“Mommy! Mommy! Guess what!”
Declan yelped as he ran down the basement stairs to find me knee-deep in Christmas light strands. To say my interest was piqued would be a complete understatement.
“What, Declan?!?” I said, separating 2 strands to put them into the “lights for outside” pile.
Overtaken by joy, Declan’s hands flared as he bent over and yelled with vigor,
“The elf MOVED!”
Once Thanksgiving is over, we initiate the opening of Christmas season. We allow ourselves to listen to Christmas music, bring out our fragrant pine scented oils, bring out our Christmas decorations and celebrate the return of Arthur, our family’s elf on the shelf.
Arthur is a reminder to the kids that Santa is always watching, so they better be good, for goodness sake! Each day he watches the kids and at night, will fly to the North Pole to report to Santa about the kid’s behavior. When Arthur returns, he will pick a new place to perch to watch for the day.
For my husband and I, the elf is another Tooth Fairy. Remembering to move the elf proves to be just as hard for us as remembering to leave a treat under a pillow in return for a precious lost tooth.
We immediately know we have forgotten either, when a droopy child’s face crosses our path. A hug, a bit of reassurance and an excuse are normally at hand.
Our prepared list for “Forgetting to move the elf: 2016” includes:
- “Declan was up all night so the elf couldn’t leave.”
- “You were so good yesterday, the elf probably had nothing to report!”
- “Maybe he really likes that spot?”
- “I guess it was too cold for him to fly last night.”
- “Arthur must’ve fallen asleep.”
So, for Declan to tell me the elf has moved! I guess we were all happily surprised! (Hi-5 honey! Nice move! I forgot (again)!)
“The elf MOVED?! Where is it?” I asked putting my hands on my knees, bending over to meet his excited gaze.
“It is on a shelf!” Declan says, smiling ear to ear. He takes a deep breath and yells, “I am going to go see it again.”
Off he runs up the stairs to leave me separating Christmas lights.
A few minutes later he is back.
“Now the elf is in my stocking!”
“In your stocking?” I stop separating and look quizzically at Declan. “I thought it was on the shelf?”
“Now he is in my stocking!”
“Declan, did you move Arthur and put him in your stocking?” I ask, putting my hands on my hips.
“YES!” Declan throws his arms up in the air and jumps high to the sky.
“Declan, we are not supposed to touch the elf. If we do, then he won’t bring you Christmas presents.”
The excitement slowly drains from his face. The bewildered look arrives, followed by horror. And the mighty river of tears begins to flow. His hands go up to his cheeks. Screams and tears abound. “Oh no!” Declan cries and runs up the stairs.
As I pull strand from strand, I hear a chair move. I hear him jump. I hear a chair move again and then foot steps coming down the stairs.
“Guess what, Mommy!”
“The elf is on top of the frigerator now!”
“Declan, did you put the elf there?”
Declan’s smile shines and shows the “I made a good choice” feeling. There is no way am I going to break that smile or feeling.
“How clever of the elf to sit there. Now he can see everything!” I say, dropping lights and going for a great big Declan hug.
And then we go look at Arthur. And talk about his new “good choice” sitting spot.
We’ll just go over the “Don’t touch the elf” thing again tomorrow.