I didn’t mean to do it. It wasn’t purposeful. But when it all played out, I figured I would be okay. All the other moms were doing it.
We got an elf.
Well, if I’m being honest, it was two elves. That wasn’t on purpose either. In my growing up years, we had an elf in our Christmas decorations. I thought it was so cute. So when my husband and I married, my mom gave us a bunch of décor, including the elf, that first Christmas because we had none. A few years later (still before kids, mind you) my husband’s grandmother was over during the holidays and noticed the elf. She just so happened to have one just like it and wanted to give it to us so we’d have a pair. It seemed innocent enough.
But then came children and the crazy elf fad where each night during the holidays, the elves do something silly. The neighbors had an elf and when my son noticed the elves in the decorations he said, “Hey! I bet these elves are some of the magical ones. We just need to let Santa know we want them to watch us and report on our behavior.” So he dashed off a letter to Santa. Who was I to let him down?
So the elf tradition began. There were midnight frantic runs downstairs when we almost forgot to move them, and crazed excuses as to why they maybe didn’t move when we did forget. Until the year – the year I couldn’t find the elves. The year they disappeared completely.
I searched frantically in every nook and cranny but no elves. So I was forced to run out and buy a new one. Just one this time, but in the process I had to explain what happened to the other two elves. The newest elf, Winter, was found wearing a parachute, hanging from the ceiling fan with a letter in her hand.
The letter explained that Holly and Jingle, the original elves, were past retirement at 537 and 510 years old. They moved to a gingerbread cottage at the Golden Slippers Senior Community.
The kids loved the letter and Christmas was saved that year. Have you ever got so caught up in creating the perfect Christmas memory you stressed yourself out? Me, too. But I’m learning. Even when I forget to move the elf, even when there are more arguments than Christmas carols as we decorate the tree, the most important thing about making memories is being together.
God gave us the perfect example in sending Jesus. His name is Immanuel, which means “God with us.” God knew that dwelling among us and allowing us to spend time with Him was the best gift of all. So give your kids the best gift this Christmas – invest time just being with them. Whether you invite the elf or not is optional.
By: Carol Hatcher is a former elementary teacher turned writer. This author and speaker lives with her husband and three children in Georgia. Come visit her at www.sheeptotheright.com.
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