Usually it’s the red and green sprinkles I can no longer find on the shelves. Of course, I could buy them early when I actually see them everywhere but that would be too easy. Instead I ransack my shelves at the last-minute and usually turned up every pastel color in the universe, but nary a red or green in sight. It’s my own fault.
This year it was that pesky “Elf on the Shelf.” A few weeks before Christmas he peered at me from every shelf in every store, peeking down mischievously from the box he was nestled in. Wal-Mart, Walgreen’s, Costco, Kohl’s. And I saw him on other people’s Facebook walls. He was everywhere. Of course, I wasn’t looking for him……then.
Then, the other night, Elaine said she wished she would have got one for the kids on her bus. “Well,” I said, up for the adventure, “We’ll just pop into Walgreen’s on the way to the gym and pick one up.” No problem. We made a sweep through the store in our workout wear expecting to pick one up and dash out the door. But nary an elf did we find.
“Let’s try Wal-Mart,” she said. “Surely they couldn’t be out.”
A few sweeps through that store took a while longer. Earlier in the week she had made the mistake of mentioning it to the kids on her bus and each day since they had boarded the bus with their eyes peeled in eager anticipation of finding it. How could she disappoint them now?
The closest thing we found at Wal-Mart was a hard plastic version which was not satisfactory. At this point we were almost ready to find a knockoff version that looked similar. Or maybe a red sock with a face drawn on it. I did however, find some red and green sprinkles which I picked up and put back on the shelf. I wasn’t looking for those, after all.
By this time, going to the gym was out of the question. We were on a quest to find the Elf. Earlier that day we had been to Costco and they had the whole Elf kit, the one that came with the book and the puzzle. But we didn’t want the whole kit, we just wanted that wee little stuffed figurine. After we struck out at Wal-Mart, we decided to cast our net a bit wider and go next door to Kohl’s.
But nary an Elf could be found. He remained absent. I began to feel like he was laughing at us from the top of whatever shelf he might be hiding on. He was now known to us as the “elusive Elf not found on any shelf.” I was beginning to hear a rhyme in my head that ran like a Dr. Seuss book.
We ran here and we ran there, but so far he wasn’t anywhere. Not on the shelf not on the chair. Not anywhere.
As we drove out of the parking lot I said, “We are going to Costco aren’t we?”
“You bet.” She said.
We bought the whole kit and caboodle, the book, puzzle, game and of course the Elf himself. And I got some walnuts which I was too cheap to buy earlier in the day.
And I am happy to say it was well worth it. The first little girl on the bus shrieked as she saw him in his hiding place where he rode part of the route strapped to the top of the first aid kit. It was all great fun. Anytime you make a child happy it’s a good day.
Sometimes it really is the little things to them that mean the most. Knowing someone cares enough to have a little fun along with them makes all the difference in their world. Make a kid smile today, you’ll be glad you did.
For such is the Kingdom of Heaven.