The elves from my childhood were Santa’s helpers. They had green stripy legs and they had names like Patch and Sugar Socks and they always helped on the Big Day. I am a little confused, Christmas seems to have lost some of it’s magic.
For a start who decided that Advent Calendars should be full of chocolate, where did that come from? I had to work really conscientiously shopping to find one without any treats inside. John Lewis came through, expensively, with a perfect calendar; quite churchy but really nice. When Henry and Meadow saw it they were underwhelmed by it ‘Nonna, where’s the chocolate?’
‘There isn’t any, isn’t it pretty?’.
The two of them turned to granddad and asked ‘Have you got your calendar and has it got chocolate?’
Of course granddad’s has got chocolate in it.
For me, Christmas was always about the birth of Jesus. Mary & Joseph and the census and no room at the inn and the Inn-Keeper saying: ‘There’s a stable over there if that’s any good to you’ and Baby Jesus being born and laying him in a manger. Shepherds and the Angel Gabriel, the three kings following the star. We weren’t overly religious but I went to church every Sunday and it fills my heart now just to think of what Christmas meant to me instead of all of today’s consumerism.
Back to the elf, against my better judgement I allowed one into the house last year. My elf, who shall remain nameless, apparently had to do mischevious or naughty things. It was a tricky 24 days for me catching up with this elf. He or she was responsible for messing up my bookshelf, throwing cushions on the floor and untidying my kitchen cupboards. I spent all my time undoing all their impish things, so this year I had to have a word with the ‘Elf on the Shelf’ I explained that as a disabled person he or she needed to be a little bit more considerate of other people and their limitations. I explained about random acts of kindness and I think it went in. This year we’ve started off with the Help Elf. I know it’s early days but on Day 3 so far the elf has helped with seasonal mug swap and has overseen the annual retrieval of the Christmas decorations from the loft. Elf has promised to assist with sorting laundry and keep my tea box topped up.
Where did this elf come from? It was clearly imported from America on a plane or a boat or a train and now it’s here it’s obviously going to stay. Even Alexa confirms this and she knows everything. I think that Christmas is losing it’s charm. Santa Claus seems to have taken over and is rubbing his hands with glee as his pockets get heavier. Once upon a time a Christmas list sent up the chimney was allowed to be a list but with the understanding that Father Christmas could only carry one gift on his sleigh. Now Santa Claus brings many more presents somehow, but I don’t know how he carries them all.
I don’t want to feel disillusioned or cynical as Christmas approaches. I love this festival, but the pressure of having the perfect tree or stack of gifts or even the perfect Christmas lunch is so great that it takes away the enchantment. All my friends talk about the stress of Christmas, we all complain to each other over the cost of things, the waste and yet we all just carry on the same way allowing ourselves to be drawn in by the hype and advertising and media over Christmas.
What do you think?