Putting Christmas magic to the test


David Trinko Guest columnist

David Trinko Guest columnist


Our 7-year-old daughter still believes in the magic and mystery of Christmas.

Our 2-year-old dog doesn’t.

That’s how I ended up on the phone with our youngest girl, trying to console her after she stumbled into a holiday tragedy, at least from her perspective.

Every year at Christmas, Steve and Ginny of Santa Claus’s advance team visit our home. They’re part of the Elf on the Shelf group. According to the accompanying books, by magic they return to the North Pole every night to share what they’ve seen about young believers. Then they return to a different spot each night.

Our daughter seemed to be on the fence about the whole Santa thing already. She started asking some pretty tough questions, noticing some inconsistencies in how Santa worked. The fact our elves were a little lazy and didn’t always move didn’t make sense either.

They actually did move Friday morning, onto a counter in our kitchen. That’s where our 2-year-old dog, who I’d described as a serial killer for plush toys a few weeks ago, found our female elf. He couldn’t resist his instincts, mangling Ginny by ripping off her two felt, stuffed legs.

Our daughter and her older sister found the carnage. The older one called my wife to figure out what to do while we were on our way home from work Friday. From a seat away, I heard our youngest wailing in the background.

That’s when my wife suddenly told her to put the youngest on the phone and shoved the phone into my hand. I stared at my partner in life for a few seconds, wondering what exactly I was supposed to say to make this better.

Eventually, I coaxed her into calming down enough that we could talk. I reminded her that she believed in prayer. She also acknowledged she knew about Christmas magic. She said she believed anything could happen, if only she believed.

That was good enough for then. She was ready for a Christmas miracle, if only we could help make it happen.

I know there are some parents and psychologists out there who roll their eyes at all this magic talk. I like to continue the mystery. I know as well as anyone that it’s a cold, unforgiving world out there, but children have their whole lives to learn about that. It develops their sense of hope to think there are people out there who only want joy and happiness in their lives. In her case, being adopted out of foster care, she’s already seen enough sad things happen. She deserves the same wide-eyed innocence that other children get.

My wife tried searching online for some elfen magic before begging on Facebook for help. Some good people offered their own elves or shared what they’d found, but their offerings didn’t look much like our beloved Ginny. It looked like Ginny would need double leg reattachment surgery.

After my daughter went upstairs for the night, I grabbed the sewing kit and went to work. A year of home economics in high school and a lifetime of growing up with a seamstress for a mother left me with a certain set of skills, as I slowly stitched the extremities back together.

I was quite proud of my work until I heard that little voice: “Can I have a hug, Daddy?” She’d returned downstairs, only to see her dad working a needle back and forth between the severed pieces. Apparently my lookout, her older sister, had walked away from her post.

I gave her the hug and stared at Ginny, wondering what was next. After finishing up the sewing, I headed up to her room to see if she was still awake.

Her 13-year-old sister was in the room, trying to explain what she’d seen. Santa sent me a magical scroll. The elf hospital was overcrowded, and they needed my help with Ginny. I was already able to help the elves when they fell onto the ground, since I knew the magic incantations. It just made sense for her dad to perform the surgery himself.

In moments like these, you just roll with it. I asked our youngest what she thought. She said it was good that I wanted to help Ginny.

I don’t know how much longer she’ll still believe in the magic and mystery of Christmas. If she can continue to see the good in people, though, I think we’ll be OK.

David Trinko is managing editor of The Lima News, a division of AIM Media Midwest. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at dtrinko@limanews.com or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.

David Trinko Guest columnist
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2021/12/web1_Trinko-David-new-mug-2.jpgDavid Trinko Guest columnist