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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Harris

RIP Jack- An elf story gone bad

Read with caution. This elf story was a pretty big parent fail.


When Cadence was three years old, we jumped on the get-your-kid-an-elf train. “Everyone’s doing it,” they said. Insert hand over face emoji here.

We were faithful with Jack. Year after year, he arrived just after Thanksgiving. And year after year, Cadence looked forward to his mischievous tricks and daily (very stressful) disasters. She fell in love with her little elf. We would catch her whispering to him, leaving letters wherever he was stationed for the day. Forgot to mention, she named him after our recently dead husky. So, it’s safe to say, she was in a pretty committed relationship with this Jack.

Here's the original Jack.


Last year, I came up with this amazing idea. Or so I thought. She was recently talking about how some kids at school didn't believe in Santa. With that, she started asking lots of questions. I took all of this, as though she already knew. I just thought she didn't want to say it out loud to us. Apparently, I read it all wrong.

After Thanksgiving, instead of Jack arriving in his usual way, I decided to give her a gift instead. I carefully wrapped his original box, Jack inside, along with all her letters to him and Santa throughout the years. Such a cute idea, right?

I wrote this letter:

Dear Cadence,

My magic has gone,

So now I must go.

But I left you this package

For our memories to show.

You are the most special

Girl in the world.

And I’ve loved every bit

Of my time in your world.

But now it’s your turn

To spread magic & cheer

To all those around you

And not just once a year.

You see Cadence girl

What Christmas is about

It’s giving & giving

And to never lose doubt.

It’s about the Savior coming

In the form of a baby.

It’s about His great love for us

And really not me!




Immediately, she broke down in tears… well, sobs. She looked at me with shattered, watery blue eyes. I went from excited to confused to heartbroken in a matter of 30 seconds. Wait.. what just happened here? I hugged her and asked her why she was so sad. We had a long conversation about how this was all just a part of the magic of Christmas. I thought it was perfect timing considering what her classmates were telling her, along with all of her recent questions. She was clueless though! And I was heartbroken that I misread her. The conversation ended with, “I don’t even know what to believe anymore.” Heart dagger to seal the deal.


Yes, she’s okay now. She is actually looking forward to doing it for the boys this year. Yes, she’s a happy girl. And no, she does not need to see a therapist. But, it was very eye-opening for us... well, for me. She has a heart that is both passionate and tender. I'm still learning and I think I forever will be. I guess my hope is that one day we can look back on the good ol' Jack days and laugh. Hopefully sooner than later. I haven't brought it up since.

On a lighter note, see below for one of Jack's acts, before his RIP poem. We couldn't eat bananas that day.

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