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Kristi Gilbert: Jingle Has Arrived

And a new holiday custom is added to the slate of Gilbert traditions.

Has your family gotten your Elf on the Shelf yet? Seems as though everyone and their dog is embracing this tradition with open arms. And why not? The concept is genius—you had better behave you little scoundrels, the elf is watching!

Our Elf on the Shelf arrived a week late. It seems as though a certain someone (oops) didn’t make it to the store to have all the ingredients for the perfect “Jingle Breakfast,” where our elf would make his grand entrance for the Christmas season.

Well, you-know-who finally got her butt in gear—not like I've been busy or anything (insert sarcasm)—and I am happy to say that our very own elf, Jingle, arrived promptly at 9 a.m. on Saturday. He arrived in full elf fashion, surprising us with a delicious breakfast complete with Donner’s doughnuts, Elfy Eggs, Blitzen’s bacon, Reindeer snacks (apples), Claus’s cocoa and Mom-mosas for the hubs and I. Hair of the dog, anyone?! And did I mention how much I miss day drinking?!

Ava was beyond ecstatic about his arrival; I think her exact words were “Ooooh, I lubb it!” And Ken and I quickly discovered that Jingle had some serious bargaining power; just the mention (threat) that “Jingle is watching” made her snap into shape immediately when she was acting out.

The second morning we had Jingle, we discovered him hanging upside down from our chandelier. Ava was stoked to find him there. In fact, when she woke up, she immediately began searching for him, which surprised me—big time. I thought that it would take a few years for her to fully understand Jingle’s pull with the big man in the red suit. Silly of me to doubt her, I suppose. She’s so darn smart. Clearly she takes after me.

Little does she know, Jingle the Elf will be one of many traditions I look to celebrate with her over the next few years. In my opinion, Christmas is the absolute best time of year. I have the greatest memories from my own childhood and I want to be sure to give my own children the same gift.

In recent years, my mom, sister and I have started a new tradition where we have brunch at the Walnut Room at Macy’s on State Street. They ride the train into the city where we do some shopping and dine by the huge, beautiful tree. And then, if the line isn’t out the door and all the way down Lake Shore Drive, we wait to see Santa. The kids absolutely love it.

In a few years I look forward to taking Ava to see The Nutcracker. I myself grew up taking dance and even danced the lead character (Clara) during my junior year of high school. I would love to say I gave a performance worthy of the American Ballet Theatre, but I will humbly admit that during a matinee performance I bit the dust, landing flat on my face during a grand jete. Ahh. Memories.

I look forward to having a girls' day in the city where we’ll have lunch, shop and end the trip with a performance by the Joffrey Ballet. How spoiled are we to have them in Chicago? It would be a shame not to take advantage.

I also look forward to taking Ava on a “Christmas Lights Drive.” When I was little we would load ourselves into the car, turn on a radio station that was playing Christmas music and we would ride around town in search of beautiful Christmas lights. It was one of my favorite things to do as a child. And how great, it’s 100 percent free!

And of course there will always be the morning spent baking and decorating Christmas cookies.

So much fun. So little time.

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