My daughter is a true believer.
She is almost 8 years old, but with her entire heart and soul she knows that the world is filled with magic of all kinds. She sees daily miracles in the form of the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, the brownie fairies that visit at night to do good deeds, and, of course, Santa Claus.
I cannot fault her for this. I wish my heart was as unguarded as hers. I wish I could see these myriad, minute kindnesses.
Alas, I cannot. The Christmas season makes me twitchy, for reasons too numerous to list here. But my children start to get that holiday sparkle in their eyes the second we clear the Thanksgiving table. Me, I want to hide under the bed and come out on January 2.
But that isn’t how it works when you have kids, at least, that’s how I feel. I know there are many of you who “don’t do Santa” or wait with baited breath for the Tooth Fairy to leave town. In our house, we are full-on Santa, even when it pains me.
This year, Emmie came home asking about the Elf on the Shelf.
I did my best to ignore the Elf on the Shelf, thinking it was a silly game for moms who had extra time on their hands, which, frankly, I do not. And he’s a wee bit on the creepy side, with that sideways smirk. He reminds me of a guy who used to do birthday parties in my hometown who later turned out to be a pedophile (true story).
There was no love for the Elf in my house. Until this week.
I bought an Elf on the Shelf. I shelled out $30 (well, less than that, I had a coupon) for this strange little doll and I hung him from a wreath on my back door Wednesday afternoon. When we got home from school, my kids began to shriek. Emmie nearly had a stroke she was so excited.
“MOMOMMOMMOMOMOMOMOMMOM! AN ELF AN ELF SANTA GAVE US AN ELF! I WISHED AND I WISHED AND I WISHED AND IT CAME TRUUUUUUUUE!”
Her eyes told me the truth: She knew that our Elf on the Shelf showed up, went into the basement, dug out our wreath, hung it, wrote her and her brother a note, and waited for them to get home from school.
I’m OK with that.
There’s a lot of hate out there for the Elf. And I get it, I really do. I have a job (or three), I have two small kids who need to be fed and bathed on a regular basis, I have 50 people on my holiday shopping list, I have a dirty house…I get it.
Who has time to think about funny things for a creepy looking doll that reminds you of a sexual predator to do every night?
I do, now, because I love that light in my child’s eye. She believes, as my cousin so beautifully put it, in a world of infinite possibilities. I know I didn’t put that belief inside her, I was born with a scowl on my face and the surety that the universe was here to kick my ass. But she has it and I want to keep that light burning as long as I possibly can.
That light brought some of the joy of Christmas back to my heart, and that is a true holiday miracle.
So go ahead and hate on the Elf on the Shelf. Ours is named Chris, and I love him.