I think I married an Elf. Not the short, little, spikey eared fella with the pointy shoes and jolly jingling cap, but a man-version; and certainly not the character of Buddy played by Will Ferrell who was quite delusional…funny…but delusional. I’m not doing my husband any justice here, am I? I will try to be bit more concise:
I grew up in a “non-denominational” church that categorized us as Christians yet we did not believe in Christmas. The closest answer I ever got was that we did not believe that Christ was born in December; therefore, we did not celebrate this magical holiday. I remember looking out our front window at the neighbors’ Christmas lights and wishing they would leave the curtains open so I could sneak a peek at their glowing Christmas tree. The church I was raised in fell apart when I was 16 and I experienced my first Christmas that year complete with a raggedy imposter tree from my grandparents’ attic and left over tinsel that smelled of the 1970’s. I loved that tree!
My husband was raised on Christmas. His family’s traditions are literally set in stone (I am still searching for that stone). What he took from his childhood, we have integrated into our home. It was an exciting yet confusing time for me and still is. I never knew the words to Christmas songs on the radio, Santa was a foreign tale tall, and presents, well, I wasn’t used to those. I now delight in the songs of the season and have watched my fair share of Christmas classics. My hubby built our first zlobek nativity scene (Polish for “nursery”) and insists that it goes underneath the tree no matter how many times our cat eats the fake grass and I have a mess to mop up in the morning. Besides that, my crowning glory is decorating our real Christmas tree with lights that would for sure catch Clark Griswold’s home on fire. No sparse, 1970 smelling fake tree is allowed in this household!
Tonight we wrapped our boys’ presents and it got me thinking that my husband just might be a lost elf from the North Pole. Every year I seem to forget the rules (aka “traditions”) he has etched in a stone hidden far, far away. So to refresh my memory this is how it goes: Santa has different wrapping paper than everyone else, he also has his own set of name tags. Santa’s elves wrap in a hurry and do not take the time to place presents in a box. Their wrapping jobs are haphazard and are not to be completed with clean, crisp corners and neatly tucked edges. The real kicker? Even our cat got a present from Santa and she had to have this special wrapping paper. I also found a present under the tree for our feline with a pretty label made out “To: Mommy From: Elsa”. Isn’t my husband just too sweet? Anyways, elves wrap stocking stuffers, but I’ve heard this varies from family to family. Mommy and Daddy give gifts that children are likely to chunk back at the tree such as socks and underwear. This makes them want to believe in Santa for the rest of their lives so they don’t end up getting socks and undies forever. And the question of what to tell your child when they begin asking if Santa is real? My husband’s answer is “You stop believing, you stop receiving.” Ohhh, hubby, you must be an elf! I can’t stand the thought of my oldest going into high school believing in Santa and getting bullied. But my husband said he never stopped believing and neither did his brother or sister (you know, because of the whole ‘you stop believing, you stop receiving thing). So here we were, wrapping presents, me trying to keep the wrapping paper straight and my husband attempting to forge Santa’s handwriting and it hit me! I love our family traditions! They weren’t mine because I didn’t have any. They were mostly my husband’s; besides the glaring yet glorious Christmas tree decorated by yours truly. My elf of a husband has brought this magical world of Christmas into my life and now our boys delight in every little tradition that they will eventually pass down to their children.
As a child, I dreamed of what celebrating Christmas would feel like. The lights, the songs, the decorations, the sweet smells…my husband gave these to our family and gifted me with most incredible present an elf could ever create: an enchanted time of year where family traditions are celebrated and two completely different worlds collide to make something magical.
So is my husband an elf? He’s full of Christmas spirit and good cheer unlike anyone I’ve ever met. Therefore, he is my elf, and in short, this is my love story to him: My husband, my elf.