Friday, December 14, 2012

Another Visit from Dudley the Elf

The air always has a little bit more magic in it at the Nido house. I may be biased, but I only speak from my heart. Add the red twinkle lights, the smell of sugar cookies and cinnamon and a mile long list of traditions and the magic can be felt from miles around. My family is pretty darn amazing.

The story of Dudley the elf made its debut on my blog last year and it deserves to be shared every year. There is nothing quite like it and I am fairly confident that this perfect little elf is most likely what caused the Christmas crazed girl in me. I'll never stop believing. Thanks, Dad. 


Long before Elf on a Shelf, the Nido girls had an annual, magical visitor straight from the North Pole. Too shy to see us, he would appear after we were asleep, and visit with my dad over mugs of hot cocoa. His visit came after our family tree was lit with red lights and decorated from head to toe. This is a tale, as told by my dad, is near and dear to my heart. So many of my favorite memories of the magic of Christmas, all lead back to Dudley the elf.

The Tale of a North Pole Ambassador
written by: The Elf Whisperer

On a snowy winter’s evening in mid-December 1989, after locking the doors and taking a gander at the sparkle and glow of our home we created for Christmas, I reduced everything to darkness and was headed up the stairs when I was startled by a rustling noise coming from the direction of our kitchen. Frightened, I eased my way down the steps and around the corner, only to find a strange little man sitting at the kitchen table. He had a luminescent glow about him and was so short that his feet didn’t even touch the floor. He smiled, but didn’t say a word. Suddenly, I felt I was having some crazy dream, until he spoke.

“Where are the girls?” he said.

Okay, I thought that maybe I’m crazy, but I’ll play along so he won’t harm me. “They’re in bed”, I said.

“Did Nina say her prayers?” he asked.

How does he know her name, I wondered? I wasn’t sure what to do next but he seemed pleasant enough, so I answered his questions. “Yes she did” I said.

“But, before that you had to discuss what she was going to have for breakfast in the morning” he said. “Her palate is quite mature for her young age. That’s going to be trouble for you when she grows up”.


He squinted and the corner of his mouth turned up in a half-smile that told me he knows more than I can ever imagine. “What about Andi? Has she quit talking and gone to sleep yet?” he said.

Now I was worried. He knew too much about my precious girls for my liking. “What do you want, and who are you anyway?”

“The name’s Dudley and I come from the North Pole. I’m the Chief Elf and everything goes through me.”

“How did you get here and why did you choose us?”

“Serendipity” he said. “I was out for a ride and saw the warm red glow from your Christmas tree. I couldn’t resist.”

“Okay, so what do you want from me?”

“Just a mug of hot cocoa.”

Still wary of this funny-looking little fellow, I asked how he got here. “Olaf” he said

“Pardon me?”

“Olaf” he said again.

“Is that a foreign car I’ve never heard of?” I said.

“No. He’s a reindeer. One of the spare ones. My favorite. Let me show you.”

He led me out to the porch where to my astonishment, was a large smiling reindeer. He had a fuzzy brown rack with enough points to hang 20 stocking caps, bells around his neck and a saddle strapped to his back. Now I was convinced that this wasn’t a dream and I wasn’t on Candid Camera. We returned to the kitchen and I fixed each of us a mug of hot cocoa. We chatted about all kinds of things, but he was especially interested in Nina and Andi and their activities. He asked if I would take him up to their bedrooms so that he could give them a kiss on the cheek. We tiptoed up the stairs and went into Andi’s room first. He bent over and gave her a kiss on the cheek and of course, she didn’t stir. We proceeded to Nina’s room, and being the light sleeper, as soon as he kissed her, she grumbled and rolled over. Dudley made a beeline for the stairs and ran down to the kitchen.

I followed him and asked “what’s the matter?”

“I’m shy. Your girls can’t see me. Only you.”

“How long have you been doing this” I asked.

“I’ve been the chief since I was 348 years old.”

“How old are you?”

“572 years. I must go.”


“I must be back to the North Pole by daybreak.”

Before he left, he reached into his pocket and pulled out two small trinkets to leave for the girls, and promised he would be back next year and the year after that.........

He returned the following year and every year after that and still does today, always bearing three small trinkets. His arrival is always the evening after our family Christmas tree is put up. How does he know? He waits for the warm red glow. Since that first December night, we added one more daughter, Natalie to our family. As the girls got older, my kitchen table chats with Dudley changed as did our beverage of choice. We now chat over a pint of ale and discuss their boyfriends, husbands, college, careers and whatever else is on our minds. Even though he has never seen them, he knows them as well as I do. Dudley knows...........

Mike Nido, aka The Elf Whisperer, lives a quiet life with his family in Charlotte, North Carolina and still waits up every year for Dudley.

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