Elf in Georgia

Jeffrey knew Santa Claus was watching. He knew because there was an elf in the den, watching, making sure that Jeffrey was worthy of the Christmas surprises. Every morning the elf was in a different location, levitating from the top of the kitchen cabinets to a spot up above the nook's windows, levitated by a mother's love and a father's much greater reach. Jeffrey knew first, he needed to find the magic elf and taste the joy of the season, then he could taste the cheerios. Jeffrey knew elves are magic. Jeffrey was five.

Jeffrey's grandfather was preparing to visit him for the first time; a Christmas present for his mother and grandfather that was long overdue. He was more excited about the visit than Jeffrey, in part because he did not have an elf that would magically appear in a new corner of his house. He did not believe in magical elves anyway, he tended towards a curmudgeon's view of Christmas, something just short of Scrooge or the Grinch. It was probably a benefit to everyone that he did not know anything about the elf in Jeffrey's kitchen.

Jeffrey's grandfather's artist knew Santa Claus was watching. She knew because she made elves out of cardboard and fabric and a mother's love. Every morning the joy of busy elves sent her scurrying about the house making sure that the joy of the season was whipped to a frenzy and a little more was in place for the holiday celebration. She knew that an elf's magic could break through the crust of years and disappointment. She had been touched by an elf who left her with a smile – my what a smile, too big for most living rooms, too warm to be ignored – that was part love, part art and mostly a magical curative for cloudy dispositions.

She made elf costumes. They sat in boxes most of the year, along with seasonal decorations and the supplies for making more elves. She used the elf costume to turn Jeffrey's grandfather into one of Santa's helper elves on a train ride through the Texas hill country. She had him wear a hat that was somewhere between court jester and Santa's helper. It was red and green felt that split just above the crown into two peaks of floppy bell ringing as you walk on a swaying train magic. She made an elf out of a curmudgeon with felt and bells and that smile, but Jeffrey did not know this, he was looking for Santa's security guard.

Jeffrey's mother sent out Christmas cards with pictures of Jeffrey, Jake and Carly, one of a pile for her friends, but a small treasure for even the crustiest of grandfathers. Christmas cheer can be dangerous in the hands of an artist who has a magical, elfish smile. The Christmas card went into the scanner and the images into the computer and out came cropped, enlarged, freshly highlighted grandelves who needed the appropriate festive outfits and some string through their hats so they could hang on the Christmas tree with the other ornaments. Like most people at that time of year, the time available for projects is never as great as the project itself so Jeffrey's grandfather's artist found herself working elf magic at 4:30 am, smiling and humming, thinking about how happy those faces would be when they found themselves magically turned into elves.

Jeffrey's grandfather wanted to get any early start so he would miss Dallas traffic and arrive in Atlanta for dinner. He was ready to get in the car without the elves since they were not finished, remember, he was excited.

Jeffrey's grandfather's artist used scissors, hot glue, needle, thread and markers at a Santa's helper in late December speed to make sure the elves were finished before the car door slammed. She used her magical smile to keep Jeffrey's grandfather calm until the project was ready for public unveiling. She knew that creative impulses cannot constrained by the clock anymore than gifts from the heart.

Jeffrey went to bed before his grandfather arrived in Atlanta. He slept the sugarplum dreams of a five year old at Christmas, after all he had an elf to find before school in the morning. He slept while his grandfather discussed schedules and making elves and not seeing Jeffrey before bedtime with something that looked somewhat like a Grinch. He slept while his grandfather and his mother renewed a conversation that was left hanging for years. Jeffrey woke up to search for the house elf and found elves everywhere, his grandfather in a hat with floppy points and bells, a Jeffrey elf, a Jake elf, a Carly elf and of course the watch dog elf who seemed to be smiling a special smile on this morning.

Wouldn't this be a wonderful Christmas story if Jeffrey was so excited about his elf that he almost forgot to find Santa's helper? Wouldn't this be a heartwarming story if Jeffrey insisted on taking his elfen self to school to share with his friends? Well, that is exactly what happened. A warm Texas smile filled the kitchen that morning and the magic of elves brought tepid hearts a little closer.

Like Santa, Jeffrey's grandfather had other grandchildren on his list so he climbed into his reindeer impaired sled and closed the door. Elf magic is not real. Real lives have real consequences, some that cannot be wished away with elf magic, but Jeffrey was off to school with his prized elf and a large dose of Christmas spirit. Jeffrey's grandfather never saw it coming, he had no defense for those innocent feelings. He opened the door and left the Grinch by the curb with the rest of the trash. He drove north, looking for a snowman that might be in need of a magic hat with two large floppy points and bells on the end.

Add your story to this page!

Comment on this Story

Add a New Comment

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License