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Hot Topics: Elf preservation is a challenge

Tracy Lee Curtis • Dec 19, 2013 at 12:04 PM

The Charlotte Observer


He’s back. The Elf on the Shelf. We’ve moved and I was hoping he wouldn’t find us. Let’s just say “Jingle” has a loose jangle and I don’t find him to be that reliable. But he always shows up the morning after we get our tree and he’s come back this year.

If you’re not familiar with this fun little Christmas tradition, this tiny elf is Santa’s spy. He sits perched somewhere up high in your house, watches your kids all day, then flies to the North Pole at night to report to Santa on all things naughty and nice. Then flies back and sits in a new spot for the kids to find the next morning.

But Jingle and I gotta get some things straight. Like I don’t think he needs to come when the tree does. We don’t need three weeks of reporting. If I were Santa, I would just want one brief update, like Christmas Eve when I’m gassing up the sleigh.

But Jingle says there’s some sort of Santa clause that states once you’ve established an arrival tradition, it’s forever. Something to do with consistency — and children freaking out that their elf might not be coming.

You wanna talk consistency? Then you better actually fly off every night and be back in a different spot every morning. Because I’m tired of covering for you with ridiculous excuses to my kids when you’re still in the same spot — like you hit the eggnog, or the cat had you cornered.

Jingle claims he’s allergic to my poinsettia and that it makes him drowsy. And he demands that we set an alarm. Fine. We set it for twelf o’clock.

I insist he pick a secure spot — grab a firm hold and stay there. And if he falls, he can’t just lie there all night face down for the kids to find him. It traumatizes them and they think he’s dead.

But he fires back that he’s “Elf on the Shelf.” Not Elf on the Tree. Or Elf on the Finial. Or Elf on the Fridge. And he can’t be expected to teeter on some lamp, mirror or appliance.

Noted. But it’s three weeks, and I have only so many shelves. This ain’t the library. Besides his little mitten hands are sewn together, so lasso something and stay there. If I could hook my arms around a chandelier and swing from it, I would.

He says it’ll cost me. A case of candy canes and the movie “Elf” on DVD. Geez, aren’t you a shadow of your former elf. We shake on it — well, I wrap my pinky around his little uni-hand and wiggle.

And then he laughs! An evil elf laugh. He thinks he’s got me right where he wants me. Well, just wait. Next year we’re not getting a tree. We’re gonna get a 6-foot poinsettia.


Tracy Lee Curtis is a mom after a 15-year career in TV and film. She lives in Charlotte. You can reach her at tcurtis@charlotteobserver.com

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