The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

From elves on shelves to Tolkien: A look at Christmas Tales both old, new

The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment


December 22, 2018

The Elf on the Shelf

Don't you just love a good book? I do! My name is Midge Lyn'dee,* a lover of books and retired librarian. I am happy to give book reviews for you in this first Loop TALE.

Christmas is a magical and wonderful season for young and old alike, and especially for the young-at-heart of any age. Rather new in the extensive history of the holiday season, we have the visitation of "Elf on the Shelf" as the holidays open. Many families now wake up to the creative antics of their own red suited Christmas elf sent by Santa. Usually arriving by Dec. 1, (sometimes sooner) they come to watch over little children during this hectic season, bringing messages back to their jolly boss. Good list? Bad list? By the antics of the elf himself, we must wonder his own status with Santa from day to day!

Children wake to all sorts of mishaps. Flour all over the counter pressed with elf snow angels. His hand wrapped around the unraveling yarn of a favorite sweater. Frozen in the freezer inside an ice cube igloo. The mischievous elves can just sit quietly on a shelf or find themselves in all sorts of terrible fixes, possibly motivated by huge curiosity.

The only rule seems to be that the children cannot touch him. If they do, his magic drains and he disappears, barring unusual sets of circumstances of course, as Santa is both loving and fair. It should be disclosed that a watching elf gives a certain amount of parental advantage and an incentive for good behavior ... remembering naughty or nice!

Children love their elves on the shelves. The storybook and elves can be found online and in stores, along with a DVD cartoon adventure and occasional cable viewing. Check your available channels.

Before these elves made their appearance, parents of yesteryear had to be extra creative on their own. My favorite dad is J.R.R. Tolkien, who wrote his children a yearly letter from Father Christmas.

An envelope would arrive written in a spidery script, stamped from the North Pole. The letter inside would come with colored drawings and sketches and the telling of wonderful tales about life at the frozen north with Santa.

Because we are not all so creative to imagine and make up such stories, Tolkien's "Letters From Father Christmas" is a great treat for families and friends. This book is available instantly with a Kindle buy and downloaded faster than hot chocolate heats. The hardcover can be ordered or found at bookstores and will certainly become a family treasure. Have it on hand from year to year.

Letters from Father Christmas

Don't forget some old favorites as the December and winter days go by. Make that cup of cocoa, curl up in a cozy blanket and reach for "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott for a nostalgic look at a family Christmas, or for a grittier but tender look, "A Christmas Memory" by Truman Capote.

And don't forget that it's in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" by CS Lewis, where we find out what happens when you have winter, but never Christmas!

I hope you enjoy your holidays of December, with family and friends close. I look forward to sharing more books with you in the new year of 2019.

Good books! And good reading to all, with many good nights!

*Note that Midge Lyn'dee is a fictional character for the purpose of entertainment, though the reviews are real and sincere.


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