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Friday, Dec.1, 2006 | Before I got married, I didn’t think about Christmas until Dec. 15.

Now, because I have a 3-year-old girl, it’s been on my brain since Nov.

1 (when Alex started singing “Jingle Bells” and “Holly Jolly Christmas” non-stop).

Now, I have the Christmas spirit with 25 days to spare. I plan to spend the next 3-and-a-half weeks watching Christmas specials with Alex and Owen; eating lots of Christmas cookies; and downloading holiday tunes off the internet.

But none of these proposed holiday mood setters will match the experience – or the look on my daughter’s face – that occurred when a pair of elves delivered our Christmas tree on Sunday.

It’s part of a new business, AdoptAChristmasTree.com, which sells locally-grown live trees and has them delivered by 6-foot-tall elves with theatrical backgrounds.

For between $59 and $129, the elves show up at your doorstep with a tree and sing a song about the care and feeding to the tune of “Here Comes Santa Claus.”

Then they make customers sign vows to protect the tree and either plant it or donate it after Christmas. For instance, we’re going to donate our tree to reforest part of an area called the “Enchanted Forest,” that was burned during the Cedar Fire three years ago.

The business is the brainchild of Michael McClure, who came up with the idea after noticing the environmental harm caused by cutting down live Christmas trees and taking them thousands of miles for sale.

In fact, McClure – who also goes by the name “Papa Elf” – says he’s been so bothered by the wasted trees that he’s been known to leave the country during Christmas so he doesn’t have to see it.

Now, instead of leaving San Diego, he’s branching out by selling live trees delivered by live elves as the environmentally friendly alternative.

Although McClure’s motives are well-intentioned, mine aren’t.

For all the talk about the environment, I mainly wanted to show my daughter that her Dad is so well-connected, he can bring elves to the house.

So this past Sunday, I set it up to have “Papa Elf” and his sidekick, “Sunshine,” come to the house and drop off a tree.

We didn’t tell Alex because we wanted to see the look on her face.

I hooked up with the elves beforehand and had them park far away from our condo. This was so Alex wouldn’t see a pick-up truck instead of a sleigh and become disillusioned with the holiday. Not that that will ever happen.

“Papa Elf” and his elf assistant, “Sunshine,” showed up in green tunics and red tights, hairy legs, and hats with pointed ears. We had Alex answer the door and, for once in her young life, she was speechless.

“Is there an Alexandra Moye here?” said Papa Elf.

Silence.

“Are you Alexandra Moye?”

“Uh…yeah.”

“Oh, well, we have a present for you from Santa Claus, a live Christmas tree.”

Alex opened the door and the elves wheeled in the tree, and set it down in the living room.

They did their spiel, which included a choreographed routine that included taking Alex around the tree ring-around-the-rosy-style.

The elves also sang a song about watering the tree and decorating it and made her solemnly vow to take care of it.

Hugging the tree wasn’t mentioned but I imagine that goes without saying.

Also, the elves suggested Alex give the tree a name. This is usually where Alex shines. She comes up with cool names like “Kunk Kunk” for her stuffed animals.

“So what are you going to name the tree, Alex?”

“Tree.”

“Tree?”

“Tree E.”

“Oh, okay,” we all said.

I could tell Alex was excited. I didn’t get to see her first impression of the elves but the look on the back of her head was priceless.

And when we were taking photos, her eyes kept jetting right and left trying to take in all the elfness surrounding her.

So was I.

I used to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle at kiddie parties so I appreciated the efforts the elves went through to make a connection with my daughter, even asking her what toys she wanted for Christmas.

Alex told Papa Elf she wanted a Little Mermaid doll and he looked our way to make sure it was okay to tell Santa Claus. We nodded yes and he breathed a sigh of relief.

I imagine it would be hard if he promised her, say, a gallon of plutonium.

The elves left after giving hugs to the kids and Alex was excited about the tree. However, she was confused why our house was the only one in the condo being visited by elves.

I tried to explain it away by saying, “You’re special” but I don’t think that swayed her. Later that day, she kept asking, “Why did elves come to our house?”

I was watching the Chargers game so I replied without thinking, “Because LaDainian Tomlinson was busy.”

“Who?”

Never mind.

McClure’s elf tree delivery business is the first of its kind and, if he can find enough elves, he wants to franchise it to other cities.

I have a feeling it will be a success just based on the reaction of the pictures we sent out to our friends and family. The typical response? “We just stopped laughing. Do you have their phone number?”

For more information on elf tree delivery, call Papa Elf at (858) 272-2007 or check out www.adoptachristmastree.com/specialdelivery.htm.

David Moye is a La Mesa-based writer who gets all of his theological knowledge from puppet-animated Christmas specials. He can be reached at moyemail@cox.net. Or, send a letter to the editor.send a letter to the editor.

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