New Ideas for “Elf on the Self” like experience for Christmas.

You have probably heard of, implemented, and enjoyed some variation of “Elf on the Self” with your family and others. In this article, I will share a unique and fun idea of how you enjoy the Christmas season by creating a story that evolves through the Christmas season.

This idea was born from my inability to find an “Elf on the Shelf” so I could share the experience with my wife. Purely by accident, “Marvin, the Reindeer” began on the shelf in Walmart. I share all the details below.

Marvin the Reindeer
Table of Contents

Also see the article: How to Create A Christmas Treasure Hunt that Brings Family Joy


Where Do I Find an Elf on the Shelf?

It was Christmas 2020; I wanted to do a little more this year for Sarah, my wife, to celebrate the Christmas season. In previous years, we had established a unique tradition of having a Christmas Treasure Hunt on Christmas morning. See the article, “How to Create A Christmas Treasure Hunt that Brings Family Joy.”

Most of our children have continued the tradition. One of our children had also been experimenting with the “Elf on the Shelf” idea. Her Elf, however, was named Bernie. The more I thought about the idea of “Elf on the Shelf,” the more I wanted to do that for Sarah. It was now the middle of November; all I had to do was buy a stuffed elf, no problem, right? WRONG. This was my experience:

  • Amazon: Delivery January 4
  • Target: Nope
  • Walmart: Nope
  • Costco: Nope
  • Every store: Nope, Nope, Nope
  • Every online store: Nope, Nope, Nope
  • Arggg….

Ok, that is one idea that is not going to happen. No problem, and I’ll do the traditional Christmas Treasure Hunt. Nothing lost, nothing gained. [TOC]

Marvin the Reindeer is Born

I had given up on the “Elf on the Shelf” idea. I had gone to Walmart to return an item; as I walked out of customer service, I saw a row of Christmas stuff, Snowmen, Snow women, Santas, Mrs. Santas, Bears, and one Reindeer. The idea came instantly, instead of “Elf on the Shelf,” what if I did “Reindeer on the Shelf?” Oh my. This could work, I thought to myself.

I pulled the Reindeer off the self, walked over to the shopping carts, and put the Reindeer in the child section of the cart. And I started walking and pondering how I could create a month-long Christmas experience for Sarah. After 1 hour in Walmart, I had the plan.

Reindeer Name: Marvin, the Reindeer on the Shelf

Plan: Throughout December, Marvin will be on a special mission from Santa to meet with and provide Sarah Schreiber with a fun Christmas.

  1. Marvin will provide Sarah with a letter found in the same place each day. In the letter,
  2. Marvin will share what it is like to live at the North Pole and tidbits about his life.
  3. Marvin will provide a clue and riddle of where he has hidden.
  4. Sarah is asked to come and find him. When she finds Marin, she will find so of her favorite foods, stories, and more.
  5. Once Sarah has found Marvin, she is to return Marvin to a specific place, and Marvin will return to the North Pole and come again in a day or two. [TOC]

How to Create Your Marvin the Reindeer

I have provided the entire Marvin the Reindeer story I created for the 2020 Christmas season below. You are welcome to use this story or use it as the foundation or idea to create your own. The plan I introduced above is how I presented the experience to Sarah, my wife. Allow me to answer a few questions you might have:

How many people can participate in the experience? As many people as you want. In my case, I did it for Sarah, my wife. You can do it for a family, grandparents, or anyone you like.

Do you have to use a reindeer for the story? No, you can use a reindeer, Elf, bear, Mrs. Santa, snowmen, snowwomen, birds, dogs and more. I used a reindeer because it appealed to me at the time.

How do you start a story? I start the story with an introduction letter from Santa. In that letter, I outline the parameters of what to expect, where to find the letter, who is coming, and so forth.

How do you build the story? The story can be anything you want. I treated each day as if it were a diary journal entry. In the case of Marin the Reindeer, I had fun thinking about what it might be like to be at the North Pole and what I might like to do. I thought about my wife and some of the things she liked to do and then turned them into things that happened at the North Pole. I incorporated stories I was told as a boy about Santa.

How long does each entry have to be? As long as you want it to be. I had fun writing the story and spent anywhere from 30 minutes to 1-hour writing. From my point of view, it was a Christmas gift to my wife and a unique way to celebrate Christmas.

Do you write a story every day? No, there would be days that I would miss a day or two. It is up to you and the time you have available.

Can I repurpose the Marvin the Reindeer story for my use? Yes. I own the copyright to the idea and story you will read below. But I would encourage you to reuse or modify the story for your use. Take what you want, and use what you want. I am interested in sharing a way to have a unique experience with those around you.

Why do you use a riddle or clue at the end of every letter? Our family has been doing a Christmas Treasure Hunt for years. In the treasure hunt, we always provide a clue where to find the present, and I just carried the idea over to the Marvin the Reindeer storyline. The idea worked well.

Where can I find ideas of how to write clues of places to hide gifts? The article “How to Create A Christmas Treasure Hunt that Brings Family Joy.” I have provided many ideas of how to craft clues in that article. The clues represent places in the home, apartment or other known to the family or the persons for which you are creating the experience.

How did Sarah like the experience? She thought it was a wonderful experience and even hugged Marvin on more than one occasion.

How did you choose what gifts to include with Marvin? The gifts were a mix of everyday food (e.g., soup, potato chips), treats (e.g., chocolate, crispy rice treats), and Christmas nick-nacks (e.g., stories). Whatever Sarah liked, that is what I provided. Sometimes, I provide food that could be used for her lunch that day or taken to work to be shared with others. The key was that it was things she liked. When I gave her Christmas stories, we would sit down at night and read them together.

How did you conclude the story? I included Marvin the Reindeer in our Christmas Treasure Hunt. At the end of the story. See the last entry in the Story which is December 25. You will see a portion of how we celebrated the Christmas Treasure Hunt.

How do you set up Marvin when you hide him? I have provided a picture of how I set up each location. [TOC]

Marvin the Reindeer Letters/Story

I have provided the entire Marvin the Reindeer story I created for the 2020 Christmas season below. You are welcome to use this story or use it as the foundation or idea to create your own.

Dec 4: Message from Santa about Marvin the Reindeer


Marvin the Reindeer-Christmas
Marvin is found on the piano.

This is to inform you that Santa is coming to visit you this Christmas. You have been such a good girl this year.

I have tried very hard to send one of my elves to sit on your shelf to prepare you for my visit on December 24. However, there was no one left to send. I am SORRY!

That said, I have the pleasure of announcing that I am sending Marvin, grandson of Prancer. Marvin is very, very fast and is one of my top Reindeer. Marvin is assigned to come to your house every day, even on Christmas day. Here is what you can expect…

Marvin will arrive at your home between 6 am and 5 pm daily.

When Marvin arrives, he will send you an email to announce his arrival with instructions on where he is sitting and what he has brought.

Once you find Marvin, please hug him. He is working overtime this year to be with you mainly.

When I asked Marvin what he was bringing, he said, “maybe some snacks, some sacks, some treats, some cute reads, some fun, and some thingamabobs. This is my first assignment as Reindeer on a shelf, sooooo I’ll keep it simple, but special for a very sweet and especially good girl.”

Ok, there you have it. You are in good hands with Marvin, or should I say good hooves.

VERY IMPORTANT…Once you find Marvin and have collected your gift, please put Marvin next to Pooh bear by the front door so he can slip quietly out and return to the north pole to check-in and get your next surprise.

Since this is the first experience for you and Marvin, I have taken the opportunity to tell you about Marvin’s first visit.

Clue…I am next to the keys that open no lock, but they play tunes to soften your heart. I am bringing a little color to brighten your day and a clip or two for gifts that might be on their way.

Yours truly,


Ps…Be kind enough to share some of your gifts with Author. He has been an almost good boy this year. I have asked Marvin to consider bringing a little extra for the both of you to enjoy throughout the coming year. Of course, I leave it up to Marvin to decide what he brings.

Oh, and I am using the Author’s email. I don’t want anyone to know my email address; I get enough letters already. Please do not reply to my emails; save them if you like. So let’s keep this secret between the three of us (Santa, Marvin, and Sarah).

I can’t wait to see you on Christmas eve. Santa


Dec 5: Marvin…Your Reindeer on a Shelf

Hi Sarah,

Marvin the Reindeer-Christmas
Marvin is found in the sitting room blue chair by a train set.

I am so looking forward to sharing this Christmas season with you. Santa made it clear that you are my top priority. We are going to have sooooo much fun.

Thanks to Santa, I have had a chance to review his knotty or nice reports on you, and I was impressed. You are a good girl.

I don’t know if you know much about Reindeer, but I’ll tell you, it is pretty rewarding. I learned to fly by when I was one year old, and I like cookies for lunch and cherry chocolates right before bed. Enough about me. Here is your clue…

Clue: Ahhh, relaxing after my long flight from the North Pole is lovely. I see three lights not lit, memories from a long and recent past, and a choo, choo that can’t go round. Alas, I have raised my legs and am just waiting for you. Find me, and we can start a good popping conversation.

See you soon,

Your Reindeer on a Shelf [TOC]

Dec 6: Marvin…Your Reindeer on the Shelf

Marvin the Reindeer-Christmas
Marvin the Reindeer is by the fireplace.

Hi Sarah,

Wow, I sure had fun with you yesterday. Not every day, I share a variety of such pop good topics.

Santa has encouraged me to get to know you. So, you like oatmeal and fruit for breakfast. I bet that can get to be a bit mushy at times. A little Reindeer humor. As Reindeer at the North Pole, Santa treats us well. Every day we are encouraged to spend 90 minutes in Reindeer games. I like reindeer ping pong, pool and high jumping. High jumping is perfect for practicing your Reindeer takeoffs. I hope that one day I get to pull Santa’s Sleigh. Here is your clue…

Clue…I am cozy and warm with the idea that I like being next to the fire. And what do you know, I have company, another tiny reindeer. Find me, and we could share some sweet time together.

Keep smiling,

Your Reindeer on the Shelf [TOC]

Dec 7: Marvin…Your Reindeer on the Shelf

Marvin the Reindeer-Christmas
Marvin the Reindeer is in the oven.

Hi Sarah,

There is nothing like a Monday to rise and shout…Good morning world …I am going to have a wonderful week, and it starts on Monday.

Well, Sarah, I was pretty interested to learn that you are quite the hiker and even a bit of river kayaking. Nothing is more refreshing than a bright sunny day in the woods, and you never know what you will find around the bend.

I have to tell you, while I like being a Reindeer, there are times when Elf can just be a little too much. Almost every week, when I am waiting at the candy cane bus stop #5, at least one Elf will want to tell me the latest Reindeer joke. The elves just don’t get it; I have heard all the jokes at least 20 times.

I heard these jokes just last Saturday on my way to see Santa.

  • What do Reindeer say every time they take a picture on a housetop? “Click click click.”
  • Why were the Reindeer still in the barn when they were supposed to be with Santa? They were stalling.
  • Why is Mrs. Claus always hugging the Reindeer? They are so deer to her.
  • Can you name all of Santa’s Reindeer? No, they already have names.
  • What do you call a reindeer with no eyes? No eye-deer.

Oh well, I have to admit…the elves sure do like to have fun, and they do make me smile. Ok, enough about me, here is your clue.

-I get hot, but I never sweat
-I cook things, but I’m not a chef
-I have a door, but you don’t go through me
-I can sometimes clean myself, but I’m not a person
-And there are days when I feel high and low
-A baker considers me a friend
-I can be gas or electric, but I’m not a car

Find me, and I’ll tell you a Christmas story.

See you soon,

Marvin, Your Reindeer on a Shelf [TOC]

Dec 9: Marvin…Your Reindeer on the Shelf

Marvin the Reindeer-Christmas
Marvin the Reindeer is in the closet where toiletries are kept.

Hi Sarah,

Whew, it has been a blizzard-like day for me. Just as I was getting ready to fly back to your home in Waxhaw, Santa called me into his office and asked if I could help one of the Elfs (Phil) move some toys to the sleigh loading area. I said sure. It took all day. And then Phil wanted to share some coco and have me meet his elf kiddos, William, Walter, and Wanda. By the time we were done, I was too beat and slept like a yule log.

I understand that you like to take walks and do some yoga, which is fantastic. Here at the Noth Pole, Santa has been doing a little Polar CrossFit to stay fit and warm. He likes to do several exercises more than others. He likes iceberg rowing and climbing, polar bear racing (bears win every time) and Elf pulls.

You would be amazed how many Elves he can pull at one time. The Elves climb in the Sleigh, and he pulls it like a reindeer up and down the main street. At last count, he could pull 200 elves at one time. Each day, the elves have a drawing to see who gets to climb in the Sleigh. It’s an enjoyable time for all.

Did you know Santa invites the top three elf managers each year to his private workshop for lunch on Christmas eve? They usually have cookies and egg nog, and it’s his way of saying, job well done.

Afterward, it’s time to make final preparations before Santa is off for his world tour. Before the elves can come for lunch, they must solve a riddle and usually have a couple of days to solve it. This is the riddle he gave this year.

A wise old elf wanted to leave all his toy-making tools to one of his three kiddos, but he didn’t know which one to give them. He gave each of them a few chocolate-filled golden coins and told them to buy something that would be able to fill their living room. The first kiddo bought straw, but there was not enough to fill the room. The second kiddo bought some sticks but still did not fill the room. The third kiddo bought two things that filled the room, so he obtained his father’s tools. What were the two things that the Elf bought?

Clue to one of the two items…I look taller when I am young, but as I get older, I become shorter and shorter.

I told Author the answer….you can ask him three questions to which he can say yes or no.

Did you solve the riddle? Great!!!!

Now, this is where you can find me…

This is something on a role
But it’s not a plane or a bike
It is found in a bathroom
And comes in single or double-ply
Currently, I am just one of many
I can be found among my many friends
We sit in darkness till we replace those chosen before us.

Come find me, and I will share a wonderful treat.

Have a very sweet day,

Marvin…Your Reindeer on the Shelf [TOC]

Dec 10: Marvin…Your Reindeer on the Shelf

Marvin the Reindeer-Christmas
Marvin the Reindeer is on the rose couch behind a pillow. When you remove the pillow you will find Marvin.

Hi Sarah,

Here at the North Pole, things are getting quite busy, and you can imagine. The deadline for completing all the toys in all departments is 6:00 pm ST (Santa Time). Usually, that is not a problem, but this year, we are running a little low on red and blue paint used to paint the trains. I just saw an order come through yesterday for your grandson Emmerson, and he wants a train. Of course, it’s up to Santa. As your Reindeer on the Shelf, I want to ensure that you and your family are well taken care of this Christmas.

One of the things that caught my eye when I was learning about you is that you like flowers. And that you have and care for four rose bushes. That sounds like fun. Here at the North Pole, we don’t see a lot of flowers in the cold weather. There is a tradition in February; I think it’s called happy-time, elfy-time, Valentines or something like that. It is a special time when elf guys and gals exchange cherry, plum and orange-flavored lollipops. It is such a sweet tradition. Where you live, I am told, guys give gals roses and chocolates. Do you eat roses? Santa says they spell pretty.

I don’t think I have ever taken the time to smell the roses. I have usually been so busy, and Santa has encouraged me to slow down and enjoy each moment. Today when I come, I will take some extra time and get in between and amongst your flowers and enjoy their beauty and smell pretty.

Here is your riddle for today:

I can be red, pink, yellow, orange or white, but I’m not a crayon
I smell nice, but I’m not perfume
I get put in water, but I’m not dirty clothing
I have a stem, but I’m not a wine glass
I get seen a lot on Valentine’s Day, but I’m not a stuffed animal
What am I?

Now come to the place where you will find bouquets and colors plenty. The morning sun shines brightly but does not help us grow. There you can find me in between them sitting.

Enjoy the smells of Christmas,

Your Reindeer on the Shelf [TOC]

Dec 11: Marvin…Your Reindeer on the Shelf

Marvin the Reindeer-Christmas
Marvin the Reindeer is in the child’s rocker.

Hi Sarah,

Last night when I returned to my Reindeer village, I had a chance to visit with Roland, the Elf in charge of the address list and presented to be dropped off at each address. At one time, Santa had to work with a totally paper system. Today, Santa has an electronic system that ultimately defines where he is to travel, who he is to see and what he is supposed to drop off. Santa has to cover the entire world in just 24 hours. This electronic system is fantastic. It is 100% effective in helping Santa not miss one house. Roland says the new system also interfaces with the naughty or nice list. Simply fascinating.

I asked Roland to check on you, and I can confirm that Santa has you on his list for delivery. You are 100,213,441 on his list. Congratulations on making the “good list” every year since 1958.

I understand you like that Forest Ham 12″ sub with lots of pickles from Subway. Good choice. but I am partial to the veggie 6″ sub. You are also very active, and you take good care of yourself. Taking good care of your health nowadays is essential. When you add exercise, Yoga and a good night’s sleep, you are well on your way to having a good day. So what are your plans for next year?

Are you going to do some hiking, swimming, kayaking and maybe some visiting the family? Anyway, I hope it is a beautiful year for you. I will be working on getting my Santa’s Reindeer Level 2 certification. That will allow me to work out with Santa’s top Reindeer on Tuesday and Thursday from 9 to 11 am. I dream of the day I might get to pull Santa’s Sleigh.

Here is your riddle for the day:

I have four legs, but I’m not a cat
I have a back, but I’m not a spine
I sometimes have arms, but I don’t have any hands
I can be sat on, but I’m not a horse
I’m a piece of furniture, but I’m not a bookcase
I am often plastic or wood
With a bit of help, I can go forward and backward
I usually stay in place unless moved
Moms sit with me to help put their children to sleep
Children have fun playing with me when reading a book
I come in all shapes and sizes

Now come to the place where you will find three. I will be sitting in the smallest, waiting to share today’s special gift.

Stay warm and cozy,

Your Reindeer on the Shelf [TOC]

Dec 12: Marvin…Your Reindeer on the Shelf

Hi Sarah,

Marvin the Reindeer-Christmas
Marvin the Reindeer is in the food pantry.

As we get closer to Christmas, it is incredible to see how the Elfs are working round the clock here at the North Pole. Every department is busily filling the last orders from all around the world. I think the hardest working Elfs right now is ensuring that each department has all the materials to make each toy. The dolly department received an order of 10,000 doll shoes. The car department received 40,000 wheels for toy cars. The training department received 12,000 lengths of track. The robot department received 10,000 AA batteries. And that is just for today’s orders. But everyone seems to know where to go and what to do.

I understand that you like to have salads for lunch and Dinner. Salads can be colorful, and I like the red and green colors, which remind me of Christmas. Last night, I took a few minutes to listen to a new video on my favorite ElfYouTube channel, Cooking with Rudolph. The video was a personal interview with Santa’s Reindeer Blitzen. The discussion was about “What do you like to eat for dinner just before pulling Santa’s sleigh?” It was fascinating. Blitzen likes to add blueberries to his salads with little white chocolate bits (which remind him of snow) topped with North Pole Ranch dressing? I am going to have to try it.

Ok, it’s time for your clue.

I’m found in a restaurant, but I’m not a menu.
I have several deserts, but I’m not a bakery.
I have lots of food, but I’m not a picnic basket.
I sometimes hold water, but I’m not an ocean.
I’m in a room in a house, but I don’t have a bed.
I’m packed with things you like, but I am not a suitcase.
I may hold a broom or a mop, or a dustpan.

Find me, and I’ll share a special gift to help you piece together and remember the Christmas season.

Stay safe and happy,

Your Reindeer on the Shelf [TOC]

Dec 13: Marvin…Your Reindeer on the Shelf

Hi Sarah,

Marvin the Reindeer-Christmas
Marvin the Reindeer is in Sarah’s office chair by the computer.

Have you ever wondered where elves go for vacation? Right after Christmas, the elves generally take the month of January and go somewhere in the world to relax and enjoy the sites. As you probably know, it’s warm and hot in Australia when it is winter and mostly snowy in the United States. Some elves like to hike; others like to surf, some like to take Caribbean cruises and others like to see new places. Most elves just like spending half their vacation doing things like chilling at the beach, park or in their living room with nothing more than a good book or magazine like ElfToday.

You might think that elves would regret having to get started the following Christmas. My best friends are elves; from experience, they love Christmas and working to make others happy with Christmas gifts and joy. But Santa insists they take time to explore new places and have fun experiences.

Recently, you had the opportunity to travel to the Outer Banks. What a fun place. Santa likes that part of North Carolina because he can pick up speed with ocean winds as he moves toward Virginia. The Reindeer like the lighthouses because they guide them over the ocean and land. I had a chance to visit the Outer Banks last January during my vacation. I fell in Love with candy stores and learning about the Wright Brothers. I didn’t know that airplanes have only been around for 100 years. Regarding the Reindeer, we have been flying since we started being Reindeer in the year????? Mmmmmmm. I don’t know when, but it has been a long time.

Now it’s time for your clue:

I have an end but no beginning.
I have keys but no locks.
I have a space but no room.
You can enter but can’t go outside.
I am at school, the home or at the office.
I never speak, but there is no word I cannot make.

Come find me; I am sitting in plain sight. Oh, and please bring some cheese; it has been a while since the mice had something to eat.

Your Reindeer on the Shelf [TOC]

Dec 14: Marvin…Your Reindeer on the Shelf

Hi Sarah,

Marvin the Reindeer-Christmas
Marvin the Reindeer is in the dryer.

As of yesterday, everyone at the North Pole knows the favorite dessert of elves, Reindeer, and Santa. It all started in November when one Elf was at DeerBucks Cocoa House and said, “I want to order Santa’s favorite dessert.”

The Elf behind the counter replied, “I don’t know what that is.”

That was the start of the “Great Desert Debate.” All the elves seem to have an opinion about what Reindeer, elves and Santa like as their favorite dessert. Here is what I hear the most. For Reindeer, I hear that they like raspberry cheesecake, lemon tarts, and chocolate cherries. I hear peppermint coco, mint cocoa and sugar cookies with sprinkles for elves. For Santa, I hear carrot sticks & ranch dip, crackers with cheese wiz, and apple fritters. What do you think?

When I look at your Naughty or Nice list to see what you like, I see you have a range of deserts you enjoy. You like almost everything from cherry pie to chocolate lava cake, and I think that is a healthy way to look at the desert. You give every desert a fair chance to share its joy.

As of yesterday, the debate has been settled. Morrie and Tyler, Santa’s research assistants, conducted an online poll last week. Are you ready? The Elf’s favorite dessert is cocoa with cinnamon sticks? Reindeer like jelly-filled donuts with cherry sprinkles. And Santa said, “I like chocolate mints, but I will enjoy whatever I am given, especially on Christmas eve.” Wow, the elves were surprised and ended the discussion. Now the elves are discussing what the favorite Christmas song is. Oh, the elves have so much to talk about.

Now it’s time for your clue:

I am hot, but I am not a desert.
I tumble, but I do not fall.
I make what you wear smell good, but I am not a flower.
I like to make things fluffy, but I am not a cloud.

Come find me; I am waiting to greet you with a story and treat.

Keep smiling,

Your Reindeer on the Shelf [TOC]

Dec 15: Marvin…Your Reindeer on the Shelf

Hi Sarah,

Marvin the Reindeer-Christmas
Marvin the Reindeer is in the dishwasher.

As Reindeer, Santa wants us to stay current in Reindeer studies. I think I already shared that I learned to fly when I was one year old, and learning to fly just beginning. Starting in February, after my vacation, my training as a reindeer starts to get more intense, and I will be taking three classes.

The first class is about Reindeer Flying, Level 3. In this class, I will learn to fly under conditions like snow, rain, and high winds. The second class is about Reindeer flying as a team. In this class, I will learn what it is like to fly with eight other Reindeer pulling Santa’s Sleigh. And the third class is Reindeer yoga.
I am looking forward to this class. Reindeer need to stay limber. My good friend Leland said he enjoyed learning the basic poses like the cobra, mountain and tree.

I understand that you have been doing Yoga. Do you like it? What is your favorite pose? I bet you are good at it. Perhaps when I take the class, I can ask you for a few pointers. Leland, my friend who already has taken Reindeer yoga, said that the following are essential for beginners in Yoga:

  • Find a good teacher
  • Respect your body’s inner wisdom
  • Breath
  • Don’t compare yourself to others
  • Have a sense of humor
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing
  • Make practice frequent
  • Modify postures for your body
  • Relax! End your yoga session with Shavasana (Resting pose)

It sounds like the glass is going to be interesting. Anyway, I hope you like it. Now it’s time for your clue:

I get filled with water, but I am not a drinking glass
I spin, but I am not a propeller
I clean things, but I am not a janitor
I am part of every mean, but I do not eat

Find me; I am waiting to say hi and share a green gift.

Keep smiling,

Your Reindeer on the Shelf [TOC]

Dec 16: Marvin…Your Reindeer on the Shelf

Hi Sarah,

Marvin the Reindeer-Christmas
Marvin the Reindeer is in the washing machine.

In downtown North Pole there is a large bell tower, and there are two digital clocks. One clock shows the current time. And one shows how many days, hours, and minutes before Christmas. As you might expect, both times are essential to the elves. As the elves plan for every Christmas, there is a plan for every month, week, and day. For example, in the first week of February, elf toy engineers present their new concepts and revisions for the following year’s toys. Santa reviews the plans and then makes decisions on which ideas will be included

Last year, one Elf proposed that the caboose on the train should be pink instead of yellow. Another elf thought that race car should have purple tires, and another suggested that hiking shoes should be green to match the forest. Santa looked at over 250 ideas. I am glad that those three ideas I just shared were not approved or modified. Santa did say that he thought it was a good idea to have some hiking shoe green.

So Sarah, what do you have planned for 2021? Are you going to take monthly trips to do some hiking, biking, and maybe a little kayaking? Are you going to visit any of your family? I understand that you have a daughter, Diana, who will graduate. Will you be attending? Whatever you do, I hope you will have fun and create some beautiful memories.

I have already started filling in my calendar. As I shared yesterday, one of my classes is learning to fly and pull Santa’s Sleigh with eight other Reindeer. We will be flying as a team to Europe, Mexico, or Japan for our final test. Once there, we will have three days to vacation, and then we will fly back. That sounds like much fun.

Now it’s time for your clue:

I have a large mouth, but I never speak.
I like to keep my friends looking clean.
When loaded, I have a cycle to follow
My loads can be heavy and light, but I am not a van.
For fun, I like to rotate and spin and come to a stop.

Come find me, and then let’s take time to talk as we share a treat.

Keep smiling,

Your Reindeer on the Shelf [TOC]

Dec 17: Marvin…Your Reindeer on the Shelf

Hi Sarah,

Marvin the Reindeer-Christmas
Marvin the Reindeer by the Nativity scene.

Here in the North Pole, since Santa started doing CrossFit, he has also been working on changing his diet. Some would say that Santa eats like a reindeer, and Reindeer like to eat lettuce, grass, fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts, and other things. We try to limit our treats like chocolate cherries, cookies, and cocoa to a couple of times a day. Of course, whatever Santa does, the elves are sure to copy.

Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause has a personal chef named Gardenia, and she just started a blog entitled “What Santa Eats.” The blog talks about what Santa eats at every meal and provides recipes. The blog has been up for over six months, and almost all the elves subscribe and get daily updates. At the North Pole, we have seven grocery stores. Whatever Gardenia writes in her blog in the morning, the grocery store managers always ensure that they have those same ingredients in stock by 4:00 pm the same day.

As soon as the Elfs get through working for the day at 5:30, they will go to the store and ask for the same ingredients that Gardenia posted in her blog. What Santa had today for breakfast, lunch, snack, and Dinner, the elves will have tomorrow.

I asked Santa if he liked eating food like the Reindeer, and he said he liked most of the food. His favorite was eating oatmeal with fruit for breakfast and mint cocoa. I tried it this morning before I left to come to your home in Waxhaw, and it was perfect and quite filling. I understand you like that for breakfast also. Perhaps we can have breakfast together during one of my visits and exchange menu secrets.

Now it’s time for your clue:

I have a baby boy, but I’m not a parent
I have animals, but I’m not a zoo
I have a star, but I’m not a solar system
I have angels, but I’m not heaven
I have shepherds but no fields
I’m displayed in December, but I’m not a Christmas tree

Come find me as I look upon this heavenly scene, and I will share a gift.

Enjoy a healthy, wonderful day.

Your Reindeer on the Shelf [TOC]

Dec 18: Marvin…Your Reindeer on the Shelf

Hi Sarah,

Marvin the Reindeer-Christmas
Marvin the Reindeer is by the Baby Jesus under the Christmas tree below the angle that sits on top of the tree.

As we near the final days before Christmas, Santa just announced some new changes and technology that has been tested and is ready to be used this year around Christmas Eve delivery.

Announcement 1: Santa will upload his exact flight plan to satellites worldwide. This means that Santa can be guided 100% by GPS. The Reindeer will be given the exact coordinates of every stop and turn along the way. The system will work under any weather condition.

Announcement 2: Santa has chosen three elves to accompany him on the Sleigh to help prepare the presents for delivery. They are Jeremy, Henry, and Josephine.

Announcement 3: Santa will be wearing a new variable temperature outfit (i.e., plants, coat, boots and hat). It will look the same as his current suit. However, when he is in warm places like Hawaii, it will keep him calm, and it will keep him warm when he is in cold places like Minnesota.

Announcement 4: Santa will be televising his takeoff and journey on life North Pole Deer- and Elf-YouTube.

Announcement 5: For the first time in North Pole history, Santa will allow Reindeer in 2021 to become like Elves and Reindeer on the Shelf. (Santa liked what I was doing so well that he wanted to give other deer the same chance I have had.)

Great news, don’t you think?

Now it’s time for your clue:

I look like a baby but do not cry.
My place is too small where I lay.
I represent the event that Stars once announced.
Above me, an Angel stands silently watching.
I have been a cherished symbol for many Schreiber Christmas’.

Come find me as I gaze upon this heavenly sight.

Take time to enjoy the season.

Your Reindeer on the Shelf [TOC]

Dec 19: Marvin…Your Reindeer on the Shelf

Hi Sarah,

Marvin the Reindeer-Christmas
Marvin the Reindeer is sitting on the bookcase.

Here at the North Pole, it is always Christmas. Trees are trimmed with beautiful decorations, windows and rooftops are adorned with lights, and the land is white with snow. Every month the elves take time to change out the decorations on trees. In February, the trees are filled with decorations that represent Valentine. In May, the decorations represent the Elf holiday for making friends. And in August, the decorations celebrate Mrs. Claus’s birthday. There is at least one special day each month.

Celebrations are always fun. It is a time to enjoy friends and family, take a break to play games, have good meals and talk about everything and nothing.

What are your favorite holidays and special occasions? What do you like to do with friends and family on those special days? Santa always says special occasions can be on designated holidays or any day just as long as you take time to be with those you like and love.

Now it’s time for your clue:

I am a home of knowledge.
In grand halls and tiny homes, I can be found.
I hold things with spines, but they are not alive.
I am home for things of many leaves,
but my many residents are not living trees.

Come find me. I will be glad to share what I am learning.

Keep the candles burning bright,

Your Reindeer on the Shelf [TOC]

Dec 20: Marvin…Your Reindeer on the Shelf

Hi Sarah,

There are five days before Christmas morning. This is such an exciting week. Yesterday, I was asking my good friend Reni what it felt like to be the son of Dasher the week of Christmas. I was expecting him to say, exciting, marvelous or something. But instead, he replied, well, Marvin, let me tell you what a typical day looks like.

6:30 am Wakeup

7:00 am Breakfast

7:30 am Dad goes to work, and we go to school

3:00 pm We come home from school and do our deer homework

5:30 pm Dad comes home from his day with Santa’s top Reindeer

6:00 pm Dinner and then we read books, watch DeerYouTube and play reindeer games

9:00 pm Go to bed

“That is it?” I asked.

“Yup, that is all there is to it,” Remi replied.

Then I asked, “What about the fame and fortune of being one of Santa’s Top 9 Reindeer?”

Remi replied, “I asked my dad about the great spotlight, and he told me that kids worldwide depend on Santa and Reindeer to come on Christmas Eve. You have to do your job the best you can, and doing a great job and making children happy is the most important job of all.”

That is the kind of Reindeer I want to be, one that Santa and the other Reindeer can depend on to help deliver goodness on Christmas Eve.

Now it’s time for your clue:

I’m green, but I’m not a leprechaun
I have lights, but I’m not a car
I have a skirt, but I’m not a girl
I have things hanging on me, but I’m not a clothes hanger
I have branches, but I’m not a bank
I have needles but no thread

Come find me, and I will share a story to read.

Share your goodness with others,

Your Reindeer on the Shelf [TOC]

Dec 21: Marvin…Your Reindeer on the Shelf

Hi Sarah,

Marvin the Reindeer-Christmas
Marvine the Reindeer is by the small Christmas Tree by rose couch.

We are down to the last few days before Stata takes off. There are so many last-minute details. For example

  • One team of elves was waxing Santa’s Sleigh. They waxed and rubbed and waxed and rubbed. Oh my, the Sleigh is shining so pretty and bright.
  • Another team of elves is double-checking each reindeer harness to ensure no stitching is coming undone and shining the silver bells.
  • And there was also a team of elves shining Santa’s boots and pressing his suit.
  • Another team is double and triple-checking the list and ensuring all the toys are listed and loaded in the correct delivery order for every good girl and boy.
  • A group of elves at control central are making sure the new GPS is working and running through scenarios of what to do if the GPS goes down and Santa has to do it the old-fashioned way with compass and paper lists.
  • A group of Reindeer is set to step in and replace one of Santa’s top 9 reindeer just in case one gets sick. I remember the first time Rudolph stepped in with his shiny red nose.

Are you all set for Christmas? Do you have any last-minute details? I know you have a fantastic treasure hunt every year, and I can’t wait to hear what you will do this year. One thing nice about Santa’s gifts is that if they are too small or not just right, you can send them back, and the elves will care and make everything perfect. Santa is excellent about making everyone as pleased as possible, and I find the best gifts to be practical.

Now it’s time for your clue:

I’m green, but I am not grass
I am as tall as a leprechaun
I have lights that sparkle like a shooting star
I have needles but don’t sew
I go around and round, but I am not a merry-go-round
I have decorations to fit my size
I can fit on a desk, table or floor

Come find me. I enjoy being with someone who is just my size, and I will share a wonderful treat for a nice warm meal.

Stay warm and cozy,

Your Reindeer on the Shelf [TOC]

Dec 22: Marvin…Your Reindeer on the Shelf

Hi Sarah,

Marvin the Reindeer-Christmas
Marvin the Reindeer is in the cupboard where the spare lanterns and flashlights are kept.

I am so excited to tell you that this year I will be able to help with the final preparations for loading Santa’s Sleigh. Yesterday as I was buying hot cocoa and some cookies for a snack, I ran into one of the elves, Tommy, that is in charge of loading the Santa’s Sleigh.

As we started talking, he mentioned that three of the elves on the loading team had become sick and that he was looking for replacements. It is tough to find elves to replace other elves on Christmas eve because everyone is already assigned to their duties.

I spoke up and said, “What about me? I would like to load Santa’s Sleigh.”

Tommy thought for a moment and said, “Well, a reindeer has never loaded Santa’s Sleigh before, but I don’t know why you couldn’t? Sure, that would be great. We would love to have you on the team. Come to Santa’s sleigh loading dock at 10:00 am on Christmas eve.”

I get to be on Santa’s Sleigh Loading Team. It is sooooooo Awesome.

I think it proves that every day is a new adventure; if you are ready, you will have chances to learn, grow, and do new things. I hope you get to these experiences in the new year.

Now it’s time for your clue:

I swing forward and backward, but I am not a swing.
I see dark and light, but I never see the moon or sun.
I carry things of all kinds, but I have no arms.
You come to me when you need an emergency light.

Come find me. And I will share a marshmallow rice crispy treat.

Share some Christmas cheer,

Your Reindeer on the Shelf [TOC]

Dec 23: Marvin…Your Reindeer on the Shelf

Hi Sarah,

Marvin the Reindeer-Christmas
Marvin the Reindeer is by Winnie the Pooh Christmas decoration.

Santa will be on his way around the world in less than a day. Here at the North Pole, we are excited for Christmas, and it caps a year of preparation for everyone.

Over the last 20 days, I have had so much fun coming to your home and sharing just a little Christmas spirit. I tried hard to tell you about what it is like to live at the North Pole, share some gifts and try to make your search for me challenging. You found me, and it was a joy to see your smiling face. I always enjoyed your hugs and kisses each time we met. Thank you for making this Christmas time very special.

The next time I see you will be on Christmas morning. I am glad we get to meet one more time. Oh, and we will have so much fun. As soon as Santa comes to your home, I will quietly take my place among the stars to welcome you to a very special morning. Remember, it’s the little things that make a difference.

Now it’s time for your clue:

I am yellow, but I am not a crayon.
I like honey, but I am not a bee.
My friends are Tigger, Christopher, and Piglet

Come find me. And I will share a good read for Christmas eve.

Be like a bee and buzz, buzz, buzz.

Your Reindeer on the Shelf [TOC]

Dec 25: Christmas Treasure Hunt

Note: For Christmas morning I want to include Marvin the Reindeer and Sants to carry the theme through to the Treasure Hunt. Also see the article: How to Create A Christmas Treasure Hunt that Brings Family Joy

I wanted to create a Christmas Treasure Hunt for my wife around theme of stars. As she came out of the bedroom, she saw a row of stars that led down the first flight of stairs. As she began the second flight of stairs, she was greeted with a dimly light room filled with stars. Next to the baby Jesus and brightly lit star in the middle of the floor were her instructions from Santa and Marvin the Reindeer.

As customary for our family Christmas Treasure Hunt, Santa will leave a letter for our family to open. On this Christmas morning, there were two letters.

Open 1: Follow the Star

Dear Sarah,

On that particular Christmas morning, two millennia since the Christ child came to Mary & Joseph in Bethlehem, you too can follow the star like the shepherds and wise men of old.

As you step outside your bedroom door, look for the stars that will guide you to the star-filled room where one star shines so bright. There you will find a babe placed in his cradle.

Do the following:

Take time to reconstruct the manger scene and read the story that tells of the birth of Christ (Luke 2: 1-20).
Open and read the card addressed to Sarah.

When ready, open the email that reads Open 2: So Many Stars from the Heavens Above.

Merry Christmas,

Santa & Marvin the Reindeer

Open 2: So Many Stars from the Heavens Above

Good morning my Love.

This morning we celebrate the starry night of the first Christmas. Look around the room and imagine the stars that filled the heavens. Each star represents a blessing, and together they represent the Love we share.

Before you find 5 baskets filled with stars. Start with basket 1 and work your way to basket 5.

Take time to explore each basket to find stars and things that celebrate us and our pursuit of health, happiness, and memories yet to come. Take your time. This is your special day.

Star Basket 1: Star Favorites and More
There is always time and room for your favorites. Enjoy them while you work, watch TV, play games, read books or the outdoors.

Star Basket 2: Star Baker and Chef
A star baker creates great cakes, bread, and desserts for all occasions. A star chef shines at every meal with yummy dishes prepared just right. Take time to explore your options to be the star baker and star chef of your domain.

Star Basket 3: Star Fix-ins and Things
Carefully look within to explore the contents and image all the ways to combine and enjoy throughout the coming weeks. Look carefully to find all the different ways where stars are represented.

Star Basket 4: When Stars Meet the Forest
Imagine your hair blowing in the wind, the cool mist against your face or the sights of a beautiful valley from the mountain top. Adventures in the great outdoors begin with a step, a paddle or peddle. Carefully discover the contents that can make these moments just a little more enjoyable.

Star Basket 5: Start of Us Began Beneath these Stars
Explore the stars in all their varieties. Take time to learn of the heavens. Be careful not to miss the stars that shine bright with the Start of Us. And be sure to touch and make a wish upon a real shooting star placed in a chest.

Merry Christmas,

Santa & Marvin the Reindeer [TOC]