"Mama, is Zippy real?" my 9-year-old munchkin asked just before Thanksgiving. "Suzie's mom told her that she was too old for an elf, and elves come from a store anyway."
I thought fast. "Honey, you've seen the Elf on the Shelf display at the bookstore, right? So, you already knew that you could get elves at the store."
"You know, some of your Santa presents come from stores, too. You knew that, right?"
"Well, just because something comes from a store doesn't mean that Santa isn't involved." I held my breath. I'm not sure if I was hoping she'd buy my explanation or keep asking more questions. I've been a little ambivalent about the elf from the beginning.
So, why do we have two? It was Thanksgiving night, and we were staying at my parents' house. "I can't wait to see where Zippy is tomorrow morning!" said the munchkin at bedtime. Uh-oh. Zippy was still at his summer residence in back-home-closetville.
"Honey, Zippy usually doesn't come until Dec. 1."
"But, Millie said that her elf was coming the day after Thanksgiving. Why would hers come then and mine wait until December 1st? I'm 100% SURE he comes tomorrow!"
After she went to sleep, I asked my mom, "Don't you have an old little Christmas elf that was grandma's?"
"I think so."
"Can we look for it?"
"Oh, Lord, that stuff's all packed up in the storage boxes in the closet. We'd never find it."
The closet had boxes stacked to the 12-foot ceiling. The elf was in the 9th box.
There was a note from Santa the next morning. Turns out that Zippy took a kick to the head while helping Santa feed the reindeer. He'd recover, but in the meantime, Scotty would be filling in. After a few days, Zippy and his bandaged head appeared with Scotty and they've been working together. We think Scotty might be an apprentice. He's a little less mature than Zippy and is sometimes discovered doing mischievous things like eating our chocolate chip cookies, riding on the Zhu Zhu puppies, or drinking syrup.
I'm thinking that there's just no escaping Santa's elves. There will probably be an elf in the house when she comes home from college.