Elves are back for December

Published 2:10 am Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The best thing about the Elf on the Shelf craze is hearing the kids talk about Christmas magic, Randy Baker, a maintenance worker at Andalusia Elementary School, said.

The festive toy began as a children’s book in the U.S. in 2005, telling the story of how Santa sends a “scout” elf to check whether children are being “naughty or nice.”

Next came toy elves, who made their appearance each Christmas season.

The tradition has gone viral in America with parents taking to Pinterest to post pictures and share ideas of the unusual places they put the puppet in each morning.

Children can chat with the elf but can’t touch him. Otherwise he will disappear forever, according to the book.

AES has its own elf, “Ace,” and Baker is in charge of creating the magic that makes him move around the elementary school town square.

“The idea was brought to me by Kerry Capps,” Baker said. “She told me that I should be the one in charge of moving it to different places.”

Since he started being in charge of Ace, he said that he has fun coming up with creative ideas for the elf.

“The kids get really into it,” Baker said. “So being able to come up with creative things for Ace to get into is really fun. First we had him in the tree, then we had him act like he was flying and then got caught in the light fixture, the next day he was hanging from a flag and today, he is sitting on top of an exit sign.”

Baker said that he wakes up extra early every morning to make sure he has time to move Ace before the kids get to school.

“I get here at about 6:15 a.m.,” Baker said. “So it gives me about 15 minutes before kids start piling in.”

Being able to talk to the kids about the elf is one of the main reasons Baker loves doing Elf on the Shelf.

“So far today I have stopped a couple of kids and asked them, ‘Reckon how that crazy elf does that?’ and they say, ‘It’s magic,’ ” Baker said. “That’s another one of my favorite things. One of the kids told me yesterday while he was staring up at the elf, ‘I swear his arm just moved.’”

Capps, who pitched the idea to Baker, said that they have always had Ace at the elementary school.

“We have always had it,” Capps said. “We just needed someone to take over the duties.”

She said that all of the students take the Elf on the Shelf very seriously, and for some students, it gives them an opportunity to be a part of something that they don’t have in their own household.

“It is a big deal to all of the kids,” Capps said. “They all take it very seriously, and a lot of people don’t think about this, but some of these students don’t ever see anything like it. While they are here they get to be like everyone else. They get to enjoy all of the good ole Christmas stuff.”

For Andalusia High School teacher Jana Clark, Elf on the Shelf was something that she didn’t want to start in her own household.

“I promised myself that I wouldn’t start something that I would eventually have to tell my daughter Anna wasn’t real,” Clark said. “But then my niece got her elf so Anna begged for one too.”

After starting the craze, Clark said that her daughter loves it and looks forward to it every year.

“Anna absolutely loves it,” Clark said. “She looks forward to the elf coming every year so I will continue to do it.”

Clark said that “Elfie” is a very jealous elf.

“It’s always a tradition that Elfie brings Anna an ornament for her room tree,” Clark said. “But she has been a jealous elf, she has had peppermint ‘poop’, she has thought dog treats are cookies and she has copied herself on our printer.”