BY Johnny Birdsong & Calhoun Birdsong
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The holiday season is officially here, and that means one of our favorite Christmas traditions has returned: The Elf on the Shelf. Dressed in red from head to toe, Santa’s helpers head to homes around the globe to spread Christmas cheer and ensure the children end up on Santa’s nice list.
The idea is simple: A family adopts a Scout Elf. The Elf heads back to the North Pole each night to report on the children’s behavior, then returns in the morning, where he will perch in a new spot in the home – to be found when the kids wake up. Some elves simply relocate, while others create mischief overnight. The children know to look for the Elf during Scout Elf Return Week, and the fun continues through Christmas Eve…or through New Year’s at our house. I know the anticipation for our two elves – Elsa and Kristoff, to arrive at my house is huge.
My youngest son, Calhoun, and I were discussing the arrival of his elf, Kristoff, and found we both had some questions. To get the information straight from the source, I contacted the North Pole and asked my personal friend, Santa, if it would be possible to interview Kristoff. He got permission to answer a few questions for me via e-mail. We learned a lot from Kristoff...
CB: How do you get your magic?
K: We get our magic when we are named and loved by our given child. Once our kid takes us in, names us, loves us and – most importantly – BELIEVES in the spirit and magic of Christmas, Santa gives us magic powers. We then are given the opportunity to watch over our child or children throughout the holiday season and all throughout their childhood…and even beyond. Our purpose is to enhance the belief in GOOD and encourage them to be their best. We use that magic to go back to the North Pole and report to Santa that they should be on the NICE list.
CB: What happens if someone is not good, and you must tell Santa they are naughty?
K: Well…that is the toughest part of my job. I truly feel that all children are good at heart, so I look to see why they may be acting badly or what’s upsetting them. That’s what Santa and I will discuss. Then we put a plan together on ideas and things to try to cheer them up and make them feel happy with themselves and encourage them to WANT to be good. My responsibility is to build and enhance that holiday spirit.
CB: What’s your favorite color and number?
K: My favorite color is red, of course! And my favorite number is 25 because Christmas falls on the 25th!
CB: What happens when we touch you?
K: I lose my magic. Period. It may seem a bit dramatic but it’s Santa’s way of making sure you kids understand that following the rules is important.
JB: Oh wow! So how do you get your magic back or can you?
K: The child should write a note to his/her elf and Santa, apologizing for touching your elf. This is the most effective way to help your Elf get back in action quickly! Next, have a parent or adult place him in your Christmas tree overnight. After all, the Christmas tree is magical, too. When I am sitting in the tree, I am filled with Christmas spirit and, if your letter is sincere and your understanding of the rules is clear, Santa will give me back my magic. Kids will be kids, and sometimes they just can’t help themselves…they have to see if what they were told is real…IT IS. You have to BELIEVE in things you don’t understand.
JB: Why do you not move or talk when we see you?
K: Well, you know that Scout Elves can’t talk to regular humans, only amongst ourselves and, of course, to the Big Man himself. That’s why I am only able to communicate to do this interview with you via e-mail. But…we are great listeners (Psst: That means we hear everything, Johnny). My fellow elves and I have the important job of being Santa’s eyes and ears during the busy Christmas season. Same with the moving. I am always busy observing. I only move when everyone is out of the room, asleep or away from home. This is one more way to keep the MAGIC alive in the children. I sometimes will move from room to room. I like to find different, fun, interesting and maybe unexpected spots – kind of like “hide and seek.” I do admit that I sometimes can’t help to get into a bit of mischief – after all, I am a kid at heart.
If you know the famous Christmas song, “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” then you’re familiar with the lyric: “He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake.” Santa can’t always be at everyone’s house, so that’s where we come in! We sit in one spot all day (you won’t ever see us move) and observe the behavior of the children in the house…and adults, too. So, as the BIG GUY says, “You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout and I’m telling you why… SANTA CLAUS is coming to town.” Get Ready!
JB: Thank you, Kristoff. We can’t wait to have you back in our home. You really do make the season even brighter. Do you have any advice you would give to me and other parents as we prepare to welcome you?
K: My favorite advice is always: Try to be like Santa and learn to give, as only he can give: of ourselves, our talents, our time, our love and our hearts.
Maybe if we could all learn Santa’s beautiful lesson, there would be peace on earth and goodwill toward men.
If we lead by example, follow the rules, and show our kids how to stay on the NICE list for Christmas and year-round…we can then set a path for future generations, Southern Gentlemen and Ladies.
Merry Christmas to all… And remember: Always BELIEVE in the MAGIC!