Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Elf Friends

No, I haven't been into the eggnog. I don't even LIKE eggnog. I was just walking past my bookcase in the hall when I got a quick glimpse of the Christmas Elves sitting there. It made me realize that my connection to these tiny Christmas workers started long before I learned to read....which is how I landed MY job as an Elf.

"Oh look, she can read now. What a big girl she is! And yet, just the right tiny size to fit under the tree. We'll let her hand out the gifts in honor of her reading abilities."

And when you don't grow tall, you still play elf. But I digress.

Elves first came into my life courtesy of my Aunt Lell, who aided and abetted my love of chocolate. Her unusual name came from the fact that the family calls her Sara Ellen...and that my Dad, who was three years younger, couldn't say "Ellen". First he called her "Lellen" and eventually, "Lell". And thus, unless she was at work being Sara the Banker, she was Lell to us.

I don't remember if I was five or six when this tradition began, but each Christmas Aunt Lell would gift us with a small box of Whitman's chocolates. On top of the box sat a very merry Christmas elf, arms locked around his knees...although if you held him just right, they unfolded into skinny, spindly things. I found that most disturbing as a child and always carefully tucked him back into this semi-fetal position. Most of them looked like this first guy.

As the years went by, there was an occasional change of costume as I suppose even Elves get bored with red. [Or candy makers realize you need to make something collectible to sell a lot].

Every year they went up on the book shelf at home. When each kid left home, a couple of the elves went with each of us....just like that box of Christmas ornaments.

When I got married and my Mom-in-law heard about this tradition, she found a couple that had been in my hubby's childhood decorations and they too earned a place on the bookshelf.. Even though they had fancy golden instruments, I still loved my plain little guys the best.
When Aunt Lell ended up in a nursing home and I had to pack up her house and sell it, I came across her stash of elves. The original family chocoholic, it appears she'd bought a box for herself as well. I grabbed a couple of "styles" not already in my collection and offered some to my brother, who was born after this tradition was beginning to taper off...not through any fault of ours but because the chocolate company stopped the practice.

When I walked past the shelf this morning, the elves made me smile. They represent a childhood filled with belief in a sleigh riding guy powered by reindeer who rewarded the good children. I always tried so hard to be good. Some days are easier than others. As I glanced up and down the shelf my eyes widened. One elf stood out....his outfit different than the rest. He wasn't in the tucked leg position. And his hat wasn't pointy, but worn at a jaunty angle. Is it me, or does this elf look.............


Susan said...

They're hilarious! I think you're scottish fellow is hiding something up his sleevies...some whisky perhaps, to keep warm with?

Dave King said...

You've got to feel good with them around, haven't you? Charming!

hope said...

I think it's funny that they all have red hair...and as a kid,I always wanted red hair!

Dave King said...

Funny, I can't even imagine you with red hair!