Last year two elves visited our house for the Christmas season. They came in early December, and they had a note asking our kids to name them and make them beds so they could live with us until Christmas. The kids named them after their best friends that year, Ian and David.
Ian and David were mischievous little elves. They would move around, and un-spin rolls of toilet paper, and take clothes out of the hamper. We found them trying to play Guitar Hero once, and they would disappear from tables in the family room only to show up on top of the fridge in the kitchen or some other odd place.
The kids never saw them move and were fascinated. They became very attached to the elves. Very attached...
Christmas night the elves went back to the North Pole while the kids were sleeping. We told them this would happen, but it didn't lessen the impact. The kids were devastated. When I walked into their bedroom the next morning, my older son was sobbing.
"Ian ran away," he said, once he could compose himself enough to speak. I gave him a big hug.
It broke my heart to see him so upset. It was like he suffered a tragic loss of a family member or pet, so deep was his attachment to his new magic friend. I came very close to willing the elf to re-appear in his bed right then and there, but I didn't. I knew he would come back again the next Christmas, and tried to comfort my son with this thought. It worked. Eventually.
The elves returned this year. They came the night we set up our Christmas tree. They're already up to their usual hijinx. My younger son is always amazed and takes each prank or sudden movement for its face value. My older son...he's a skeptic.
He thinks my wife and I are really moving the elves, and he's always on the lookout. He was still up at 9:30 the other night, in bed in the dark watching for the elves to sneak into his room. He leaves notes asking them if they will prove they are real by moving for him. He even wrote a note for Santa asking him to make the elves move for him.
Remember, this is the kid who tried to trick the tooth fairy. I'm pretty sure he does believe, though, until he can prove otherwise. He still can't explain how they got up on the sill of the big window high above the front door.
I like having elves in the house. Watching the kids laugh at them is like a Christmas present each day of the month.