An Open Letter from an Elf on the Shelf:

Listen, I know some of you don’t really like me much.

You think I’m a snitch.

That I was just sent here to keep the kids in check.

The Naughty and the Nice.

But you’ve got me all wrong.

I’m here for much more than that.

I’ve got one real mission . . . and it’s all about the Magic.

So before you write me off, give me a minute to explain . . .

I’ll never forget the first time those kids laid eyes on me.

It was the first time I really felt alive.

Really saw the Magic.

Mom had read them my book the night before, and the next morning I waited for them, perched on a shelf in their living room. Their little eyes lit up, and they squealed with delight upon finding me.

RELATED: An Open Letter to Santa’s Elf: Stay Off My Shelf

Every morning thereafter, they woke up and ran around the house looking for me. And every time they found me it was like Christmas day.

The first few years were simple. I’d just move from place to place. My presence in a new spot was enough to spark excitement!

But before long, some social page insisted that I participate in all kinds of antics.

I wasn’t just sitting on a shelf anymore.

I was sipping syrup in the fridge.

Cruising around in Barbie’s convertible.

Fighting off armies of plastic men.

Drawing funny faces over family portraits.

Being frozen in ice by Elsa . . .

And even sometimes caught up in compromising situations that I’d rather not mention . . .

But the kids ate it up!

They had this rule that they weren’t supposed to touch me, but I remember the first time one of them did.

It was an accident.

I was hanging from a Spidey web I’d created the night before. The poor kid walked into me and knocked me to the floor.

My heart broke as they cried hysterically, believing they’d ruined my Magic.

The following morning, I was tucked into a bed of tissues, wrapped in gauze. I would be on bed rest for a couple of days. I was hurt, but not broken.

Soon enough I was magically healed . . . and the antics could continue.

And year after year they did.

Until the oldest learned “The Secret.”

I knew it was coming.

He’d been looking at me more skeptically lately.

He’d even touched me and found me unscathed the next morning.

I was afraid he’d be upset. That the Magic might be lost.

But he proved how strong the Magic really was.

One night when Mom and Dad were too tired and fell asleep, he woke early and noticed I hadn’t moved . . .

So . . . he moved me!

His parents were roused by his little sister calling my name. They jumped up, realizing they had forgotten, and ran downstairs in a panic only to find me sitting in the Christmas tree with a candy cane in hand.

The little girl was giggling, none the wiser of the passing of power. But the brother stood behind her, a beaming smile splitting his face. She didn’t notice, but the parents did. They realized the Magic was spreading.

RELATED: The Kindness Elf: An Intentional Alternative to Elf on the Shelf

We had a couple more good years. New antics. New surprises. New hysterics. Mom and Dad were thankful for the help of their oldest . . .

But this year, when I was dug out by the family after Thanksgiving, I was set on a shelf and hadn’t moved since.

I felt like it was over. Since both kids were now in on the secret, the Magic was gone.

I watched my family decorate the tree.

I watched their new puppy trying to rip down ornaments, a new daily excitement.

I watched the snow fall.

I watched the brown boxes delivered, and hurried up the stairs to hidden places.

And while my family moved about, driven forth by the coming holiday, I sat still.

Until one night . . .

That one night, the girl looked at me and smiled. While Mom was out of the room, she picked me up and placed me on the mantle above the fireplace.

It may have taken a while for Mom to notice, but I’ll never forget the way her face lit up when she saw me up on her favorite spot in the house.

It was like the first time I came alive.

All the Magic came alive again.

RELATED: Is This Our Last Magical Christmas?

You see, I wasn’t sent here to keep everyone in check. I was sent to prove that Magic, Real Magic, will always exist.

It lays deeper than a bottomless sack of presents.

It’s spread farther than the North Pole and back.

And it’s warmer than any fur-lined red coat.

Real Magic exists in small acts of kindness that spark joy in the ones we love.

And while my children may have outgrown the whimsical, I know I’ve sparked a Magic that will never smolder.

Life can be bittersweet.

Kids grow up.

New traditions replace the old.

But every year, when Christmas comes around, I’ll be here to spread a timeless Magic.

And I know in this home, my mission was accomplished.


Sonic the Elf

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Mehr Piracha Lee

I’m a writer, wife, and mom of two navigating motherhood with careful attention to keep my children grounded, empowered, and even a little wild. I write Raise Her Wild to inspire and connect with other moms (and dads) walking the same path. You can also find me on Facebook & Twitter.

The Best Elf on the Shelf Idea Ever (Bonus: It Helps Declutter Toys, Too!)

In: Motherhood
Elf on the shelf idea declutter toys

Sweet, sweet Christmastime. The lights, the smells, the festive music. The cozy blankets and mugs of hot cocoa and Hallmark movies playing on loop. I. LOVE. IT. ALL. Since becoming a parent, though, there is one part of Christmas that I’m not all that crazy about—the flood of “stuff” that enters our already full home on December 25th. Friends and family mean well (and heck, I’m just as guilty of over-indulging), but I inwardly cringe at each gift my kids open as I think of their overflowing toy boxes and wonder, “Now where the heck are we going to put...

Keep Reading

A New Tradition: Our Kindness Elf

In: Journal
A New Tradition: Our Kindness Elf

The holidays are absolutely my favorite time of the year. I allow for more treats than the other eleven months, coordinate the family to wear as much red as possible, and find myself always humming or singing the jolliest of tunes. As a kid I would start my gift list in July. But after the Black Friday debacle of 2009 (if you’ve experienced Black Friday you know what I mean), the husband and I regained focus on the Season of Giving. Every family has their own holiday traditions and we find ourselves always adding to ours. My favorites include skipping Black...

Keep Reading

“Mom, is Santa Real?” Here’s the Perfect Answer.

In: Kids, Motherhood
Letter to Santa explaining Christmas magic to a child

The holidays are fast approaching, and with them, a question that has haunted me each of the past few Christmases: Will this be the year my kids stop believing in Santa? If they ask, how do I tell them the truth? And how do I tell them the true meaning of Santa, and show them what holiday magic is really all about, without crushing their tender little hearts? My girls are there. Wondering. Pondering. Is Santa real? How can he really get to that many homes with gifts in one day? How does he make all those toys? And my...

Keep Reading