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Here’s to the elves

Exeter Times-Advocate Editorial

Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Rudolph and his reindeer buddies got a lot of attention in the days leading up to Christmas; the elves, not so much.

They stayed in the background, busily putting together gifts with a production schedule that would give anyone else nightmares. Not the elves. And not the people in communities like this one who might as well be Santa’s elves, the way they scurried here and there, volunteering a remarkable number of hours to make sure everyone had a wonderful Christmas.

There are the folks who made sure the food bank shelves were filled, not a simple matter of waiting for the boxes of tins and packages to roll in.

If only it were.

This is a generous community, but sometimes people need the occasional nudge – a job for a Christmas elf.

We needed to be told what items were needed – not just the standard jars of peanut butter and tins of beans, although both are always welcome, but pasta and sauce, tinned stews, infant formula, boxes of diapers and personal hygiene products. And cash. Financial donations were needed to buy items to fill any gaps.

Then someone had to pick up the donations, take them to the food bank, stock the shelves and see the items got to the people who need them. And thank the donors. And recruit more donors and volunteers. Christmas elves, to the rescue.

Christmas elves were found in other places besides the local food bank. There were the ones who organized the concerts and carol singing. You may have caught the occasional glimpse of one adjusting a tinsel halo on a tiny curly-haired angel, or holding up cue cards to make sure no one missed his or her lines. You might have seen a hand emerge from the shadows giving some child a “high five” or seen a figure rushing to the back of the hall to find out what happened with the lights. But elves do their best work out of public view.

There are elves who created spectacular displays of lights and outdoor decorations to bring smiles to the faces of all who viewed them – the kind of displays that make motorists pull over for a better look, that draw people from a considerable distance. A few local people know who they are, but the majority of viewers had no idea. The elves were too busy putting more lights in the trees to care.

Now that the big day is over and the year is winding to a close, perhaps there will be time for the elves to read those books they got for Christmas last year, or the year before. Perhaps there will be a full day to spend watching the birds at the feeder, and chatting on the phone with the grandchildren.

However, the special demands of Christmas have a way of depleting food bank shelves. And next year’s Santa Claus parade is already being planned. And there is a special church service coming up, and a service club fundraiser. Here’s to the Christmas elves, and all they do for this community.

— from the Wingham Advance-Times

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