I’ve had a few people ask me what happened to Sparkles, our erstwhile elf from last year’s Christmas. “Did she return this year?” they ask.
The answer is, why yes, she did return. The Monday after Thanksgiving, after days of worry and angst by the children that she wouldn’t be coming at all because they had been pretty naughty. Sparkles brought a note that in it detailed how she was, in fact, almost grounded by Santa this year because of the children’s bad behavior, most notably in the form of fighting to the point of inflicting bodily injury upon each other.
The note went on the explain that Sparkles really believed in the children, and she begged Santa to be allowed to return. She just KNEW they could be good.
I thought Sparkles was perhaps being a little optimistic, but hey, I was hopeful too.
She arrived bearing a new little Christmas tree for our kitchen table, complete with decorations. She also brought a big canister of hot chocolate and two new Christmas cups like she did last year. The icing on the cake was a Christmas tree cookie jar, filled with the little super-sweet sugar cookies my kids just love.
The kids snarfed down a few cookies, then made a big mess all over the kitchen counter mixing up hot cocoa. After that they got into a monumental fight over who got to put the new little Christmas tree in their room.
When the shoving started I intervened, reminding them that the note from Sparkles had clearly stated that the tree was for our dining room table, and that Sparkles had warned they were on probation already. Did they really want to fight like that?
The scuffling grudgingly stopped. Annabelle went into her room to change clothes, and Batman unenthusiastically hung a few of the small ornaments on the tree, refused to even consider draping the cute little red garland, then wandered off to his room to do something involving all of the tape from my office dispenser and most of the printer paper from the laser jet tray.
Ah, Sparkles had her work cut out for her this year!
The elf is a goer, though.
Despite long lists of the children’s naughty escapades she tallies on a daily basis, she keeps coming back, day after day, though I must say I feel she has lost some of her verve from last year. She hasn’t played any tricks to speak of, but she has dutifully moved every night upon her return from that day’s reporting from the North Pole.
She’s been around in the usual places.
One day we found her wearing the little Christmas collar that Annabelle likes to torture her kitten with. I mean dress her kitten up in.
Of course she sat in the mecate reins.
And on the little shelf that holds Annabelle’s buckles.
And a bunch of other places as well.
She has brought a few gifts. Like this giant (really freaking loud) reindeer that I had to move outside after about five minutes of inflation because the air pump made so much noise.
And she brought some baking supplies. Because I do love to make me a couple pans of cupcakes.
I guess I should be happy she at least brought mixes. The kids did have fun with that one.
And the cupcakes turned our pretty cute so I won’t complain about it. Any more.
She delivered some Christmas books and tree cakes, along with new holiday blankies for each child. Because they each have only about 42 blankies already.
She brought a copy of the movie “The Elf,” which threw the children into fits of excitement. Sadly, our elf’s attention to detail is not what it might be, and she brought a Blue Ray version of the flick, which our archaic video technology does not support. I told the kids to save it, for surely we would soon have a Blue Ray player.
The elf sure is fond of sitting on Santa’s lap.
And in his arms. If I didn’t know better……no, let’s not go there.
The elf’s best return was a Miley Cyrus inspired entry, and although the kids didn’t get the reference they found it very entertaining anyway.
The elf has also given us one more gift this season. She inspired our entry into the Middleton Christmas Parade.
Annabelle has been asking all summer and through the fall when we would be in another parade. She loves to sit up there on the pony, waving gaily to passersby. Every kid watching any parade is drawn to Reno, since he is so cute and small and cuddly, and Annabelle enjoys sharing him with others.
I had told her some time ago that we could participate in the Middleton holiday parade, so a couple of weeks ago we started thinking about costumes. Batman immediately insisted on walking with us along the parade route so he could throw candy. Dressed as an elf. He even found a pair of red dinosaur pajamas, and put them on inside out so the print was muted. From somewhere else materialized two white gloves. And two white socks. He was all over it.
This was the general look he was going for.
I bought a few cheap felt Santa hats at Wal-Mart, and my son painstakingly cut off all the white fluff from the tip, then colored the remnants that couldn’t be cut away with a red marker. This was all his idea. Through trial and error I figured out how to make the hats stand up and stay on the kids’ heads in a comfortable fashion. I would tell you how I did it but I am thinking of patenting the technique, so I can’t.
We made one extra hat, since Annabelle’s little friend from school was going to join us to walk. Then all we needed was the rest of the costumes.
This idea evolved gradually, until a few days before the parade when I went out in search of red sweat suits – you know the kind – Hanes, or something like that. Fleece with elastic on the bottom of the pants and a matching crew necked top.
FYI – the don’t make those anymore. At least not in red. In Idaho.
So I drove from store to store, spending an entire Thursday that I really didn’t have free, in search of SOMETHING that would work for costumes. Finally, in store #12 (no, I am not exaggerating, and yes, I realize that is excessive, and I don’t know why I went to such lengths) I found red women’s pajama bottoms on sale, right next to the same color kids’ sweaters. Both were in large sizes, which was perfect since I was planning on putting them over the kids’ coats and snow pants.
I found white gloves, two pair left, on sale at another store. Then I set about figuring out the collar. A yard of white fleece at the fabric store, and we were set to make us some elf outfits. Again through trial and error, and a process involving a measuring tape, sharp scissors and a big mixing bowl, we were in business.
Batman loves few things more than to use scissors, so he got busy with the leftover fabric making scarves for all our family members. No, he did not fall down in a snow bank and scar his face. That was hot chocolate. And exactly what he is measuring I am not sure.
Finally we were ready. Batman wore his outfit around the house full-time for the next two days, he was so excited about it.
I went to back to Wal-Mart and the Dollar Store and bought a large amount of sparkly ribbon and bows for the pony, along with three little jingle bells to attach to his saddle.
This is how it all turned out.
I apologize in advance, but they were so darned cute that I couldn’t stop taking pictures. And posting them here.
Look at those little boys dressed as presents in the background. So adorable!
Reno was resplendent. You might think with all the bells and the bows, the chaos and confusion, he would have been amped up or at least a little nervous, but he is such a parade professional that he took it all in stride.
He did want some of Batman’s candy though. He does love him a peppermint.
After nearly three hours waiting around in the cold, we finally got to start walking. Annabelle’s friend showed up at just the right time, and we all headed out.
We had so much fun walking along the parade route. Batman and Jelissa threw candy. Annabelle threw candy. When she ran out of candy she periodically put the reins over the saddle horn and waved at all the kids with both hands. I don’t know where she got her showoffness from.
We ended the parade just as the sun was going down, and the roads were turning to a thin sheet of ice. It had truly been a great day.
In closing, I would have to say that while I haven’t been overly impressed with Sparkle’s ability to improve my kids’ Pre-Christmas Behavior, I do certainly appreciate her parade inspiration.
Happy Monday everyone! Remember, only nine days until Christmas!!