If you visited Target or any craft store over the last few months, you know Christmas time has been “almost here” since about Halloween. My family kicks off the season Thanksgiving weekend with the Rockland Holiday Stroll. The main street in Rockland Center shuts down and fills with families and dogs dressed for Christmas! Santa and Mrs. Claus ride in a fire truck as part of a mini-parade complete with dancers. Plus, there are K9 drug-sniffing-dog demonstrations and local food vendors. The businesses on Union Street open up with different activities and treats for the kids.
The stroll night also means our Christmas elves return to our home and bring us our matching family pajamas! Before we cuddle up and watch “The Polar Express,” the kids search through the house to find the hidden elves. Our elves aren’t your standard “Elf on the Shelf” — no, ours are hand-painted glass figurines passed down from my husband’s Nana and Grandpa, to his mother, to him. They’re in sleeping position because they travel every night to report back to Santa. If you touch them, they “turn to glass.” My stepkids creatively named the elves “Red” and “White.”
My mother-in-law shared that the elves could “pop up” anywhere after Thanksgiving when she was a girl. She is the oldest of three and remembers the elves were present at dinner time and bedtime. (Clearly, they know when they are needed most.) Her parents would move them when they weren’t paying attention — because they can move at super speed! This is an important and fun part of them being around, because the kids really love when they move. There is even a video of my stepkids when they were small shrieking with glee because one of the elves moved while they were in the same room.
Their arms may not pose, and you can’t change their outfits. But their presence in our home each year represents something beyond staying on track for the “nice list.” They are a part of an important tradition that our kids will remember and hopefully pass on to their own children. Now full-on tweens, my stepkids will get to experience the Christmas season in a whole new way, because their little brother will soon discover what Christmas means — Santa and the magic of the elves.