ELM Christmas Traditions: Russ on a Truss

 

The annual reading of the holiday classic “Russ on a Truss” (read and authored by landscape architect and emerging children’s author Jeff Gibson) is a time-honored ELM Christmas tradition, along with finding Russ on a Truss hiding in different places around the office during the holiday season.

Scroll on to read the story for yourself!


Russ on a Truss

By Jeff Gibson

In the world of the elf there are only three types of elves, the crafty little guys and gals that fill Santa’s sleigh each Christmas Eve, the elves that sit on shelves, and another elf that we seldom hear about.  These are the elf misfits; they are as rare as the glow of Rudolph’s nose.  Hermey the dentist and Buddy the NYC elf are the notable misfit elves, but there is another that is just as worthy of being a misfit as these two.  This is the story of Russ on a Truss. 

 Russ with Russ on a Truss

Russ with Russ on a Truss

Russ the elf never fit in at the North Pole.  When he made toys; his trains had square wheels, his water pistols squirted jelly, and his planes could never fly.  Seeing his shortcomings, Santa placed Russ on Shelf duty.  When he got his deployment orders he was ordered to watch over the children that always put up a fuss.  Year after year his kids were on the naughty list.  This naturally meant that Russ had to load up his children’s stockings with coal. 

Over the years he felt sorry for these kids and began to secretly make drawings with the coal so that the kids at least had a drawing for inspiration and could see a use for the coal.  In the off-season Russ would sketch with the coal.  Over time he became very skilled at creating drawings.  His favorite things to draw were buildings, but the North Pole didn’t have many so he would practice during Christmas season while on shelf duty.  At night Russ would visit the library and study the work of famous architects. 

 Russ on a Truss

Russ on a Truss

Over the years Russ watched over fussy little children who would grow up to be architects.  These children were most likely inspired by the drawings Russ would give them each year.  Some of his kids over time were the Franky boys Wright and Gehry and the Louie boys Sullivan and Kahn. 

One day just before Christmas, there was a terrible snowstorm that damaged Santa’s workshop.  Santa was sure that the Christmas toy delivery would be cancelled for many boys and girls as their toys were not yet made and the workshop was not usable due to the damage.  Russ found out about the unfortunate event and rushed back North to see what the problems were. 

He immediately got to work designing candy cane trusses to fix the building and new gingerbread dormers to upgrade the architecture.  While the work was being completed Santa took a peek and saw the candy cane trusses that Russ had designed.  He was so impressed with the scale of the repairs and renovations that Russ made that he declared that Russ would now be known to all the other elves as Russ on a Truss, the architect elf.  All the elves celebrated and now any time a doll house is built the plans are drawn up by Russ on a truss, the architect elf.