Gayla’s Family Christmas Tradition
The following was written about one of my families traditions that began back in 1967 when my older brother was just a toddler and I was only a few months old.
Tony was a baby when my parents were told he had an incurable kidney disease and could not be exposed to others, especially throughout the winter months for fear of becoming infected with any type of germ that could make him sick.
As Tony grew older he was so sad at the fact that he could not be among the children in his small community that went to see Santa at the local Fire Department with their Christmas list in hand and who walked away with a bag full of holiday treats.
When Tony was three years old Santa came to see him riding on a fire truck, with the siren screaming and could be heard throughout the small town. What a thrill it was for him. Although Tony wanted so much to see Santa – he ran to the stairs peering through the banister in amazement.
“Well young man come down and let me see you” said Santa. “I can see you” replied Tony with eyes as wide as saucers. Santa climbed the stairs; and there they sat the two of them having a marvelous visit.
After their little chat Santa stood to leave and Tony eased down the stairs with a smile that lit the room “you are a good boy” Santa said with smile and gave him a hug “I will be watching you until I return on Christmas Eve, be a good boy”.
After Santa had gone Tony noticed that an Elf had come to sit on a branch in his Christmas tree. “Mommy look, Santa left an Elf,” “well I think that he left him to watch over you until Christmas”, Mom responded.
The next morning when Tony woke, a note along with a small Christmas sock were left under the tree for Tony instructing him that when he had a good day there would be a surprise in the tiny sock each morning, if his day happened to be a bad one, the sock would be empty or worse, have a dirty rock in it.
The elf would move around the room watching over Tony. Elf might appear on top of the curtain, lamp, or pictures moving at will throughout the night. This was exciting for Tony although he never actually saw the elf move, he believed in his ability to fly while everyone was sleeping.
Santa had given strict instructions that Elf should never be touched or he would disappear never return. If Santa’s instructions were followed, each year on Thanksgiving night Tony was to ring a jingle bell that was tied with a red ribbon, just before going to bed and Elf would return for another Christmas Season.
Tony is no longer here, he passed away at the age of 13 but Elf was passed on to me, Tony’s little sister then on to my little brother Josh who enjoyed Elf�s annual visits for many years.
At present day – Elf has been passed on to Trey and Coty (twelve-year-old twins), who now know Elf is not real, but still believe in the magic that he brings with him each year when we place him in our family Christmas Tree.
We’ve often created Elf Kits for close friends and family – included in a beautiful Christmas tin is a letter from Santa telling the history of Elf, a letter to the parents instructing them on how the Christmas magic works, a jingle bell tied with a red ribbon, a small Christmas stocking (one for each child) and Himself the Elf. It’s been a wonderful gift that we’ve been able to share and a tradition we’re proud to pass on. It’s a way of keeping Tony alive in all of us.
Whenever we can, we share the tales of Elf with classmates, friends and anyone who truly believes in the wonderful magic this holiday season brings.