This was our first year with the Elf on the Shelf. I had heard that so many of my children’s friends had their own elves so I arranged for us to adopt our own this year. He arrived on December 19th. We read the book and then my children began the process of naming their elf. While the book gave examples of cute and unusual names, my children decided that their elf needed a simple, manly name because he had to go through life wearing tights. Our elf became known simply as Bob.
As a good Elf on the Shelf, Bob was a mischievous little fellow. He did all the typical elf things such as toilet-papering my plants, wearing Jack’s underwear while sitting on top of the Christmas tree, leaving candy wrappers on the kitchen counter and hiding Jack’s DSI. My children loved waking up each morning to see what kind of mischief Bob had gotten into on his way back from the North Pole each night.
There was also a constant stream of chatter from my children as they talked to Bob. They asked him endless questions about the North Pole and how Santa made the toys. Either they received answers telepathically or they were totally content with the unblinking stare that Bob offered in response because the chatter continued day after day.
The days before Christmas, as Bob sat in his various sentry positions around our house, my children were perfect little angels. I only had to ask once for something to be done. Hands were washed before meals and the towels were neatly returned to their racks. Dirty clothes miraculously found their way into hampers (something that rarely happened before Elf Adoption Day). Bedtime schedules were kept and I even received a few unsolicited hugs. Why hadn’t I incorporated the Elf on the Shelf before? This was a mother’s dream-come-true. Then came Christmas Eve and my little dream started heading toward a nightmare. It was time to say goodbye to Bob.
Jack took it harder than Gracie but they were both upset. Jack was excited that Santa would be coming but he was absolutely heartbroken at the thought of having to say goodbye to Bob. The one-way conversations from my children to Bob became filled with pleas for him to stay.
“Bob is the brother I never had,” cried my son as he stood before me with an endless stream of tears running down his face.
“Jack, he needs to go back to his home. He misses Santa and his elf brothers and sisters,” I sympathetically responded but there was no reasoning with him.
During Bob’s stay with us my children had left cookies and milk for him every night before they went to bed. On this last night they packed a huge snack of cookies, pretzels, bananas, a loaf of bread, carrots, candy, a can of soup and a Thermos of milk. They wrote a long goodbye note, complete with tear stains. By the time they had set everything out on the table in front of Bob, I was sobbing myself.
On Christmas morning, among the many presents left by Santa, were two presents from Bob, along with a special note promising my children that he’d be back next December – complete with tear stains… mine.