Being the stealthy creatures that they are, Elves are tricky to follow. Knowing this, and lacking any useful magic myself, I began to prepare days in advance. I had determined to find out where that dratted Elf on a Shelf went every night. I didn’t believe the hooey that he went to the North Pole and back every night to make his report.
That story was particularly unbelievable given the myriad forms of communication available. Fax, Skype, text, email, Instant Messaging, twitter, Facebook, oh yeah, and the phone. I’m sure I’ve left something out. Anyway, I wasn’t buying the idea that our Elf on a Shelf was putting that many miles on his frequent flyer card during December. Determined to find out what he really did every night, I put my plan into motion.
My plan wasn’t high-tech at all, just a play on an Elves weaknesses.
Three nights before my attempt to follow him, I left out an Elf’s favorite food, M&M’s. I didn’t simply leave out one small bag of them, no. I set out several already opened bags, peanut, plain, pretzel filled, mint. Of course, lack of restraint being an Elf’s chief weak point, he ate nearly every crunchy candy-shelled morsel of chocolate I had left out.
The next night I strategically set out eggnog. An opened half-gallon of the creamy confection “accidentally” was left on the counter. Several mostly full glasses were strewn about the house. Sure enough, the next morning, not a drop of eggnog could be found. I’d have sworn he’d licked the glasses clean.
The last night before my attempt to track his movements, I left out treats galore. I set out bowls of carmel popcorn, candied pecans, taffy, and almond roca. I set out plates of fudge and divinity and homemade caramels. As I knew he would, Elf went wild and ate every last crumb. The little hog.
I had also casually left lying about, as added insurance, a miniature necklace of sparkling jingle bells. Shiny musical jewelry was sure to be irresistible to this little mischief maker. Sure enough, the next morning, the necklace was hanging around Elf”s neck, as if someone had dressed him up and placed him just so. As if, ha!
After three nights of extreme indulgence, Elf on a Shelf was looking a bit plump. I knew he’d be slower, louder, less graceful. Between his heftier self and the jingling necklace it would be a cinch following him later that night.
I “fell asleep” on the couch in the same room where Elf perched. When he moved for the first time all day, I heard the tinkling of that lovely little necklace and quietly followed him.
Fortunately he didn’t open some wormhole or secret door to transport himself to the North Pole. No, it was much less dramatic than that. Surprisingly I followed his clunking, chunky steps to a nearby all night coffee house. Oddly enough, dozens of other Elves off of their shelves were converging there as well.
Each Elf grabbed a tiny cup of hot cocoa, threw himself into a comfy couch or chair and began chatting up a storm with the group. Back slapping and high-fiving and fist bumping, they joked and chortled. After their third cup of cocoa, they began sharing miniature photographs and passed them around the circle . They were laughing and guffawing, snorting and hooting.
Shockingly , there were photos of Mom’s sneaking candy and wrapping gifts for themselves, photos of Dad’s adding an extra something to their morning eggnog and peeking under the wrapping paper at gifts under the tree. The photos of the children’s shenanigans were particularly hilarious to themselves. It was “awkward family photos” run amok.
After a few minutes of this veritable, chocolate drunken laughfest, I’d had enough. I walked the darkened streets, dismayed and disillusioned.
Our Elf would find himself without a shelf to sit on by morning. As cute as some of his nightly forays had appeared, I now knew the truth and would not take part any longer.
Who knew what secret Facebook-like nonsense these Elves participated in. Was Santa in on it, too? Or was it just this one small group of rogue Elves?
I wished I could turn back the clock to three days before. I wished I’d never followed our Elf. Sometimes, it’s better just to be oblivious.