Do you ever get so caught up in life's messiness, that you can't experience the joy of Christmas? According to Kathleen Smiley's story, it's as plain as the elf on your face! Read on and please leave a comment...
With a last bit of flourish, I slid the scissors over the ribbon, spiraling the pink and purple decoration as tight as the curls in Sally's long blonde hair, then pushed the present under the tree. A sigh escaped my lips as unbidden tears began to trickle down my face. I brushed them away and stood, groaning after the long present-wrapping marathon. Bing crooned on the stereo as I gazed at my living room. The tree lights twinkled, the scent of pine permeated the air, and gaily wrapped gifts cascaded outward, filling the area.
"Overcompensating, ya think?", my inner voice whispered. I shook my head to quiet it, leaned down and flicked the switch for the Christmas train. A smile came to my face as I watched it chug around the tree. Settling into my rocking chair, I sighed again.
"Bermuda", was all I could mutter. Instead of spending Christmas with the children, John and his fiance were sailing the Caribbean.
"Perhaps they'll explore the Bermuda Triangle," my inner voice piped up again. I laughed in spite of myself, leaned back and took a sip of wine, closed my eyes and tried to relax.
Almost immediately, a fly landed on my nose. My hand reached up to brush it away, then I heard a yelp and a "hey watch it, lady!". My eyes flew open to see, balanced on the tip of my nose, a small man. He was green, no more than three inches tall, and wore a silly hat and pointy slippers. I blinked and rubbed my eyes and looked again. He was still there.
"Hey lady! Merry Christmas!"
"uhhhh... Merry Christmas. Who are you? What are you?"
"C'mon, lady, you're not stupid! I'm an elf! One of Santa's chosen! Here to spread holiday cheer!"
"Number one, bah humbug, and number two, go away."
"No, lady, really! Let me show you!"
With that, he jumped onto my finger and gave it a tug. For a little guy, he was surprisingly strong. I found myself being pulled over to Tommy's emerald green bike. I'd struggled for hours to put it together, but it looked great. He leapt onto the rear tire.
"Look, lady. Did you put this here? This little license plate that says Tommy? No, of course you didn't, I did! I brought it especially for Tommy!"
Next, he jumped over to Sally's dollhouse. Most of her gifts were furnishings and decorations for the house, but the little elf pranced right into the dining room and sat on a new chair. He picked up an intricately decorated miniature tea cup and held it out to me with a smile.
All I could do was sink to the floor, my jaw hanging. He ran over to the train and jumped onto a car.
"I stowed away on Santa's sleigh so I could come see you! Santa's always so focused on children, he sometimes forgets grown ups need laughter and holiday cheer too! So a few of us elves got together and formed a secret society! Every year we each pick someone to go visit! This year, I picked you!"
"Don't you see? Because you need some Christmas cheer! Tell me, what was your best Christmas ever?"
I thought for a few minutes, rewinding through years of Christmas gifts, parties, and carols.
"One year, when I was 9, I was so excited about Santa coming that I couldn't sleep. I laid there in bed for what seemed like hours. I guess I dozed off, because the next thing I knew, there was a puppy licking my nose!"
The grin came over my face, just as it had back then. A puppy was all I wanted, all I asked for, for months. My parents kept saying I wasn't ready. And then, there he was, on Christmas morning, licking me.
The elf waved a hand and the train stopped. He climbed off and wandered over to me, his voice softer, more tender this time.
"That feeling", he said, "that joy of Christmas, is what I bring you tonight. The season is not about what you have, it's not about what you've lost. It's about the joy and wonderment in everything around you. I hope you'll keep that feeling with you always."
He jumped again and landed on my shoulder, a mischievous gleam in his eye that outshone the large smile he gave me.
"One last thing! I did get you a couple of presents, but they won't be here until morning! I hope you'll keep both of them!"
He clapped his hands and disappeared, and I was left wondering what just happened. I glanced at my wine glass, which was nearly full, and decided I didn't need more of that. Instead, I went to bed, pondering everything the elf had said.
I awakened to squeals of delight, then the sound of pounding feet as Tommy and Sally ran down the hallway, burst into my room and jumped onto the bed.
"Mommy mommy, get up! You'll never believe what Santa brought us! Get up, mommy, come on!"
I let them drag me out of bed, my heart warming as they chattered, shaking presents and guessing while they waited for me to make my coffee. Once I had my cup, I settled into my chair, but before the kids could open their first presents, the doorbell rang. My stomach was doing flip flops as I walked to the door and opened it.
"Matthew? What are you doing here?"
I was answered with a swift kiss from a beautiful snow white puppy, which both startled me and caused me to laugh out loud.
"You won't believe what happened. Can I come in?"
Matthew stepped inside and set the dog down. Soon peals of laughter echoed through the house.
"Susan? Do you happen to believe in elves?"
Kat is an entrepreneur, an animal lover, a writer, a mother, a daughter, a friend. When she's not working, she's writing, reading, or playing the occasional game.
Her sometimes updated blog is here: http://katswritingjourney.blogspot.com/