On the first day of Christmas, Elvis (our elf) gave to us: an array of paperwork to authenticate himself. My 7 year-old was caught hook, line and sinker. He was impressed that “Elvis can do the splits”. Although this was slightly undermined when he later said “I bet they say that tell everyone that their elf is ‘in training’ to make us feel like we’ve got a special one”. This was however a bit of a gift to answer: of course our elf is in training, any elf with a bit of experience would surely return to the same house year after year. This also conveniently explains why other peoples’ elves are up to all sorts of amazing stuff. Ours still has his L-plates on.
In contrast to the obvious excitement of his brother, my 4 year-old completely ignored it. No response. Absolutely nothing. There are two possible explanations (1) he fully understood what was going on and the implications of the elf reporting to Santa – so responded with a classic case of ‘ostrich behaviour’; or (2) he hadn’t a clue what was going on and couldn’t care less. Both are equally possible.
In the event that it was (1), my eldest was quick to reassure that there is “no way the elf is ever going to tell us we’re naughty”. When asked why not, he simply said: “well, that’s not what it’s all about”. Oh? he’s now an elf mind-reader! Being perfectly honest he can certainly read my mind. There’s no way that ‘naughty’ box is ever going to be ticked. The elf will only ever see them doing the good stuff (I’ve lent him my rose tinted glasses…).
On the second day of Christmas, Elvis was meant to be found in the position he was left in the evening (picture 1), but instead, we were greeted by the scene in picture 2. Yes, that’s right: no scene whatsoever. Cautiously, I broached the topic: “where’s Elvis?”. My eldest explained his younger brother had gone to the loo in the middle of the night (itself, completely unheard of), “saw Elvis, tangled in tissue, so tidied him up” (er, was that word ‘tidied’?). This involved winding the toilet roll up, putting it back in the loo and returning the toys (and notes from Elvis) to his room. What??… I-couldn’t-believe-it. There was nothing for my 7 year-old to see. Absolutely nothing.
When I asked my eldest what he thought he confidently replied: “Well, we forgot to put Elvis by the fairy door, so he must have got tangled up in the toilet roll when he was trying to find his way to the North Pole” (‘right’, I thought, ‘I can work with this’). When I asked my youngest, I got a slightly different take on it: “There is no magic in the real word”. What?? He-is-four. Surely not???….
On the third day of Christmas, yours truly was feeling a bit crest-fallen. Only I could take a simple concept and over-complicate to the point of no concept. It was day 3 and my kids still didn’t have a reasonable handle on what Elvis was all about. So, this time I kept it simple. Elvis was discovered driving an army truck in the hall, stealing Christmas decorations from the tree (well out of sight of those having a midnight trip to the loo).
Before they found him, my guys were playing upstairs and the response I got to my casual question “where’s Elvis?” from my eldest was: “he’s at the north pole”. Me: “still?”. Him: “yes, he’s got two days of things to tell Santa!”. When they finally discovered him, they loved it. Magic is back in town!
On the fourth day of Christmas, I felt the pressure to up my Elf. This time, I kept with the ‘stealing decorations’ theme and suspended him in the middle of some decorations (as though in ‘mid-swipe’). This perhaps also reflects my levels of energy for elf-shenanigans. Despite seeing the most intricate (and impressive!) elf-stunts, for some reason I don’t have more in me.
One friend had her elf squeezing ketchup onto bathroom tiles (my immediate thought was that her grouting may never be the same again…), another had a whole hockey pitch set out on the floor (with white lines marked out on the carpet with fake snow). Again, I’m thinking ‘that requires hoovering…’ (spot the OCD theme). My emerging elf-rule seems to be that he will not cause me more work. Yes: I’m a lazy elf owner.
So now my guys are finally warming to Elvis. Although this has come at a price. Only this morning I had to listen to my youngest son regaling me about how he saw “Elvis come into my room in the night and move my school socks… seriously…”. Hmm…. a denouement from ‘Colombo’ came to mind: if I challenged him too hard on the real reason he lost his socks, I would incriminate myself and the elf-web I’ve woven. He had me there. I ended up just getting new socks out.
So Elvis has found his mojo: he’s since zip-wired across a room and climbed a Christmas tree. He’s still an elf in training, but he’s getting there. Who knows, maybe one day the ketchup will come out after all?