David Trinko: Putting the magic of Christmas to the test


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

Our 2 year old dog does not.

This is how I found myself on the phone with our youngest daughter, trying to console her after she fell into a holiday tragedy, at least from her perspective.

Every year at Christmas, Steve and Ginny’s advance team from Santa Claus visits our home. They are part of the Elf on the Shelf group. According to the accompanying books, they magically return to the North Pole each night to share what they have seen of the young believers. Then they return to a different location each night.

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

In fact, they moved on Friday morning, on a counter in our kitchen. This is where our 2 year old dog, whom I had described as a plush toy serial killer a few weeks ago, found our elf. He couldn’t resist his instincts, mutilating Ginny by ripping off both of her felt-padded legs.

Our daughter and her older sister found the carnage. The elder called my wife to find out what to do while we got home from work on Friday. From a seat out of the way, I heard our youngest moan in the background.

It was then that my wife suddenly told her to put the younger one on the phone and shoved the phone into my hand. I watched my partner in life for a few seconds, wondering what exactly I was supposed to say to make things better.

Finally, I cuddled her to calm herself down enough for us to talk. I reminded her that she believed in prayer. She also admitted that she knew the magic of Christmas. She said she believed anything could happen, if she would only believe.

It was good enough for the time. She was ready for a Christmas miracle, if only we could help make it happen.

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

My wife tried searching for elven magic online before asking for help on Facebook. Some good people offered their own elves or shared what they found, but their offerings were not much like our beloved Ginny. It looked like Ginny would need reattachment surgery on both legs.

After my daughter came up for the night, I grabbed the sewing kit and went to work. A year of home economics in high school and a life spent growing up being a seamstress for a mom left me with a certain skill set, as I slowly stitched the ends together.

I was pretty proud of my job until I heard that little voice, “May I have a hug, daddy?” She had come back downstairs, only to see her father push a needle back and forth between the cut pieces. Apparently my lookout, her older sister, had moved away from her post.

I gave her a hug and stared at Ginny, wondering what was to come next. After I finished sewing, I walked over to her bedroom to see if she was still awake.

Her 13-year-old sister was in the room, trying to explain what she had seen. Santa Claus sent me a magic scroll. The elven hospital was overcrowded and they needed my help with Ginny. I was already able to help the elves when they fell to the ground, since I knew the magical incantations. It made sense that his father would perform the operation himself.

At times like these, you just ride with it. I asked our youngest what she thought of it. She said it was good that I wanted to help Ginny.

I don’t know how long she’ll believe in the magic and mystery of Christmas. If she can continue to see good in people, I think she will be fine.

Our 2 year old dog, whom I described as a serial killer for plush toys a few weeks ago, found our elf. He couldn’t resist his instincts, mutilating Ginny by ripping off both of her felt-padded legs.

David Trinko is editor-in-chief of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0467, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.


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