Co-opt rescue mission: Find Elfie
Picture this, it’s Thanksgiving evening and your middle child has been talking about her elf and his arrival for months. You have just finished a huge turkey dinner with your family, you have cleaned up, and you should be ready to relax… but then you get this sick in your stomach feeling because something just isn’t right.
I have been multitasking all day preparing for Thanksgiving, and my mind is still going at full speed. As I open my refrigerator to pull out the pies for dessert, it hits me… the elf! I don’t remember where I placed him. I immediately look at my husband John and whisper, “Where is Elfie?” He walks over and says, “I think he’s in the same spot as last year.” That spot would be a bookbag in our closet, but I needed that bag for a work trip recently and knew in that moment, that I moved the elf, “Elfie.” I kept thinking about where I put him, there was a possibility that he was in a blue suitcase in our basement. I hid him there two years prior so no one would find the little guy.
After about 10 minutes of John and I missing from the dessert table on Thanksgiving my sisters come looking for us. They too were shocked that we were both not at the table fork in hand ready to eat pumpkin, apple and chocolate mousse pie. My sisters decided to confront us in our bedroom while we were ripping our closets apart. I looked up and whispered we lost “Elfie” we cannot find him, and we cannot disappoint the girls. We started Co-Opt Mission-Find Elfie at approximately 1600 hrs and declared Elfie missing in action at approximately 1900 hrs.
Our elf has gone rogue and now we need to figure out something believable to tell our daughters on November 26 that would make them understand Elfie’s arrival has nothing to do with her behavior. For the most part they all had been good, but one kid had really behaved all week long. We contemplated writing a note that Elfie had been promoted to the front toy lines and is now in charge of house production. We even thought that we could say Elfie needed some time to be with his family so he was sending his friend “Candy” the elf down for a few days until he could break free. But all these ideas were just not right, they were all lies. I had lost the elf and I needed to fix it.
I picked up my phone and added an elf to my Target cart to pick up the next day. I even tried ordering one on Amazon Prime, but nothing could be delivered through prime that fast. I reached out to friends who may have had an extra, but, again, had no luck. I needed Elfie to be in place when our girls woke up or I feared that our middle child would become a non-believer because this year she is starting to ask all those heartbreaking questions and I needed this magic to be there and be real.
I went to bed that night around 11 p.m., which is so late for me because at the young age of 39 I am ready for bed by 8:30 p.m. That night’s sleep was terrible, I tossed and turned and by 4:50 a.m. I woke up in a hot sweat. I knew Walmart was opening at 5 a.m. and I needed to see if they had an elf. I threw on some jeans, UGG’s and a hoodie, and woke John to tell him I was leaving to find an elf. He was dead asleep but muttered… “On Black Friday, you are going to go find an elf….” Indeed, I was.
I didn’t make a cup a coffee, I just headed straight out to my car, and drove to our local Walmart. I promised myself I would never shop on Black Friday. Why? Because, when I worked in retail it was officially the worst day of the year, you may have encountered some good customers, but most were filled with anger because they too were on a mission. I remember people hanging on the gates as I opened registers at Bath and Body Works, screaming out, “What’s your door buster?” Those memories just haunt me, and I remember how I felt being away from my family, so I truly empathize with retail employees because they go above and beyond and usually aren’t treated with care.
As soon as I pulled up to Walmart I took a deep breath, put my mask on and hopped out of the car. I was greeted by the security guard and two employees with the promotions.
Employee: Can we help you find anything this morning?
Me: Yes, I need an elf.
Employee: OK, do you need to find anything here in the circular?
Me: No thank you, I just need an elf.
She just looked at me sideways for a moment.
Me: I lost our elf and I need a replacement before my kids wake up.
Employee: OK hunny, near the holiday items.
I literally speed walked until I got to the aisle. I looked up and saw two boy elves left. It was like Jesus Christ had come down from the sky and blessed me with an elf, it was indeed a Christmas miracle. I was so overjoyed with emotions I picked the elf up and hustled to the register. On the way to check out, I found Elf on the Shelf cereal and a $25 blowup that was 9-feet tall, so I had spent about $76 and now felt at peace. I paid for my items and got into my car. I opened the box, and quickly decided to throw away any evidence of a new elf. After the elf had been opened, I drove home happily and nervous, because now there was the challenge of setting Elfie up for the girls.
These kids wake up at 6 a.m., and I had minutes to spare.
I propped Elfie up on our china cabinet with the cereal, and the Santa blow up. After everything was 100 percent perfect, I indulged in a hot cup of coffee, wrapped in my Snoopy blanket and stared at our elf and I thought to myself, this is what Christmas is all about. My little girls woke up at 6:30 a.m. that morning and were so excited to see Elfie had arrived. This elf literally drives me insane but the joy it provides is unmeasurable.
The only thing I am worried about is the original Elfie is out there somewhere, maybe he’s living off the grid, maybe he’s in a drawer. Let’s just pray that he is never found by any kiddo in this house.
Loraine Griffiths is a fifth-generation Hammontonian, graphic designer, wife and mother of three. She can be reached through email at LifeWithLoraine@gmail.com.