This is not a whimsical narrative of miniature relatives with pointy ears getting married. No, when I got hitched ten years ago, my father gave me away; and truly he looked more like the jolly old man than one of his North Pole elves.
What happened only one week into the month of December is tragic; but it’s necessary I share, so this mistake is not repeated by another unsuspecting parental unit.
Normally the beginning of December warrants a “woe-is-me” blog post written by thousands of parents. And I did not disappoint, I went there too. Even though on some nights I have an ounce of energy and creativity and can place my Elf-on-the-Shelf in “Pinteresting” scenes for my daughters to appreciate the next morning – most of the time, I toss the red sucker up on something high so the kids won’t touch him. Mama’s tired.
After having our elf, Alf, for eight years, my hubby and I knew this probably was the last year for us to “enjoy” the EOTS madness. Can I get an Amen? Yea-ah!!
Yes, we figured our oldest daughter would hear rumors from her classmates and bring home the dreaded questions which hopefully wouldn’t include the word…shhh! S-A-N-T-A.
I was ready to let go of the elf, but Santa…that’s a whole other can of gummy worms.
Since I had been elf tossing for a couple nights in a row, Thursday night was going to be a stellar theatrical performance. Earlier that afternoon I found a near empty bag of marshmallows under the coffee table, and my creative juices took off from there.
I was one of those moms that 50% of bloggers hate and the other half love. So who gives a hoot, right? I’m not trying to win a popularity contest here, just make my kids crack up in the morning with their stupid big-headed elf.
Grabbing the marshmallows, some toothpicks, a leftover Hersheys bar from my husband’s company picnic several months ago, graham crackers and a Bic lighter I went to work in the kitchen.
The mega marshmallow in flames balanced on toothpicks may not have been the best idea, but no one got hurt. Plus, the smoke detector didn’t go off and no brandishing of my fire extinguisher occurred. Always a good sign of a first-rate Thursday night.
Once I had the “Elf’s S’more” scene set up on the hearth in the living room, I took some photos and then drifted to sleep in my BARCO lounger. I’m much more fun than you would imagine.
The next morning as I put the milk in the kitchen cabinet and/or the cat food in the coffee grinder (aka Zombie Mama’s Breakfast dance), I heard my daughters begin their search for Alf. This is what they found:
There was giggling and commentating on Alf’s performance art. The girls loved this setup and I enjoyed a moment of glory.
About 5 minutes later, I heard my youngest daughter, who is seven say to her older sister, “Why does Alf have a tag on his butt?” Normally, I would have corrected her and asked that she call it his “bottom.” But I was paralyzed and strained to listen to the conversation from the next room.
My youngest peered closely at the tag, and said, “There is a ‘T-M’ on it.”
“A ‘T-M’?” her second grade sister asked.
“It’s a toy. Alf’s a toy!” cried my youngest.
My oldest daughter slowly and silently sat beside her elf – her Alf. You could see the sadness creep up from her heart to her eyes as her mind pulled together the details of a long planned ruse.
“All of my stuffies have tags that say that,” she said deflated.
I wanted to pretend like it hadn’t happened. Maybe if I ignored it, they would go on believing.
What did the textbooks say to do about telling your child their elf is a toy? Oh, that’s right, there isn’t one.
The tears began to well up in my eyes as I approached my work of arts: my daughters and…that saccharin elf scene. It was so awesome, but I knew it was soon to be my last.
Oh, dear God, please don’t let them ask about Santa. Please!! The coffee hasn’t finished percolating and I’m already a hot mess.
“Mama, you have been moving Alf, haven’t you?” accused my youngest detective.
THWAP! The verbal punch to the gut hurt more than I thought it would, but I still could speak through it.
“Yes, Honey. But don’t worry, the elf IS a toy. Your grandmother gave him to you when you were babies and we’ve kept up the fun since then,” I apologized.
The eldest started crying, “I’m so sad Alf never was magic and never flew to the North Pole.”
“Don’t worry,” I said. “Even though the elf isn’t magic, it’s Santa who holds the magical powers. He’s been creating magic and beauty for children all over the world for hundreds of years. This Alf toy was made in a shop in China just a few years ago.”
My first born asked, “Did you cry when you learned about your elf, Mama?”
“They didn’t have Elfs-on-the-Shelf when your Daddy and I were kids. We didn’t need a silly elf to tell on us to get on Santa’s good or bad list. Santa always knew and he still knows.”
“Can you keep moving Alf around every night? I’d like that,” asked my sweet girl.
“Of course!” I said with a full heart.
Then after the girls sat staring at the magical toy, whose powers had fizzled in a flash of a butt-tag – my baby girl jumped up and excitedly twirled around in a flourish.
“This means we can FINALLY touch Alf!! I’ve been waiting my whole life to do this.” Drama is in her future.
Then she grabbed the elf, one of her dolls, several character ornaments off the Christmas tree and began to have them sing and dance around the room. It was like some sort of twisted Disney Country Christmas Special.
After all these years, who knew Alf had that kind of talent?