt with ambulances, vomit and a tangled web of internal Elf politics.
Despite the large amount of bodily fluids, I secretly loved being an elf at the grotto, it was full of characters and bursting with anecdotes.
Here's one I like to call 'The time Santa shat his pants'...
It kind of writes itself really...
Whilst at the grotto we all ate like pigs. We somehow managed to survive on a diet of Greggs pasties, Quality Street chocolates and personal failures. After a few weeks of a sugar and pastry fuelled diet, the big man himself, Father Christmas, felt a stirring in his stomach...I heard a gurgle that sounded like a dodgy pipe in an old house. He looked terrified and immediately started taking off his costume. Layers upon layers of brightly coloured, pre worn tat.
I've never seen a man take off his clothes so quickly, even in my wilder days. His costume left a trail from the grotto to the public toilets.
This is not Christmas magic.
Is Santa meant to violently shit himself? Answers on a postcard.
The grotto supervisor slapped a tenner in my hand and sent me to the nearest place that sold Imodium. I ran through a rammed shopping centre dressed as an elf looking for something that would stop Santa from crapping himself whilst a terrified five year old begged for Batman lego.
I saw a box that read 'instant relief', I grabbed it and joined the long queue. A little old lady looked at my glittery cheeks, stripy tights and hands clutching the 'make me stop shitting tablets' and let me go in front.
When I finally made it to the very front I hurriedly blurted out "these aren't for me, they're for Santa". The woman on the till smiled worryingly and considered me mentally ill.
I ran back to the grotto to be met with hoards of screaming kids. "Get out of my way!" I gave the Imodium to a very happy Father Christmas and on we go. "Get the next kids in!" I really am a hero.
And that's how I saved Christmas.
For more stories www.ladyilaria.com
Follow me on Twitter @ilariapasseri