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December 9, 2012

Lindsay's column: 12.07.12 >> Long live the elves

Cookie crumbs scattered around the fireplace. M&M’s mischievously peppered through my fort of blankets. My Barbies dressed in mismatched outfits and placed throughout the house, even with their shoes crazily shoved on the wrong feet. However, the scene described wasn’t the aftermath of a party hosted by Ferris Bueller - it was the remnants from Santa’s elves.

The pint-sized guys and gals with some serious holiday spirit always visited my house the night of Dec. 23. Since my family and I always stayed at my grandparents’ house Christmas Eve night, my parents wanted to invite Santa’s favorite helpers for some cookies and milk. (Bonus: What better way to put your best foot forward for Santa, right?)

Every year my excitement for the elves’ antics battled my sleepiness and questions (not sugar plums) danced in my head: “I wonder if elves like sugar cookies better than snickerdoodles?” “Would the elves catch me if I used my spy gear to spy on them in the living room?” “Did they fly Santa’s sleigh to get here or just ride the reindeer from the North Pole?” “Who is their favorite reindeer?”

Just as my little mind started to ask another question, it was quickly silenced by the ringing of jingle bells outside my window. “Ahh! They’re here, they’re here and I’m not asleep!” I whispered to myself as I buried my face under the covers, hoping it would hide the obvious fact I didn’t listen to my parents about going to sleep. Just as the sound of the bells brushed my ear drums, my little Christmas-pajama clad body slipped into a slumber while the elves turned my living room into their personal playhouse.

Every year I woke up and sprinted with elf-like agility to my parents’ room. “The elves were here! The elves were here!” I yelled while jumping up and down on their bed. (Some rules are bent for such occasions.)

As the years passed and I grew, so did my doubts about the likelihood real elves were visiting my house the night before Christmas Eve every year. (I mean, come on Mom and Dad, that’s their busiest day of the year!)

The questions transformed from “Do elves like Starbursts?” to “Are these elves real?”

My parents reassured me they were, but that wasn’t enough. I needed to do some experimenting of my own.

So, I set up my Do Elves Exist? Experiment: An audio recorder strategically hidden inside my carefully-crafted fort. Right before bedtime I hit record and hoped my elf experiment would capture the facts. (No surprise to anyone I grew up to be a journalist).

The next morning I strolled into my parents’ room, doubts looming over my mind about what the cassette tape would reveal.

“Are you excited to see what the elves did?” My mom asked with child-like excitement. “Are you sure you guys aren’t really the elves?” I asked. (Always with the questions).

I skipped the stockings, glanced over the gifts and bolted to the vault of answers: an audio cassette recorder. (Hello, 1990s).

I took a deep breath before I pushed “play,” hoping I wouldn’t hear my parents’ voices.

The tape started rolling: High-pitched laughing. “Hmm. Definitely not my dad. Doesn’t sound like my mom” said the thoughts twirling through my mind.

Then it happened, the moment that refuted my doubts, I heard the elves’ voices. They were talking about cookies and candy, only interrupted by their own incessant giggling. I was in awe, my eyes grew bigger than the jumbo cookies they talked about gobbling up. They were real and I had the proof!

Santa had always been the star of the Christmas show, but from that moment on the elves stole the stage in my eyes.

Today, I hear stories about an elf who shows up at little ones’ homes the day after Thanksgiving and appears in different places every day, doing different things. Some ornery elves have even TP’ed the Christmas tree or were found in the kitchen sink taking a marshmallow bubble bath!

Whatever your elfy tradition may be, don’t stop when your kids’ beliefs do. Keep the tradition alive, keep the holiday spirit alive and long live the elves!

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