Sunday, January 19, 2014


{This is a post I wrote back in December but we didn’t get around to uploading the photos until more recently… better late than never!}

I’d always been suspicious of the somewhat creepy elf who spies on children and lurks on a shelf, thinking he harkened back to some grim fairytale rather than anything truly child-appropriate. But this year I saw some pictures of other parents’ clever elf shenanigans and I couldn’t deny that these silly scenes matched Luke’s sense of humor perfectly. Also I’d admired the search-all-over-the-house advent scavenger hunts that a friend used to do with her kids, and searching for the elf seemed a good intro to scavenger hunts for younger kids who couldn’t yet figure out a string of clues.

But I still couldn’t get on board with the idea that Santa sent the elf to report back on children’s behavior. It seems unfitting to make such a trouble-maker a moral judge, but most of all I don’t like having a good/bad determination linked to receiving Christmas presents. Our kids would never get presents if being truly good was a requirement; an hour rarely goes by when we don’t all deserve numerous demerits in this house. Instead of being earned, Christmas gifts are an act of love, just like the gift of a perfect Savior that Christmas rejoices to celebrate.

So we decided that our elf would arrive with a babysitting storyline. We had Santa (Uncle Jack) call our house to ask Luke if we could keep an eye on Gimley, one of his elves who’d been getting into so much mischief that they were two weeks behind on toy production. Santa knew that Luke and Eleanor would be up for the task, so he’d already dropped off Gimley in our mailbox. When he got off the phone, Luke was beside himself with excitement and surprise – a rare almost speechless moment. He eventually relayed the story to us amidst jumps and squeals (mentioning that Santa sounded a little like Papi) but Erik and I assured him that a real elf couldn’t possibly be in our mailbox. Luke was elated to be correct when we went out to look! And he and Eleanor have been abuzz ever since with speculation about whether or not the elf is real and what types of trouble he might get into next. We’ve told them several times that Santa and the elves aren’t real and that it’s just a fun game, but their imaginations are so vivid that it seems they quickly find themselves believing it at least a little bit.

I’m not sure if Gimley will be back next year or if he’ll clean up his act and get reassigned to the toy production team. But he’s been fun to hunt for and laugh about during his time here!

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