For Carl's G.I.F.T. Challenge
Christmas tradition: In our house, the elves come on the night of December 23rd. How do we know that the elves have visited? They leave chocolate kisses on the dining room table. Why do they come? To see if the household is all ready for Christmas.
How did this get started and why is my house the only one on the block with elves dropping in to run inspection? At least 15 or 16 years ago, my sister included a package of chocolate kisses as packing material stuffed around the Christmas gifts she was shipping to my house. Having nowhere else to put them when I opened up the box, I poured the chocolate kisses into the crystal candy dish on the dining room table.
The next day, my eldest son (perhaps 5 or 6 at the time?) saw them and asked where the candy had come from. I've never been sure if I spoke then from a good impulse or out of sheer self-interest. I told my trusting child that the elves always come on Christmas Eve Eve (the night of Dec 23rd) in advance of Santa's visit in order to see if the household is ready for Christmas. If a child has so many toys that he carelessly leaves them lying about, the elves let Santa know. Santa is a busy man and toys are a finite resource. It might be better if Santa delivered new toys instead to a child who has less. It was a shameless manipulation of my child's beliefs in the interests of getting him to pick up his toys in the living room. It worked like a charm, he picked up his toys without argument, and I forgot about it.
The next year, slightly ahead of Christmas Eve Eve, my son said something about the elves coming. I blanched at his amazing memory and assured him that, yes, the elves would be 'round again. I then quietly informed my spouse of the need and Patrick ran to the local Giant supermarket to pick up kisses. In subsequent years, Offspring #1 reinforced the belief in Offspring #2. It became tradition in our family and every one knows you don't mess with tradition at Christmas.
Christmas Short Story: Read this Edwardian tale, "A Christmas Mystery" from Gaslight. I encountered it during the R.I.P. Challenge and saved it up 'specially for Christmas. This story of the wise men on Christmas Eve is, in some ways, far less sappy than you might expect based on the time period.
What with wrapping of gifts, the boys coming home, baking and what not, blogging will likely be sporadic and rather on the brief side.