Beyond The North Pole

Those of you who read my blog regularly (and if you don’t, why the heck not?!) know that Max plays Elf on the Shelf for me every year in December. Each morning, before I wake, he helps my elf find clever hiding places so I can play elf hide-and-seek. Up until this year, the grown-up version of the elf was very tiny- about as long as my thumb and half as wide. Kringle’s size made it possible for him to hide in a wide variety of bizarre places. Not a good option for the younger set. Most kids worth their salt would have become bored and frustrated looking for a microscopic elf. Children would have the good sense to wander off to pursue more rewarding activities. I was not so wise. I often needed multiple hints to locate him and there were some mornings I searched for a good half hour before calling “ally, ally, outs in free.” The elf would giggle maniacally when Max retrieved him from a place I either would never think to look or, embarrassingly, where I had already looked several times.

Max liked that Kringle the Elf was so small because it gave him the advantage in the game. I liked that he was small because it made him unique and interesting. On the other hand, Kringle’s size made him kind of delicate. And hiding places like a slat on a plantation shutter or in the fold of a blanket on the couch were definitely hazardous to his health. His little appendages were about as thick as toothpicks and more fragile. Over the years, bits of him kept breaking off until there was really only a torso, head, and bit of a cap left of him. It was pathetic, but I would not relent and replace him.

For one thing, my Kringle was part of a limited-edition promotion. You cannot just buy tiny elves. The elves in the stores were all much bigger than Kringle. If Kringle is the measuring stick, a regular elf on the shelf seems like a mutant. One year, Amazon gave away these mini-elves with a $100 purchase. Since spending $100 on Amazon was child’s play for my mother, she acquired several of these little guys and gave them away for Christmas of 2015. That is the other reason I was loathe to replace Kringle. My mother bought him and inspired the game of elf hide and seek that Gary plays with me each December. Kringle was part of my Christmas sentimental journey to visit my Momma.

This year, however, when Max and I were wandering around Hobby Lobby a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, we found a facsimile elf that was only slightly larger than Kringle. Max finally convinced me to let Kringle go home to the Great North Pole In The Sky and bring a new elf, Kristina, into our little family. I agreed reluctantly only on the condition that I myself had no part in disposing of our mutilated little Kringle. One day he just disappeared. I assume he is enjoying his retirement in a nice safe hiding place.

Kristina has been an excellent elf, although I still think of Kringle fondly. She is a little bigger so she is a little easier to find. However, she is easily as sneaky as Kringle. Some days, I have found her lickety-split. Other days, I have needed hints. Two days, I surrendered to her stealthfulness. She hid inside the battery compartment of my wooden Bavarian village. She hid in the paper bag that holds the Christmas card Max bought me. She hid under the edge of the Christmas tree skirt. I think my favorite place that she hid was inside the stable on my fake gingerbread nativity set. I guess she was trying to get there before the wise men.

I sometimes wonder if I am ever going to grow up. Then, I wonder if I want to.

What Christmas activities are making you jolly this year? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at

Merry Christmas, everyone! Love and joy come to you!

see the nativity set on the bottom shelf- fake gingerbread manger scene, complete with elf!
See her bringing that all important gift of peppermint to the Baby Jesus!

Spreading The Elf

Those of you who have been traveling through life with me over the past several years know that December is elf of the shelf month in my house. Every morning, Max hides my miniature elf, Kringle, somewhere in the great room at the front of my house. I search for him each day and, boy, does he get into some mischief. Kringle is very, very little,  He is about as long as my thumb and about half the width of my thumb. Unfortunately, because he is so small and his limbs tend to be a bit delicate, he has had a few amputations over the years. He has lost bits of appendages, which makes him even smaller. His size makes it extremely easy for him to hide in places where he is almost undetectable. Sometimes, I need a lot of hints. This year, though, I’ve been hot on the Kringle trail most mornings. Both Max and I look forward to playing our elf game. It makes me quite giddy. Yes, I am very, very weird.

But maybe I am not the only one who is very, very weird. Two of my friends are intrigued by my elf adventures. They asked me to text them pictures each morning to show what Kringle was up to. We have invented quite the elaborate mythology around the process.

One morning, Kringle was at the bottom of a Moscow mule cup and another morning, he hid in a double shot glass. We decided the all-night benders had to stop and recommended that it was time for an intervention. The next day, he obviously felt he needed wise counsel and hid in the pages of my devotional booklet. Another day, he was trying to read the Bible, but his hands were too tiny to open the book. We took him on our annual Disney holiday vacation, and, on the last day, he was obviously ready to go home because he was hiding in my open purse. Once, he was sitting in the corner, behind the sliding shutters in the dining room, facing the wall. We decided he must have been misbehaving in elf school. On another morning, he was hiding behind one of the legs of our kitchen table. I said it was a lucky thing it did not take me long to find him because it took me pretty much all day to get up again after wiggling myself down to find him. My elf-finding skills may be improving with age, but my elf-retrieval skills are not!

I am glad that my friends are enjoying Kringle’s adventures with me. Sometimes, in the weird world within my brain, it can feel kind of lonely. After all, I cannot expect upstanding, reasonable adults to understand my obsession with a three-inch piece of plastic. It is nice to know that other people do live in Weird World, too. Or maybe that is going a bit too far. Maybe no one else really lives in my Weird World, but I love it when they come to visit!

Have a holly, jolly, very merry Christmas! Here’s to Kringle and spreading the cheer… one elf at a time!

Kringle had a hard night and woke up at the bottom of a Moscow Mule mug! He needs an intervention!

What is your weirdest Christmas tradition?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at

Have a very merry, holly jolly Christmas, everybody!!!!

Terri/Dorry 😊