Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Playing Practical Jokes on Children

My niece, being one of only 2 grandchildren my parents have to enjoy, has been doted on her entire 11 years on this planet. She has always been a joy to be around and lifts the mood of any room she enters with her positive energy and wit. Since she's been old enough to enjoy the myth of Santa Claus, my older brother has taken up the spirit of the game with her, by calling her on the phone every year as Santa. He's a professional actor and plays the role well, with a jolly Santa humor that makes my niece feel like the most special little girl in the world, rather than a wee spud growing up amidst the cornfields of Iowa.

Well, a few years ago on Christmas Eve, my bro swiped my niece's elf doll and left a note beside the half eaten cookie and glass of milk saying that the elf was coming with him back to the North Pole and would return next year. Unfortunately, the next year Grandma performed Santa's duties and did not know about the elf. So last year, my niece wrote Santa a very heartfelt note (which she left with chocolate milk and cookies) asking why the elf had not been returned... was she not a good girl? Sadly, although my brother had the elf with him, he wasn't home in time to slip it in with Santa's bounty that morning.

Feeling horrible that this little girl felt she was being punished for some reason, I took the elf back to New York with me and hatched a plan. The elf's name is Elvedina (getting that out of my niece was a rather covert operation) and she now has a MySpace page (www.myspace.com/elfontour). Elvedina has been traveling the world and visiting all sorts of places (courtesy of the Museum of Natural History). She will eventually end up back in NYC and then journey with Aunt Martha back to the Midwest, where she will be reunited with my niece next Christmas.

I had misgivings about perpetuating the myth when she is at an age that it likely would have been over without all the theatrics of my crazy family, but my brother had a good point... isn't this the best way for her to find out that it's not real? I just hope she realizes we've played this game because we love her and wanted to be kids again for a while, too.


Blogger Billychic said...

THAT is so awesome...leave it to fantastic, creative people to bring a world of creative beauty and wonder to a child.

Although I had suspicions as to the validity of Mr. Klaus, it wasn't until I was about 11 that I had my suspicions confirmed...and it was my own damn fault because I was finally able to stay up super late on Xmas eve.

I then found out later, of course, that he really is real and that he was on vacation that night and had paid my folks $50 to stuff my stocking, but that's a whole other story...

12:08 PM  

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