Each November, usually on the weekend following Thanksgiving Day, my home is visited by a magical elf. His job is to observe general niceness (and occasional naughtiness) of my daughter and report back to the North Pole; interestingly, naughtiness typically diminishes while he is in our home. His arrival is announced by the appearance of a magical gift. At our old home, this was the lighting of a small Purplecone spruce tree in the island bed in the center of our back lawn. I have never understood how he could make a tree light up when it was smack in the middle of the yard. That is how I know he is magical.
Last year, we had no tree in the middle of the clearing, and this was the cause of much concern in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Fortunately, the wondrous little fellow came through in the clutch, bringing a small Noble Fir with colored lights and a selection of ornaments, all of which he left right outside my daughter’s bedroom door. To be certain there was no such distress this year, I planted a suitable tree in the center of the clearing for him. He responded superlatively, lighting it with festive colored lights one evening when we were all away having pizza. Coming home to that lovely little Alpine Fir casting its glow upon the darkened clearing was magical indeed. Since then he has been moving about the house, as is his custom, all the while gaining strategic vantage points upon my daughter and presumably transmitting glowing intel for his boss up North.
If all this sounds a bit like the book Elf on the Shelf, well…you’re wrong. The author of that book says she based it upon a tradition she started with her family in the 1970s. My magical elf is the direct descendant of the magical elves that populated my mother’s home when she was a child, way back in the 1930s and 40s. Some of these elves later moved to my parents’ house, some to my aunt and uncle’s. Now they come to my sister’s, my cousins’, and my home, making certain all our kids are not naughty. It has nothing to do with that book. So stop saying that.
Unfortunately, the magical indoor tree that appeared last year has caused the magical law of diminishing returns to kick in. A magically lighted outdoor tree doesn’t cut the Christmas mustard when the possibility remains that a small indoor tree could arrive, lighted and ready to be decorated with fairies, ballerinas, and the cast of Rankin and Bass’ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer rendered in ornament form. I sometimes come upon my daughter standing beneath our elf and whispering to him. I hear ‘tree,’ and ‘doll,’ and I think perhaps secrets may pass between them that have nothing to do with Christmas. I hope the elf–whom my daughter named Schizzle when she was two, for reasons that shall remain purposefully murky–might bring her a living Christmas tree, perhaps a Washington native that can be planted in my clearing after the holidays are over. Whether or not he does, I will delight with my daughter as he leaps from room to room and from perch to perch, and hope that maybe I might be just a bit nicer when Schizzle is watching me, too. Schizzle is magical that way.
UPDATE: Schizzle brought a ‘tabletop’ Alpine Noble Fir while we were all asleep in the wee hours of Saturday morning…a very exciting thing to find when we all woke up. I am pretty sure that he learned that a living Northwest native conifer would need to be moved to the outdoors every other week during the Christmas season, and that is a lot of trouble and heavy lifting, even for a magic elf.