Tuesday, December 18, 2012

when the elves come....

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Have you ever wished you had your own little elf helper? Apparently lots of people have. 
It's only natural. These days we have such crazy busy lives. But this isn’t a new phenomenon.

Even when I was a kid - back in the 1900s (as my daughter says) – we were always rushing out the door for one activity or another. Sometimes that meant things around the house were left undone – clutter in the living room, clothes unfolded, dishes unwashed.

That was fine until we got home. Standing on the front porch, my brother and I moaned and groaned about how tired we were, hoping for a chore reprieve.

Then Mom would remind us of our favorite wish:

“Well, maybe the elves have come!”

In our world, elves were benevolent creatures who – if you were really good - might mysteriously show up at your house and do your chores for you.

My brother and I crossed our fingers as Dad opened the door, hoping this time the elves had come.

They never did, but that’s probably a good thing. If we’d seen elves in our house, we probably would never have slept peacefully again.

But apparently we weren’t the only ones who wanted to outsource our chores to elves. Even Santa is taking advantage of his workforce.

Because now there are new elves in town.

Not the cookie-baking or toy-making kind.

The spying kind.

These new elves run reconnaissance on innocent children in their own homes while they sleep.

I guess I’ve been under a rock, because I only recently became aware of this new infestationtradition. So I put on my research hat (i.e., I went to Google) to find out more. What I found looked surprisingly familiar.

These little pixie elves aren’t new. My late mother-in-law had a whole elf colony she used to hide around the house on candlesticks, light fixtures, door frames. They didn’t do any undercover work. They just sat there and looked cute.

But apparently a few years ago an enterprising mother/daughter team took the initiative to turn these little Germanic pixies into Navy SEALS for Santa.

It’s a brilliant idea. Creepy, but brilliant.

And at $29.99 plus tax, I wish it had been my idea.  

But truthfully, any elf I would have come up with probably wouldn’t be as marketable. Or even child friendly.

My elf would probably be too acerbic, more sarcastic than sappy. He would be a shy loner of an elf, the kind of elf that spends too much time with theater people and indie book store owners.

Picture David Sedaris as Crumpet the Elf in “SantaLand Diaries.”

Not wanting to bother Santa, he would take things into his own tiny mittens and whisper well-intentioned but disturbing warnings to the kiddies.

“Psst, Tommy – do you know what Santa does when a boy pulls his sister’s hair? Let’s just say it’s a good thing your dad still has a job…or does he?”

“Wow, Sally, hiding candy wrappers under the bed is a novel idea! By the way, every time you hide a wrapper, a fairy loses its wings.”

“Bobby, have you ever noticed how your dad takes out his teeth?  I don’t know how to tell you this, but I think your parents could be zombies…”

“Oh, Jane, you really shouldn’t take that money from your mom’s purse…seriously…put it back…ok, I won’t tell, but if you wake up tomorrow and all your furniture is gone, don’t blame me.”

When my elf became bored, he would quote Joan Crawford movies and old sitcoms.

He would have conversations with imaginary friends.

He wouldn’t wash your dishes, but he might rearrange them.

And in the still silent hours before dawn, sitting alone and forlorn in his hiding place, my elf would start crooning like an old blues singer on helium, his high little voice cutting through the night like a rusty knife.

I’m afraid my elf wouldn’t last long.

Sometime during Advent, he’d probably find himself used as kindling. See the happy family gathered around the fireplace to watch his paint and felt go up in festive pink and green flames?

Nothing unites a family during the stressful holidays like a common enemy.

To keep up this happy tradition, every family would need to buy a new sarcastic elf every Christmas for the annual elf burning. A modern-day version of the Yule log.

Hold the phone!

My sarcastic elf might be lucrative after all, especially in urban areas. Even city dwellers not into cutesy or kitschy enjoy tradition and an extra hand where their kids are concerned.

And whoever stated that “sarcasm is imaginatively bankrupt” obviously never read the New Yorker. Or followed David Sedaris’s book sales.

One of my friends knows Mr. Sedaris. I think it’s time to do a little Christmas networking and get my copyright going. I smell a new tradition spawning.

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