Clumsy the Elf

December 16, 2008 at 6:49 pm (Housewife Life)

Recently, we had our yearly municipal light-up night, complete with cookies and Santa.  Ninja, my 4-year-old, talked all day about what he would say to Santa when the two met. Imagine my surprise when my relentlessly talkative child got star-struck in front of Santa and froze up like Alberto Gonzales under oath.

Later that night, Ninja was downcast. I asked what was wrong, and he burst into the saddest tears I’ve ever seen. “Mommy, Santa was right there. He was RIGHT THERE, and I spent all day figuring it out, and when he asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I forgot and couldn’t say anything at all! So he’s not bringing me anything!” My heart really went out to the little guy as I saw those watermelon-seed tears pouring from his eyes.

“Tell you what,” I said. “I’ll bet there’s a way to e-mail Santa instead.”  All I had to do was Google “e-mail Santa” and we were directed to, where after typing in my child’s name, age, hometown and Christmas requests, we got an e-mail back from Santa within minutes. Ninja had no idea this was computer-generated. He was thrilled. He danced around, kissed my whole face, and proclaimed “Mommy! YOU SAVED CHRISTMAS!!!!” 

Composing the letter was something in itself. The kid actually said, “Maybe you should tell me what you and Grandma already got me so I can make sure to ask Santa for different stuff.” Nice…

The computer letter was brilliant.  It said something to the effect of:

“Dear (Name), Merry Christmas! Everyone at the North Pole is so excited to get a letter from you, all the way from (hometown)! Is it true that you’re really already (age) years old? That’s amazing! I remember when you were just a little baby! I know you’ve been really good this year, so I’ll do the best I can on your request for a (toy1), a (toy 2), and a (toy 3). You need to know, though, that this year I’ve hired a new elf. His name is Clumsy. Sometimes he makes mistakes, and he feels really bad about that, because he wants all the children to have a nice Christmas! So I wanted to let you know, that because we are so busy this time of year, and there are so many children all over the world, if Clumsy makes a mistake on your toys, he doesn’t mean to. He’s just…Clumsy. So have a nice Christmas, (Name), and be sure to leave out some vegetable treats for my reindeer!”

Heaven bless whoever thought up Clumsy the Elf, because I have no intention of buying Ninja that pair of $80 night-vision goggles which are labeled “ages 8 and up,” and which one parent reviewer on listed as “really very dangerous and impractical.” Now I can buy the kid something more appropriate and blame Clumsy the Elf!

Ninja, for his part, has developed a real fondness for Clumsy. He loves the idea that Santa has an elf that messes up sometimes, but he’s a good elf who tries really hard, and everyone likes him anyway. He has asked me in the meantime if we should e-mail Santa back again to check on Clumsy the Elf, and if we should leave Clumsy the Elf some cookies on Christmas so he won’t feel bad about mistakes he makes.  I am constantly being asked questions about Clumsy the Elf, to the extent that I feel like a Hollywood director coming up with motivations and the whole character backstory.

Any lingering anger I have at the computer people for changing my rightfully earned cookie plate into a tray of “vegetable treats” is tempered by the pride I feel toward this awesome 4-year-old with a heart so big, he cares more about befriending the underdog elf than he does about whether Santa brings him the right toys. And that’s the stuff great Christmas memories are made of.


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