"I need to get a Shelf Elf like my friend Sydney has." said Ms. E. "A Shelf Elf? What is that?" responded her weary father, not realizing the momentous change in his daughter's search for self awareness that was upon him.
She explained..."A Shelf Elf is always there to watch you ...and sometimes you can see them...but you can't speak to them...and every year at Christmas, they can just tell Santa whether you have been naughty or nice...and what would be a good gift for you...and stuff..." And with that, she drifted back to the task of coloring the back of the children's menu at the restaurant where we were eating dinner. She had a satisfied smile on her face, knowing that there was really nothing else that needed to be said.
And I took one of those pictures that every parent does with the camera that is their mind's eye - the eye that will remember everything as it was at this very special moment...forever. You see, this is that moment of sentiency where my child is making the transition from believing in Santa Clause as a singular being to believing in the concept of Christmas as a spirit to be shared amongst all mankind.
At least, that is what I think.
I think that her floating the concept of the Shelf Elf is the first step on her journey to understanding what Francis Church laid out for Virginia O'Hanlon in 1897. There really is a Santa Clause...and he lives and breathes in each and every one of us. The same can be said of Shelf Elves...we all need one...and we all have at least one.
So, fear not my darling Ms. E...you already do have a Shelf Elf...and he is me!!!