Crispin, Jilly and Zibby are our own personal Christmas elves. These mischievous Santa’s helpers are called from the North Pole with crackers (to remind them of the crunching snow) and water (melted snow); they visit for the weeks before Christmas, hiding, making messes and bringing joy until they return to Santa’s village on Christmas Eve with Santa.
I’ve always loved everything about Christmas and I am still overcome with the love, generosity and magic of the season. I see the deeper meaning of Christmas even within seemingly commercial, non-spiritual activities. I love the sheer excitement and amazement in my children’s eyes when the elves are discovered in the morning in a pile of homemade snowflakes and all the scraps that go with it or creating music at the piano among music strewn about.
When we moved to Rhode Island nearly seven years ago, some friends introduced me to elf-magic.com, instead of getting an elf per child as some families did, I chose to introduce just one elf. Crispin was our first little boy elf. Over the years the kids attributed magic to the elves beyond the intention.
One morning, they could not find Crispin anywhere, it was hilarious to me because they passed by him over and over. He was in the downstairs bathroom where the silly elf had unrolled several rolls of toilet paper and hidden in the tube of one in the middle of the huge mess of paper. The kids walked back and forth searching and never saw the paper. Finally, my son said, “Wait, maybe we need to get ready for school and do what we’re supposed to do first, then we’ll be able to find him!” So they scurried off to get dressed. Right after that, they somehow did see the toilet paper explosion, faces filled with wonder, and as a bonus to me, it reinforced doing the right thing!
A couple of years ago, we were at a friend’s home just before Christmas, I knew she had an elf for each of her boys and I wondered if my children would notice. As we entered, the elves hung from the door frame and they noticed. That evening, only two days before Christmas, Michael took me aside and whispered that he wanted to ask Santa to send two girl elves for his sisters. He wrote a note secretly to which Santa replied that it was too close to Christmas and he needed every elf in his workshop, but he’d try to send the elves after Christmas. My son’s sensitivity and thoughtfulness, the pureness of his request was heartwarming, it embodied the spirit of Christmas. He wanted to give his sisters happiness. I hurriedly sat down at my computer.
Two days after Christmas, Crispin returned and brought Jilly and Zibby. The three rascals emptied the pantry and made castles out of the cans and stacked towers of the boxes. Somehow, the elves know just what cabinet, draw or closet could use some attention, then they make a dramatic mess of it forcing me to organize it as I clean up after these playful elves.
The elves leave poems and notes and answer questions, one year they left early explaining that they didn’t like the bickering going on, once the kids pulled it together to get along, the elves returned and went back to their naughty ways. Our elf adventures have grown and now they visit for each child’s birthday for about a week. It’s expected, anticipated and the elves are thought about throughout the year. Our youngest will lament, “I miss Crispin, Jilly and Zibby.” Or they’ll scheme and ask in August if they can leave out crackers and water so they’ll visit.
Some elfin tips:
- Don’t let your children bring them to school, the other parents will angrily call you to find out how to get an elf to arrive that night.
- Unless you have a child’s birthday in early December, like we do, don’t have them arrive too early in the month, it does take creative energy each night.
- While the kids love to snuggle and sleep with their elves, it’s much easier to remember and to retrieve the little guys if your kids tuck them into their sleeping bags, leave them their food and sprinkle them with snow flakes before they go to bed.
- Look online for some tricky ideas. Other sites: Complicated Mama, Blossom Bunkhouse
Some of our favorites:
- When the elves cleaned up the whole play room, emptied out the entire DVD collection and left the new movie, “Elf” and the elves were discovered sitting lined up in front of the TV waiting to watch it.
- The elves love to hang out in the fridge since they love the cold, it reminds them of home.
- We’ve found the elves in the car ready to go out, dangling toe-to-toe from the ceiling fan, at the bottom of a pile of clean laundry that needed to be put away (the kids find them when they’ve done their chores!), and on the bird cage keeping our pet cockatiel company!