On November 30th, something very strange happened.
I got a text from my neighbour letting me know that a present had been delivered to her doorstep, addressed to my kids.
Weird. We don't get door delivery, as we live in a rural area that Purolator denies exists.
Then I got this picture:
My immediate thought was that my neighbour had "found" this package on her doorstep, and had gotten the kids a gift. They're great neighbours, and crafty, so this added up. I guessed it was probably an elf.
This wasn't even a baseless assumption. Last year my daughter would go to their house before school and see their elf Armie move around the house, and she would beg for one. She was so desperate for her own elf, she wrote a letter to Santa asking him to send and elf to her house. It included guilt-inducing lines like "Please don't be scared of my family". How do you deal with that as a parent?
You find an elf. Except I live in a small town with limited shopping options, and I was already a couple of weeks into December at the time, so an official elf wasn't an option. Long story short, we got a stuffed reindeer named Hickory Von Fluffenstein instead (read the whole saga here). Crisis averted.
My neighbour knew all of this, and so I assumed she had gotten us an elf and had it delivered to us, C/O of her kids and their elf. We picked up the package and the kids unwrapped the mysterious gift. It was an elf.
I texted her back and said something along the lines of "Thank you for the elf. I guess we're part of the parents who have to remember the stupid elf each night club now :)". She responded with "It was an elf?". I played along with what I assumed was fake denial on her part, but she continued to sound baffled, swearing that it wasn't her.
At this point the wisps of confusion began to settle in. I truly thought it was her, because honestly I couldn't imagine who else it would be, but she swore up and down it wasn't her.
This led me to extrapolate a couple of things:
1. Someone out there knows my kids wanted an elf but didn't have one. This doesn't narrow it down much as I'd previously posted about it.
2. Someone took the crazy initiative to go out and purchase an elf for my kids.
3. This mysterious stranger then made sure to deliver this elf anonymously to my neighbours, meaning they had to know them as well. Again, it's a small town so this is by no means impossible, it's just very dedicated to the process.
4. My neighbour's elf Armie is named on this package as well, meaning that someone has gone to extreme lengths to learn the name of my neighbour's elf to maintain the illusion, OR...
5. My neighbour's statements of innocence are less than accurate, and when put in these terms, that seems the most likely situation. That said, she is pretty strong in her denial, so it gives me pause.
Whatever the case, we now have an elf.
His name is Christopher Cookie.
And whether the mysterious benefactor was my neighbour, or someone else who's Christmas game is very strong: Thank you, your gift has gone above and beyond.
My kids are ecstatic and fully invested in the magic. And despite being tied to this creepy little creature for the next 24 days, I'm deeply entertained by how this story has evolved over a year, and culminated in a mystery elf of unknown origins. The whole thing has thoroughly exceeded my expectations.
Well played mystery Santa, well played.