This is Leo.
Leo is our next door neighbor and one of our favorite people. He’s a retired engineer, a recent widow, a guitar and keyboard player, and just so happens to be the sweetest man around. We always keep Leo in mind when it’s peach season (his favorite) and we visit the Farmer’s Market. Or at Halloween he’ll receive a pumpkin delivery when his porch is pumpkin-free. So when we noticed that his house was bare of Christmas spirit, the kids and I couldn’t think of a better recipient of our first ever “Mystery Elves” surprise.
My children LOVE to look at Christmas lights. The more the better. We’re lucky enough to live close by Happyland, so we are spoiled by good lights. One evening last week, we noticed that Leo was the only house in the neighborhood who didn’t have lights or even a Christmas tree in his window. We decided to surprise Leo with a little Christmas cheer and that’s how The Mystery Elves were born.
We found the perfect size “Charlie Brown-esque” tree and decked it out with boughs of lights and décor. We waited til we knew that Leo wasn’t home, and in the dark of night made our way to his house to set up the tree on his front porch. Luckily, he has an outlet so we were able to plug it in for him to see when he pulled into home that night.
Boy, did we take our Mystery Elves jobs seriously. We whispered, ducked, snuck. We ran into a couple unexpected obstacles: The constant falling of tree balls and a last-second remembering that Leo has a guard dog. But once we made it past our scares and plugged it in, we took off running while giggling and feeling great with the knowledge that Leo would get a kick out of his surprise.
The next morning my phone rang. Leo. I’m not sure how he knew but we were totally busted. Maybe we left a trail of ornaments from my house to his. Maybe it was the handwriting on note left on the tree. Or maybe he knows that we like doing nice things for him and couldn’t think of who else did it. Either way, he wanted to invite the elves over to see his new tree.
The kids kept their cover and didn’t let up their true identities, but Leo wanted to give them to deliver some cookies to give to the Mystery Elves as a “thank you” if we ever found them.
Needless to say, a new tradition has been started for my family. This adventure was the highlight of our Christmas season and we can’t wait to see what the Mystery Elves get into next year.