I remember when I first met Mr. Jingles. It was about a week and a half ago. It’s a funny story because as you’ll see, it shows that Mr. Jingles was an elf with a jolly sense of humor. Our family woke up the morning after Thanksgiving and as we all had a leisurely breakfast in our pjs, one of the kids looked up at the cabinet above the refrigerator, pointed and let out a blood-curdling scream. The baby followed the older one’s finger up to the elf’s resting place and began to wail. Certain that a rabid bat had found its way into our house, I started, spilling my coffee down the entire front of my pajamas. My husband immediately grabbed a butcher knife and fell into some sort of karate pose.
But it turns out, it was only Mr. Jingles, who’d been assigned to our home for the first time, making an entrance.
Hahaha. I laugh every time I think about it. He really gave us a start that morning, silly elf.
He had a sense of humor, oh yes he did. But there are many other things we can say about good old Jingles.
He brought so much enthusiasm to his work. Oh it took him a few days to come out of his shell, that’s for sure. At first, he simply sat on the shelf and smiled down at us, leaving to report to Santa every night and showing back up in a new place every morning. The kids would wake up and run all over the house until they found his new perch, then giggle with delight as we ruminated on what report he’d given to old Kris Kringle the night before.
But then as he got to know us, he began to let down his guard and truly share his weaknesses with us as well as his strengths.
One morning I found Mr. Jingles in the middle of a bunch of flour on the kitchen counter.
I was flummoxed. It seemed that between the time he left for the North Pole and returned in the early morning hours, the silly elf had accidentally knocked over our entire container of flour. Oh but he made the best of it because that’s the way he was! <sniff, sniff> Mr. Jingles playfully made a snow angel in the flour much to the kids’ delight.
Well, isn’t that festive, I said to myself as I made my third pass wiping up the sticky flour from the counter.
That night, I made sure Mr. Jingles’ suit was free of flour before I tucked him on a branch of the Christmas tree for a quick flight back to the North Pole.
The next morning, I wandered into the kitchen for coffee shortly after 6:30am. I didn’t see him at first in my morning haze but then my eyes zeroed in on something shiny and green.
Mr. Jingles was sitting in the middle of a giant mess of green glitter. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Our adorable elf, in the midst of trying to create a fun crafty surprise for my children, had spilled the glitter and then, clearly, tried very hard to clean it up in his own clumsy way.
Just then, the children ran downstairs and seeing the glitter, pounced on it, spreading it to the far reaches of our home and their nether regions.
Don’t you just love glitter? I’ll think of this happy memory every time I find a piece of green glitter in my rug for the next 25 years.
A few mornings later, after cleaning up several more messes from our well-meaning but clumsy elf, the reason that he’d been reassigned to us from his last family became clear.
Mr. Jingles was once again struggling with his own personal demons.
And I knew what I had to do. I sent Mr. Jingles on his merry way.
It was hard sitting the kids down that morning to explain why Mr. Jingles wasn’t’ sitting on our kitchen counter in the middle of a pile of chocolate pudding and half-naked Barbies like the morning before.
I told them solemnly about his mid-air collision with a Boeing 747 the night before on his return to the North Pole, and how he gotten sucked into the engine and spat back out in a million tiny pieces of shredded polyester.
“But don’t be sad, children,” I said. “Mr. Jingles fell to earth like Christmas snow and because he’s made of non-biodegradable material, he’ll be with us all forever and ever and ever.”