Christmas / elf on a shelf

Elf on a Shelf

I have not read the Elf on a Shelf Book but I keep hearing about it. This is my elf on a shelf story. I sent this as my Christmas letter about 12  or 14 years ago… I want to share it once again.

A Tiny Christmas Story

Greetings. Snow is blanketing the farm fields around our house, the trees have a powder sugar dusting as I write this, and the sun is peeking through the clouds. I am home today baking and wrapping presents and writing to you. The house is silent except for the occasional chatter from our 2 parakeets. the kitchen is starting to fill up with baking smells coming from the cake that is in the oven. I am making a Buche de Noel. This  is my first attempt and for some reason, I have decided that a person ought to make a Yule log at least once in their life. Well, don’t feel like you have to make one – there is another reason why I’m baking today.

It all started with unpacking Christmas ornaments. I love the handmade ones the best, the ones that have come home from pre-school and kindergarten, but something happened this year that took me by surprise. As we were unpacking the usual holiday doo-dads and bobbles, out popped this little china elf. It belonged to my grandmother and I’ve had it for years. I doubt that it was very precious to her; I’m certain that my dad (her son) has no idea of its existence. I’ve barely given it any notice, it is only 1 3/4″ high and 2″ long. It can’t hang from a tree and is too small to be seen among the Santa collection in the cupboard in the living room. The impish guy is reclining on an elbow with one knee propped up, he has the usual cone-shaped red elf hat with a curl of hair poking out the front and he is wearing a green elf suit with red buttons and of course his ears are pointy. His bright round dark eyes seemed to beg me to look at him more closely this year. I studied him a minute and then took him out of the box. What to do with him?

I propped him on a shelf next to my cookbooks primarily to keep him from cluttering my desk and because I didn’t know where else to put him. This morning, I sat down at the kitchen table to write out yet another “must do today list” when I found myself reaching for my recipes. Before I knew it, an hour had passed and the list was forgotten; I was making meringue mushrooms to decorate the rolled log cake that is in the oven as I write. The little guy will look perfect sitting on the buche. I have been absorbed in play all afternoon by thoughts of teeny tiny elves in the forest. The time has flown by and I can’t believe that I am making a cake for an elf! I scold myself for spending a precious countdown to Christmas day entranced by an ornament that doesn’t fit in with the other holiday stuff. What am I thinking?

The sun is now low in the sky; it is almost 3:30, the kids will be home from school soon. A thick fluffy down comforter of snow has been tossed smoothly over the farm fields like a freshly made bed; it seems to envelope my home. The blanket is sprinkled with crystals that glisten  in the golden light. It is so beautiful. I feel an urge to be outside to walk or sled or cross-country ski. I am aware that the magic of the afternoon is almost over and I am a little sad. Tomorrow I must get back to that list.

A I rush around town in the coming days buying last-minute gifts and groceries, attending music concerts and parties, I will return to the business at hand but it will be with a sense of renewal and pleasure. I will also go skiing. Next year, I hope to remember how this little Christmas elf enabled me to see the beauty that surrounds my family and how he gave me a special day to play in my kitchen like a child.

I love this season. Here’s wishing you delightful things, peace and joy.


Peggy, Jay, Elizabeth, Sam & Henry

PS. The cake turned out well and was devoured by a pack of wild kid elves. My china elf survived and is back by the cookbooks waiting for another day of fun.

Cheers- Peg


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