Kari Kampakis is a writer and Birmingham mom of four girls who – as she points out – has “forty little fingers” to keep watch after. Kari began her career in public relations, but after some freelancing (ie, work without the corporate binding called pantyhose), she began writing a book even while expanding her young family.
Kari’s quick thinking has helped protect the Christmas spirit in her house, as you’ll see below. You can read more of Kari’s work and personal reflections on motherhood at her website, KariKampakis.com.
“Mommy, what’s John doing in this magazine?”
Sophie’s voice was abrupt and disturbed as she raised this question the Sunday after Thanksgiving. There we were, sifting through The Birmingham News, when suddenly she turned to me with the Books-A-Million holiday insert. She’d been rifling through its slick pages and happened upon a book she recognized: The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition.
One night several years ago, this book and its accompanying red elf – named John by our family – magically appeared in our house. Since then, John’s been a highlight of Christmas, amusing us with pranks (kissing Barbie under the mistletoe, painting our faces while we sleep) and livening up our morning routine. Thanks to him, my girls jump out of bed throughout December, race around the house to find his latest hiding hole. His seasonal presence in our lives has proven priceless.
“That’s not John,” I said, waving off the notion to my keenly aware five-year-old. “There are tons of elves out there. You know that; we see them in stores all the time.”
“But this one looks just like him!” Sophie insisted. She shook the insert in the air. “How’d he get in here?”
Sophie’s piercing blue eyes stared me down with an intensity that demanded concrete answers. At a loss, I glanced at the elf’s photo. How did this mischievous, rosy-cheeked fellow get in our insert? Only after a moment’s thought did it dawn on me.
“Well, we all know elves are magic,” I said, “I bet he used magic to get in there.”
Sophie’s mouth dropped, and her face lit up a thousand watts. “Oh yeah, that’s right. Magic!” She nodded in appreciation of this gift—then bounced excitedly on her feet. “Oh my goodness, Mommy…John is famous! He’s FAMOUS!”
With joyful abandon, Sophie then flailed her arms wide and beamed with pride at the thought of her special, world-renowned elf. And in this simple, carefree moment, I felt the spirit of Christmas work its magic on me.
Thank you, Kari! You can read more of her work on her blog PonyTail Mom or her column at Village Living.
Ideas for Your Holiday Elf from BirminghamMom.com: