The winter holiday season is a time for warmth and a little silliness. A time especially enjoyed by the young and the young at heart. Year round, I try to find ways to make others smile by random acts of kindness. During December, you will usually see me around town in one of my elf hats. I claim the unofficial title of Auxiliary Elf. On the brim of my hat are jolly and elf buttons.
My general elf modus operandi is to carry several candy canes in the breast pocket of my winter coat. As I go about my daily tasks, I pull out a cane for kids, clerks and other strangers I encounter. It is fun to see a smile light up at a fast-food window when the clerk gets a candy cane. You can see the mood lift for harried store clerks by the token of a simple treat.
You can’t be an elf without being willing to interact with kids. That is a fun part of the elf world. Elf on the Shelf does duty in homes, but Santa needs auxiliary elves to be out and about in public spaces. Some young children, upon seeing my elf hat, tug on their parent’s arm or even duck out of sight. Some kids overwhelmed by the season, perhaps at the edge of a meltdown, may be slow to notice my elf hat; but they calm down quickly when they notice me watching them. In both cases, I make a point to establish eye contact with the child first, then engage their parent in a quick conversation.
“Hello, I’m an auxiliary elf on field observation duty. Everything going OKAY today?”
“Why yes, Jenny is a bit shy/tired right now but looking forward to your boss’s visit on the 25th.”
Sometimes I get a convoluted explanation how Santa can find them at Grandma’s house this year not at home.
I give the parent two candy canes – one for the kid and one for the grownup kid, along with an encouragement to not forget to eat vegetables. I move on with a smile and a cheery “Keep up the good work.” Nine times out of ten, the parent positions themselves behind the child to give me a big thumbs up or mouth a silent THANK YOU.
It’s not just small kids that get a smile from my elf duty. Adults too grin as I walk by. If they ask “Are you an elf?” or ask about my ears, then they too get a candy cane. I find kids from 3 to 93 all appreciate my silliness.
This year I got a sparkly new elf cap. I didn’t notice it initially, but one of the pointed ears points forward and the other points to the rear. On my other cap they both point forward, or to the rear depending on how you put it on.
So, my questions to you –
Should elf ears point forward or back?
Do elves hear better with ears pointing opposite ways?
Do you like traditional peppermint candy canes or would you like a different flavor?
What do you do to spread the holiday spirit?
What makes you smile during the holidays?
Have you written down your holiday smile story?