I, HOMEOWNER, pledge the following:
- To dutifully dig you out of the box every year if not on the exact day after Thanksgiving, within a reasonable amount of time thereafter.
- To give you a cutesy, elf-appropriate name and to entertain, but not be bound by, your suggestions on this matter.
- To read your accompanying book to my children without irony or eye-rolling so they are appropriately informed about your role in their lives and suitably enchanted and impressed by your so-called connection to Santa.
- To do my best to make sure you remain out of reach of all household pets.
- Not to pose you in an embarrassing/demeaning/inappropriate manner (the terms “embarrassing” “demeaning” and “inappropriate” to be defined by mutual agreement of the parties in an addendum to this letter).
- To take you to the stupid Elf Hospital if, despite my best efforts, someone ends up touching you.
You, ELF, pledge the following:
- To stay where I have placed you and absolutely, under no circumstances, sneak up on me (or any member of this household) while we are
- Not to look at me in that creepy way (you are here to keep an eye on the kids. The KIDS. Not me.)
- To give a truthful report to Santa on the subject of my children’s behavior.
- To make dang sure that you lobby hard to get my kids on the Nice list, irrespective of their actual behavior, or you will be ON YOUR OWN next year. I have reserved the right to declare my above pledges NULL AND VOID if things don’t go our way, gift-wise. And believe, me, ELF. I will not hesitate to do just that. And we’ll just see how long you can survive in this house without my protection. You see the way the dog is looking at you, don’t you? No Elf Hospital this side of the North Pole will be able to help you after she gets through with you.
ELF, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Cory Putman Oakes is the author of the young adult novel, THE VEIL. Her debut middle-grade novel, DINOSAUR BOY, is due out (from Sourcebooks) in early 2015.