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The Magic Elf - Christmas time, time for the little magic elf to pop out of his box


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The Magical Elf
tp.gif    There’s a Christmas tradition in our family involving a little 
magical elf.  This elf lives in a box all year until December 1st.  
Then he magically comes to life.  At night he gets into all kinds 
of mischief, and just before the little ones get up in the morning, 
he freezes motionless, wherever or whatever he was doing at 
that very moment.  He’s been known to spill flour on the kitchen 
counters and make snow angels, sometimes he can be found 
sitting on the toothpaste tube, one night he even wrapped the 
big screen TV like a huge present with a large bow on top!  He 
could be anywhere, you just never know what he’ll be into next, 
and he seems to stay busy getting into things all night long. 
     But, even when he is motionless he’s actually working… watching and 
listening to all the children in the house.  His job is to report 
back to the north pole so Santa can be sure to have every little boy 
and girl is on the right list.  You know, that “Naughty or Nice list” 
you've heard about.  Yep, now you know, Santa has his own spies, and that little elf 
doesn’t miss a thing. 
tp.gif    My oldest daughter Katie, is continuing the tradition with her own magical elf with her kids. Let me introduce you to my three adorable granddaughters; Kelsie is 12, she’s the nonbeliever.  She doesn’t think Santa is real at all… that’s kid stuff… she’s all grown up, you know.  Kaitlyn is 9, she’s the talker… even if she’s a part of whatever trouble has been brewing up, she can't help but to spill the beans sooner or later.  She’s still a big fan of the guy in the big red suit. Now, ask her if he brings presents she'll tell you, "Only one, but the rest are from mom and dad." Then there's little Audrey, she’s 6. Now Audrey…well, she and Santa go way back. (Too cute for words the way she tells her stories about Santa.) She’s all about decorating the tree, and making sure the milk and cookies are set out in perfect arrangement for Santa on his big day, and of course writing letters to the big guy as often as possible.  With these little munchkins, you can count on one thing for sure, there’s always something about to unfold at the house, especially around the holidays. 
tp.gif        This story is a special one, this is about the first year for Katie's magical elf.  As the grand-kids will later tell me, "Pappa, he came in his own little elf box, all decorated like a little house and everything!" There are even holes on the sides for him to breathe, cause ya know, ya gotta keep him comfortable and all.  The house rules about the magic elf are simple.  No one is allowed near the box, no touching, no looking, no poking, and most certainly no encouraging your sister into breaking the rules. (Gotta have that rule)  So on the shelf this little house sat… waiting for the right time to make his entrance.  All the kids understood the rules, and they all knew the story of the magical elf. The big fear of course wasn't mom, it was that little elf, and what he would say to Santa.  Well, except of course for the nonbeliever.
tp.gif    It was December 1st, and Katie was so busy preoccupied with putting up decorations she had completely forgotten about the little elf.  She had to get him out of the box and into his mischief as soon as possible. Time for a plan, a plan that would distract those little all seeing, all knowing, and all hearing little ones long enough for her to accomplish her mission. She had an idea that just might work.  Get the younger two interested in decorating cookies while nonbeliever was upstairs in her room. Then, she could pop the little guy out of his box and put him somewhere for the girls to discover later. 
     The smell of fresh baked cookies filled the house as the two younger ones raced to the kitchen to help with the decorating.  The elf "de-boxing" was well on its way.  Katie crept out of the kitchen unnoticed while the two were busy adding sprinkles to everything and anything that was on or near the cookies.  A quick peak up the stairs to make sure the non-believer was out of sight, OK good there.  Time for the little elf to get out of his resting place.  
tp.gif    As she carefully opened the box she could hear tiny footsteps coming down the hallway.  The rush was on, Mom can’t be caught with the box opened, there was no turning back now.  Oh no.... what’s this???? The new little elf is wire tied into his little house!!!  Quick, quick, untie him and get him out of there!  The footsteps grew closer as the last wire tie came loose, then with a quick fling the elf went sailing through the air and landed in the branches of the Christmas tree.  His head was buried amongst all the lights and ornaments with only his butt and legs exposed… undignified yes, but no harm, no foul… the game was on. 
     Just as the tattle-teller (Kaitlyn) rounded the corner Katie put her mom face on. You know, that typical motherly look we all know from being on the other end of the situation. Then, using her best “mom” voice she tilted the elf's little box down to show her the empty box and said, “Kaitlyn have you been in this box? Where is the elf?” (Now that's some mom quick thinking)  Kaitlyn was completely surprised, “No Mommy, I know I'm not supposed to touch it.  It wasn’t me… honest…ah, ah, it was… ah, Audrey.”  Of course by now, that mom voice brought the youngest one running into the room carrying a half-eaten cookie while leaving a long trail of sprinkles behind her. “Where’s the elf mommy?” she asked.  Katie with that stern look still on her face said to her, “Did you open the box?”  Audrey, now almost in tears thinking the little elf must have ran away, “No Mommy, where did he go?”  
tp.gif        Katie wasn’t about to let up on the Mommy thing just yet, but decided to soften the blow of their now missing elf and assure them it was perfectly alright.  She said, “Well, it is December 1st, he's probably somewhere in the house.”  About then the nonbeliever came down from her bedroom, “What’s going on?”  Kaitlyn quickly told everything (as usual), “He got out, he’s in the house, and we’ve got to go find him!  Come on, let’s go!”  Now Kelsie, who didn’t seem so interested, is now very interested.  But, she was going to logically explain the whole thing, even though she didn't believe in all of this "magic elf" stuff she knew mom had know idea either.  You know, since mom and Kelsie are both older and more more mature, mom couldn't hide anything from her.  With firm conviction, Kelsie said to them, “There’s no way he could have gotten out.  He was strapped in there!” (That little sneak peeker!!) Clearly she had more interest in that little elf than she let on.  
tp.gif        Kelsie, being the oldest, took charge of the situation and told the other two, “You look over there, you go over there, and I’ll look over here.” Off went the three of them, running through the house in search of one small magical elf, while mom stood by the tree still clutching the empty box.  They eventually found him and screamed with joy like the little girls they are.  As for Kelsie, well, the non believer, she knew mom is really Santa after all, (the hand writing on the present tags and the way the packages are wrapped are exactly like her birthday presents and Santa doesn't bring birthday presents… sorry mom, she’s figured it out.). But, anything to do with that magic elf, just ask her, "Oh he’s real grandpa… he’s very real."  
tp.gif        There’s no doubt in my mind the magic of the season is for the kid in all of us, and sometimes all it takes is a little mischievous elf to bring out. 
Wishing you and your family (and your little magical elves) a Very Merry Christmas. tp.gif

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      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
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