The Elf, the Wealth, and the Craigslist Santa

taken for What Pegman Saw

“Tiffany’s elf brought her another present yesterday.”

Que bueno, flacita.”

“Stormy’s elf writes letters. She brought one to school. It’s covered with glitter.” Her dark eyes shone with a sad longing.

I didn’t know what to say. Our elf was overworked and underpaid. Some elves baked cookies or staged hilarious tableaus. Our elf forgot to move on days I worked the late shift. I stroked her hair. “Well, our elf told me a secret.”

Her eyes went wide.

I cleared my throat. “Our elf said Santa’s coming to our house. Tomorrow.”

Her mouth fell open in a gasp. “Really?”

“That’s right hijita. He’s coming to meet you.”

“Oh,” she said, full of wonder.

As she hurried off to tidy her room, I wondered where I’d find a red suit and a white beard and a jolly man to wear them. For under twenty bucks. Two days before Christmas.


150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

For those not familiar with the Elf on the Shelf craze, it’s a fifteen-inch tall stuffed ‘scout elf’ that comes to live at your home over the holidays. It’s mission is to gather intelligence. It’s a great tool for teaching your kids those important skills needed for living in a surveillance state. Plus, it fosters an environment of competitive elving in your child’s home and classroom. The Elf on the Shelf has been stirring up strife since 2005. If you’re looking to teach your kids that important lesson that “being good means gifts”, I suggest you buy one today. I can give you a good price, if you’re interested 😉


  1. Dear Karen,

    If she lived in KC I could put her in touch with the best of the best when it comes to Santa. 😉 Sweet and poignant story.



    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sounds like you DO know the best Santa. Thanks for reading 😉


  2. I have a feeling I’m about to be “voluntold.” Love this story. The Elf on the Shelf is the best thing since Facebook for getting us all used to a 24/7 surveillance state!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hehehe, get ready to put on the red suit!


      1. Oh please take pictures.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautifully told in spot-on dialogue. Several of my friends still do Elf on the Shelf. Makes me scratch my head. (P.S. Did you mean to spell the final word incorrectly?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and for catching the misspelling! I fixed it.


  4. Nasty tattle-tale Elves. I saw a meme on Facebook involving one of those elves. It had to do with what happens to such creatures when they show up before Thanksgiving. It was duct taped above a lit gas stove burner being threatened by armed Star Wars action figures. A suitable use for such things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh boy, I’d like to do that with the elves around here! Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. peterkirsch

    “…for living in a surveillance state.” HILARIOUS!
    I was not familiar with this unfortunate and disturbing meme and shall now remain ever-vigilant in keeping one of these li’l b@stards from getting in my house.

    As for the story, how touching. It’s a tough time of year for so many parents who struggle just to keep up on the day-to-day. Add in societal pressure and “comparative judgement” from those more fortunate children and families…it’s heartbreaking. I’m going to send you an old Christmas story of mine that shares a theme.

    Still, a $20 Craigslist Santa…my heart wrenches to think of the result. But here’s hoping she finds a suitable stand in with a Jolly Old Soul.

    Merry Christmas, Karen. May the best of the season find you and yours and fill your hearts with peace and joy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Merry Christmas to you too! I fear the Craigslist Santa might have ashes in his beard and whiskey on his breath. But hope not! Looking forward to your Christmas story.


  6. Haha! What a brilliant idea. With my daughter growing up, I’ll need one of those elves. A fun and interesting story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beware the elves 🙂 Before you know it, you’re losing sleep while your elf stays up all night making homemade fudge!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, they can do that all they want. I’ll ask for Spritz cookies too. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I really liked your story, like it’s spare style and tenderness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much. Appreciate you taking the time to read and comment!


  8. “Stormy’s elf writes letters. She brought one to school. It’s covered with glitter.” Her dark eyes shone with a sad longing.
    That’s such a brilliant description of a little girl who wants something so.o.o. badly, and realises she can’t have it.
    It’s a lovely story, Alicia. Well told!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A sweet tale 🙂 Craigslist to the rescue! Elf on the Shelf isn’t something we do over here as far as I’m aware.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s good–I urge you to stay far from the Elf! Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Lol, and there are some positives, you know…fosters imagination. Helps the children to quiet down (reinforcement), provides a good collective experience…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You make some good points! Plus there’s the joy of seeing their faces light up.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, perhaps the best positive of all.

        Liked by 1 person

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