Man vs. Travel: My ‘Elf in the … suitcase’ Christmas adventure begins

My 7-year-old daughter rushed into my home office Sunday morning with one of those fun, contagious smiles kids get when they’re excited.

Sydney giggled and asked a question. “Why is there an elf on your front seat!?”

This wasn’t just any old elf on a seat. Unfortunately for my wife, it wasn’t one of the pretty-boy elves like Legolas from “Lord of the Rings,” either.

It was Elfie, as Sydney calls her. The same elf who was assigned by Santa to sit on our shelf last Christmas season to make sure the Genessy kids were being nicer than naughty. (Here’s hoping she got paid well.)

But why was Elfie on the front seat of daddy’s car?

This email explains it:


To: Jody Genessy, Utah

From: Kris Kringle, North Pole

Sent: Dec. 4, 2013  12:25 p.m.

Dear Jody,

It’s come to my attention that you’ll be as busy working during the weeks leading up to Christmas as the elves in my North Pole workshop.

What was the NBA thinking when it scheduled the Utah Jazz, the team you write about for the Deseret News, to be away from home for all but two days between Dec. 5-24!? Is NBA commissioner David Stern trying to be the Grinch who stole the Genessy kids’ dad for Christmas?

At least the Jazz aren’t good enough to be scheduled on Christmas Day. Glad you’ll be home for, well, you know how the song goes. Honestly, I’d feel even worse if you weren’t going to Miami next week. (Don’t tell Mrs. Claus, but I usually spend a lot more time in South Beach than South Dakota on my annual sleigh ride.)

Elfie really liked your family last year, so we decided to give her a new assignment this holiday season. YOU! I’ve asked her to tag along and watch over my favorite NBA beat writer, especially in the Sunshine State! I hope this helps keep you in the Christmas spirit while you’re away from your family and with the Jazz in Portland, Sacramento, Denver, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Charlotte and Memphis, not to mention three home games in that crazy stretch.

In between reading children’s letters and making sure Rudolph isn’t cheating in reindeer games, I’ll be checking your blog for frequent updates on your adventures across America with Elfie Shelfie. I’m sure Ethan, Sydney, Aidan, Baby Jack and your wife, Heather, will be excited to see photos and have some holiday fun with you even while you’re on the other side of the country. No ‘Bah, humbug!’ attitude, all right?

Merry Christmas, safe travels, and keep Elfie away from egg nog, please!


Santa Claus, Director of North Pole global gift production/distribution

P.S. Elfie loves the cold. Don’t be surprised if you find her sitting in snow or on the front seat of your car in the garage. The chill reminds her of home.

P.S.S. Can you drop a hint to Jazz point guard John Lucas III about setting out pumpkin cheesecake for my Christmas Eve treat at his house? I wouldn’t be upset if you picked up a BBQ rib for me before you fly out of Memphis on Dec. 24, either.

P.S.S.S. Utah Jazz management asked me for a lot of losses, hundreds of ping-pong balls and some Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins jerseys. Are they pranking me?


I hadn’t told my kids about Santa’s letter to me before Sydney discovered Elfie chilling out in my car. But my daughter was relieved to hear that the elf did not lose her special powers after she “accidentally touched it.”

“It can still fly,” Aidan informed her.

Fortunately, he did not show his sister how the elf could soar with a 4-year-old’s help.

Little did my children know, but Elfie already flew with me on one trip during this crazy month. Here are some photos of our first “Elf in the … suitcase” trip to Portland we took for them, Santa and, yes, you:

IMG_4174In all of her years of service, Elfie had never met a basketball coach. That finally happened when Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin saw her hanging out with me before our media interview on Thursday, Dec. 5. The coach gladly offered to take a picture with the elf, knowing that the snapshot might make some kids happy.

IMG_4172Elfie didn’t stop smiling at practice. You might say she had a ball.

IMG_4176This was the view Elfie and I had of the sun shining off of the Great Salt Lake en route from Utah to Portland later that day.

IMG_4206I quickly found out why Santa Claus doesn’t take elves with him on his sleigh on Christmas Eve.

IMG_4211Elfie didn’t have a press pass, but I snuck her into the pressroom for the Jazz game against the Trail Blazers at the Moda Center on Friday, Dec. 6.

IMG_4217Elfie said she needed a cold drink after watching the Jazz lose to the Blazers, 130-98. I might need to talk to Santa about this — unless it really was apple juice, like she told me it was.

IMG_4226Great view of Rip City from our hotel window.


Elfie said she couldn’t leave Oregon without hugging a tree. As the saying goes, when in the Northwest …

IMG_4244Back in Utah for a couple of days, this elf welcomed Saturday night’s snowstorm in Salt Lake City. She prefers sitting on snowflakes over shelves any day.

Until next time!


  1. shannon says

    So fun! Your family is so lucky to have you. Thanks for being a good sport (no pun intended) and thanks for sharing with us!

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