The smell of turkey filled our house. Jammies still on, I curled up on the couch with Elsa, our five-year-old. I was about to show her one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving: the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
I flipped on the television and her eyes lit up the moment she saw the first balloon floating down 6th Avenue. She hung on every word the newscasters said. I watched her as she fell in love.
Every band and float made her gasp and the balloons blew her mind. "Look how big they are! Would that one fit in our house?" "Momma! They said that suitcase is the size of a two car garage!!" "Look at all the people holding that one! I hope they don't all float away!"
She was smitten. I was feeling all warm and fuzzy. I couldn't have designed a better Thanksgiving morning.
Then the camera panned. Floating high above the Avenue Of The Americas was a 46-foot-long Elf of On The Shelf fame.
Now, before I go any further, let me explain to those of you who are not familiar with the phenomenon that this Elf is. The Elf On The Shelf is a storybook and small stuffed Elf. The tale is that they are scout elves for Santa. They live at the North Pole and come into children's homes to watch over them between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every night they head back to the North Pole to report back to Santa about their kid.
There is one major rule: you never touch the elf. Ever. They are not toys; they are living elves that freeze when spotted. But at night, when they have returned from seeing Santa, they have free reign over your house. Some simply move spots on a shelf, while others are mischievous and do all sorts of pranks.
This is entirely up to the individual elf. And by elf, I mean parents. Every night we race to move this elf and figure out their next trick. Our elf does funny things but nothing malicious. We have also edited her purpose to be less of a Santa-spy and more of a friend who visits. Elsa calls her our house elf and just adores her and the magic she brings (along with the occasional small gifts ).
Back to the parade and the giant elf floating above NYC. Elsa was even more riveted than she had been 22 seconds prior. She has been anticipating our elf, Twinkle's (and her little sister, Little Star's), arrival ever since she left last December.
"Ah yes! Here comes every child's favorite Elf!" The announcer said. He went on, "I just love how Chippy sits happily on the shelf in our home. So easily moved each night so that the children think he has gone to the North Pole and returned. Such a great tradition."
Blink. Blink. Elsa's eyes slowly got wider as she processed the words she just heard. I counted to five so that my reaction would seem casual instead of the hyperventilating panic I was feeling.
"Who is Chippy?" I asked my near tears little girl.
"Uhhh ." She stuttered.
"Oh! I am guessing that giant balloon is named Chippy? Must be. Funny thing to name a giant fake elf." I said.
"Yeah! I bet that is his name!" Elsa said sounding relieved. "That isn't a real elf, Momma. I mean, that one is a BOY and our house elf is a GIRL and her name is Twinkle." She was sounding confident.
"Yup. She sure is a girl. Can't wait for her to show up!" I replied to her, trying to not let the relief I felt be too obvious.
I glanced over and saw that she had moved on from the announcer's blunder. Luckily the Elf was closely followed by Santa. Santa made everything better.
Meanwhile, I was a little annoyed. This announcer was working for a major television network that was broadcasting a parade being watched by millions of children. I had to wonder what made him think that discussing the reality of the Elf On The Shelf on air was a good idea. I sincerely hope his children were not watching, otherwise the arrival of their Chippy will surely be met with disappointment and a ton of questions.
If they were watching, I hope, for his sake, Santa shows up and marches through his living room to deflect his poor choice. Meanwhile, I have an Elf to welcome into my home and a five-year-old who still believes in the magic of it all. And for that, I am thankful.