You see, Elf on the Shelf, as it is known now, actually began in the 1960's although he wasn't called that at the time. Yet, Santa's helper, who found a new spot to observe and listen and then report back to Santa began way back when my Mom was a girl and my Grama brought this sweet little guy home.
Back then he wasn't that exciting; he was pretty much just a Christmas ornament who came out after Thanksgiving and got put away after Christmas without any fanfare. Later when my Mom grew up and she had me a little magic began to happen around Christmas. The Christmas Elf began to move around a bit; he began reporting back to Santa at night what he had seen. Of course, what he reported to Santa was that he saw a perfect angel who was never naughty and should get the Barbie convertible she had been dreaming about. Of course. The next morning he would be back in our tree but in a new spot or cockeyed position.
When I moved to Oregon Mom thought it fitting that The Elf come West with me. He found himself in our Christmas tree perched next to gold bulbs and shimmery cream ribbon. Every Christmas he began hounding us like everyone else in our lives about when we were going to have a baby and we would shut him up with egg nog and candy canes. Little did I know that The Christmas Elf had been waiting 2 generations for his full potential to come out.
Thanksgiving 2006. Thing 1 was 7 months old and we were all unaware of what that evening would bring. We celebrated at my sister in law's and came home early that evening. When we came in everything looked as it did when we left: the cat sitting by the window, a few dishes in the sink and Thing 1's blocks strewn about. I walked past the dining room and what did my eyes behold? Why there on the table were Christmas jammies in Thing 1's size and The Christmas Elf was hanging upside down from the chandelier.
As the years passed every Thanksgiving night Thing 1 (and later Thing 2) would find Christmas jammies on the dining room table with The Christmas Elf hanging upside down from the chandelier. It was a Christmas miracle.
The Things decided to name him Buddy and each year he became more and more entrenched in our Christmas traditions. He delivered the Things' letters to Santa, he took selfies of himself with the Things while they slept and he was always getting into the Christmas cookies. The Things described him well when they said he was "mischievous."
Word started to get out about a Christmas Elf who came to life at nighttime and either visited Santa at the North Pole or put toothpaste on all the toiled seats. Soon a copycat "Elf on the Shelf" was being sold at every department store in America. By 2011, Pinterest (oh yes, Pinterest again) was covered in pictures of elves getting into trouble and delighting children. Guess who hasn't made a dime off of "Elf on the Shelf?" That's right--Buddy. Guess who hasn't gotten famous? That's right--Buddy. Buddy Henderson is the most unfamous Christmas Elf you have never heard of until now. He is a trail blazer. He is the Steve Jobs of Christmas Elves. He is the original.
And now you know how it all began. Some other time I will write about how when I was in the 4th grade I coined the phrase "Cool Dude" only to have it stolen by the Cheetos Cheetah. Stupid Cheetah.
Buddy happens to be a wicked smart card player.
No matter what came on 4th street or the river
he had Buzz beat with his pocket aces.