Last Christmas, our family adopted an elf. No, no, not the Sally Struthers ‘for just the price of of a cup of coffee each day’ kind of adoption (that’s not meant to be flip – we do support Mercy Corps) but more of the ‘I’m a sucker for a new Christmas tradition’ kind of adoption.
The Elf arrived with his very own story book, detailing his December adventures. As it’s told, he arrives at the house on Dec 1st each year and finds himself a perch from which to keep an eye on the family. Each and every night until Christmas, he makes his way back to the North Pole to report to Santa, and then comes back and finds a new spot in the house from which he can spy all the goings on. (That is, except for the nights that perhaps Mama had a glass or two of wine before bed or Daddy had the boys over for poker or well, the ones where it seems that the little guy just LOVED yesterday’s spot and just couldn’t pick a new one.) Yes, I spend each day waiting for the knock on the door from the Elfin Social Services Dept. A stern looking lady with a clipboard will undoubtedly be showing up to ask, “Can you please explain to me how it is that that damned elf has been in the same spot for THREE DAYS NOW?” Listen, lady. We’re not perfect.
As soon as the little guy arrived, the girls (well, Katie really) set about finding the perfect name for him. We dubbed him Scouter and welcomed him into our family for twenty-four days a year.
Every morning, the first thing that we do is set out on a Scouter hunt. Could he be high on a bookshelf? Riding a chandelier? Rolled into the Roman shades (good one, Daddy!)? Perched precariously above the window a full story above the entryway (what the hell were you thinking trying to get up there, Mama?)? Yes, the little guy has brought a host of fun and adventure to our little family.
A few days ago, Katie decided to take advantage of Scouter’s presence and put him to work. She wrote a letter to Santa and asked Scouter to bring it to him that night. ed note – Hey, Luau – honey, darling, pookie pie, love of my life? Next time that you hear such a conversation and I don’t, you know cause you happen to be there for it and I’m not, it would be extremely helpful, my love, if you could well, you know, perhaps SHARE that information with your loving wife. You know, so maybe we could, oh, say – TAKE THE NOTE AWAY THAT NIGHT? Just a thought dear. Hugs and kisses, Me
After getting Katie to buy into some implausible excuse for Scouter falling down on the job, the note disappeared the following night. Now those of you who have been here a while know full well that Katie’s not the kind of kid who would write a simple list of wants to Santa. Oh no, not this little punk. This one’s got questions. Maybe a little conversation with the big guy. See what’s going on at the North Pole.
She asked him if it was snowing, if Rudolph was really his favorite reindeer, what he was up to. And then of course, she threw in a couple of gift ideas along with a pretty, pretty pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease in sparkly red and green.
I have left Katie notes for years. The mirror in her room is literally covered in little post-its from Mama. Point is, she knows my handwriting. Besides, I think we’re on the verge of losing this whole Santa thing and I was NOT about to jeopardize it. I am in no mood to have to justify my betrayal of her trust and my devious and deceptive behavior all these years. No sir, I ain’t givin it up yet.
So, I reached into my bags of tricks and found some friggin Christmas magic of my own.
ALL HAIL TECHNOLOGY!
Yes, I am an evil genius. A couple of weeks ago, we opened an e-mail account for Katie so that she could chat with her grandparents. It’s been a hoot and it’s a special treat for her to get to ‘check her e-mail’ after she finishes her homework. So, off I went to Yahoo! I opened yet another account under the name of Mr. Santa Claus and set to work responding to Katie’s letter.
From: Santa Claus
Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2008 6:35:46 AM
Subject: your letter
Thanks so much for your letter. My trusty elf, Scouter delivered it to me a couple of days ago. I’m sorry that I didn’t write back to you earlier, but, as I’m sure you can imagine, this is an extremely busy time at the North Pole. We are in the midst of all of the last minute preparations for the big night. No matter how much time we spend getting ready all year long, there never seems to be enough time!
Thank you for your questions. As for the snow .. Ho Ho Ho! it sure is snowing here at the North Pole! It never stops! It is a Winter Wonderland, just like that song that you and your mommy like to sing together. It’s very beautiful, but it can be tough to get around. It’s a good thing for the reindeer or we might not be able to get all the supplies that we need throughout the year.
About the reindeer – hmm, it’s hard to say that Rudolph is my very favorite. I love each and every reindeer in their own way. Each of them brings something different and very special to the team. Each one contributes in his own way. Dasher is very fast, while Dancer is extremely graceful, just like his name says. Blitzen is as strong as an ox and works very very hard. Whenever the others get tired, he keeps us going. Prancer is the funny one in the crowd, always keeping us laughing with his silly knock knock jokes. His favorite lately is this ..
Mary Christmas to you!
He really is a riot, that one. I hope you like his joke. Vixen is super smart and can always figure things out when the rest of us are stumped. Comet is an amazing artist and makes pictures that make everyone very happy. Comet is incredibly thoughtful and Cupid is loving and sweet. Donner is a beautiful singer and leads us all in some of our favorite songs as we ride through the sky on Christmas Eve. Did you know that we sing while we fly? Oh, it’s my favorite part of the trip! My favorite song is Up on the Rooftop. It’s about me!!
And then, of course there’s Rudolph, who I could never get through storms without. I’m sure you know the story about the Christmas that was almost cancelled were it not for Rudolph’s bright nose. Whew. That had been a close one..
So, I’m sure you see, as much as I adore Rudolph, I just don’t think I could really pick a favorite.
As for your presents, I will take your requests into consideration, but I hope you will try to remember that the REAL gifts of Christmas are not things that can be wrapped in a box. The REAL gifts are hugs and kisses and special time with the people you love.
Scouter will be keeping a good eye on everything in your house, and checking back with me every night. So you be a good girl until Christmas, OK? You listen to Mama and Daddy, be super nice and helpful with your sister and help out as much as you can. Remember, I’m checking my list – not once but twice. I always know who’s naughty or nice! So you be good for goodness sake!
HO HO HO!
She was beside herself. “Mama, Santa wrote to me! Can you believe it?”
Immediately, she set about responding. She types with one finger and it’s a tedious process, so her e-mails tend to be pretty short and sweet. This was no exception. But she spent a LOT of time meticulously alternating the red and green fonts” because those must be Santa’s favorite colors, Mama, and I know it’ll make him happy.”
Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2008 7:22:31 PM
Subject: your letter
Hi Santa! Thank you for the E-mail. I was so excited when I got your e-mail. I say, Rudolph is my favorite reindeer.
I do like Prancer’s joke. I love Christmas. I’ll be a good girl.
Oh, I assure you, love. It made Santa very, very happy.