If you think it’s hard understanding all the different Medicare supplement plans, try keeping up with the ever changing world of games and toys your grandkids play with these days. In my prime, I knew the shows, the characters, the brands, etc., but finally gave up the ghost of trying to find the perfect gift and limped away to the Grandmother Hall of Shame - but I may have gotten a second chance, thanks to my recent introduction to the Elf on the Shelf!
For those not familiar with this Christmas phenomenon, the Elf on the Shelf is based on the 2005 book by Carol Aebersole, “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition.” It’s about an elf who reports to Santa on a nightly basis who’s naughty and who’s nice and hides in a different place each morning.
Available on Amazon and “at a store near you,” each cute little stuffed elf comes with its own elf-size blanket, Magic North Pole Snowflakes and other accessories. According to the accompanying literature, it was created to “help you understand the true meaning of Christmas – loving and caring for those around you,” and suggests games with friends that incorporate learning Bible scripture.
As a parent, if you need help in the idea department, there are multiple websites to peruse for suggested “staging” of your returning elf. There are parents, however, who would say the purpose of Elf on the Shelf is to drive them to the brink of insanity in their efforts to come up with creative escapades for their child’s elf to engage in – night after night after night … until Christmas! A Dec. 12 Wall Street Journal article quoted a frazzled parent who “nearly bit the dust” tiptoeing around her own home in the dark in an effort to quietly stage a production of Elf on the Shelf.
My granddaughter’s elf is named Becky, and Becky was late arriving this year, not having gotten here until Dec. 1 when she was supposed to appear on Black Friday. I guess she got lost with my granddaughter’s move from Bryan to Navasota!
Every morning since, we awoke to trails of Magic North Pole Snowflakes leading to places where Becky returned after her nightly visit to Santa. We’ve found her sitting in my Christmas tree after she decorated it with toilet paper, in my pantry eating powdered sugar doughnuts, on the counter eating a birthday cupcake and even in the arms of my Santa Claus doll. Every morning has been an adventure tracking the trail of Magic North Pole Snowflakes that stick to my fuzzy socks. Most recently Becky overdid it a little bit, leaving an excessive trail of miniature marshmallows along with the snowflakes, to my mantle! Surprisingly, my granddaughter cleans up after Becky without complaint, which leads me to think there may be a lesson here after all.
I confess to being a Grinch at first. It seemed like another bit of commercial parent puppetry. My poor daughter was constantly trying to think of some mischief for Becky to get into, getting up in the middle of the night or super early “staging” Becky. But as I saw my granddaughter’s enjoyment each morning, I started volunteering to aid and abet Becky with her antics, and in full disclosure, I am the one who made the big mess with the marshmallows.
Becky’s time with us ended Christmas Eve and who knows if she will be back next year. I’m not sure who will miss her the most each morning – me or my granddaughter, but I can say with certainty she entertained us both and resurrected that childlike joy that disappeared with batteries, apps and age.
Connie Clements is a freelance reporter and award-winning columnist, who returned to her passion for writing after retirement from the workforce and motherhood, although one is never fully retired from motherhood. She writes feature news article on a weekly basis and an opinion column as the mood strikes her.