Get your nose out of my back, sixteen.”

Sorry, twenty-five.”

We had been cooped up in this shoebox for 11 months. I rolled over to face another elve. Number one was happier than twenty-five. “It is late November, the woman will be getting us out soon,” he said.

We are a group of twenty-five advent elves each with a number for the day we will be opened in December. The woman, with some help from the man, put candy in us. We each have a piece of paper with a Bible verse they find then read with the girl and the boy. The paper also lists an activity the family will do together.

One year the woman told her children we are just made of recycled toilet paper tubes and felt. We have no memory of being created, it is just a privilege to bring joy to the family during Christmastime.

Being out of the box is the best. We used to live on the top of the desk. More recently we live on top of the entertainment center. Both give a good view of the living room. We watch the man pull in a tree from outside. Then he strings it with lights. The man, woman, girl and boy choose ornaments from two boxes to decorate the branches. This activity is on one of our papers.

Most of what our papers say is not done in our sight, but we hear the family talk about it and are proud to help make the season enjoyable.

Once we are opened it is back in the box. I, as sixteen, get to stay for more than half the time until Christmas when twenty-five is opened. He is the most special with a tall white hat. He tells the man where to find the story about when Jesus was born.

We rearrange ourselves every night where we stand and nobody ever notices. Walking around to look at the Christmas decorations is a favorite pastime. We have never been caught.

This Christmas will be fun again. We each take our turn being the center of attention. I will make the most of my time outside the box to create memories for the long months between appearances.

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