What has happened to toy trains, silly rabbit-ear body pajamas, and candy canes? It seems these days that black boxes of various sizes have taken over. Video games video games video games. These are great gifts, but do they really capture the Christmas spirit which has warmed our hearts for eons? Even if it’s sitting atop that carefully-wrapped box that undoubtedly has some sort of game system inside, something as sweet and innocent as a plush elf toy can add that special touch that keeps with the special day. Young children will love them as huggable soft friends, and as they grow up, your plush elf toy can be used as an addition to your holiday decorations. A plush elf toy can be held onto for years as a memento of your child’s young years, and adorn your mantle, window, or anywhere he looks good in your home. One company called the Elf Workshoppe (www.elfworkshoppe.com) produces beautiful dolls and accessories for the children to play with, seating their elf in a rocking chair, or sleeping in his little bed. I bought one for my niece and she was so ecstatic that for a while of showing off her elf, she seemed to forget that she still had gifts to open! My wife immediately wanted to put it on the shelf in our kitchen with his rocking chair and sleigh. As they say, “Happy wife, happy life”. So I bought a second elf doll for her kitchen, and also bought one for our front door. Our door elf has a small chalkboard to write your own Christmas welcome to your visitors. She loves it, and writes a new message on his chalkboard every day! When a child watches the classic holiday specials we all remember from our own youth, he or she sees those elves building toys in Santa’s workshop for all the good boys and girls. They start asking questions about the elves. Where do they live? Are they little like me? The gift of a plush elf toy will cast a glow onto the faces of the children whose dreams are filled with sugarplums, elves, and…well, game systems too. But a plush elf toy on top of a wrapped gift will guarantee an extra-wide smile.