‘Elf in the suitcase’ goes to Sacramento

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Sydney built this awesome gingerbread house and made sure a photo was taken so I wouldn’t miss out on it. Ahhh!

My 7-year-old daughter called me from home in Utah on Friday afternoon. Sydney was curious what I was up to (headed to hotel and work), wondered if there’s snow in Denver (mostly melted) and had an important question to ask.

“How is Elfie?”

I recently received a letter from Santa Claus, informing me that Elfie Shelfie was going to accompany me while I’m away from my family on business leading up to Christmas. Santa thought it’d be a fun way for me to keep connected with the kids back home as I travel around America during the yuletide season.

My first trip with the Utah Jazz on this “Elf in a suitcase” adventure happened in Portland last week. I came home for a couple of days and then headed back out on the road to Sacramento and Colorado. I’ll be in Salt Lake City for about 14 hours on Saturday, before taking a red-eye flight to Miami via Atlanta and then meandering from South Beach to Orlando, Atlanta, Charlotte and Memphis. I’ll be home for Christmas if my Dec. 24 flight from Elvis’ hometown isn’t delayed.

Happy trails — and holidays!

I know my kids are excited to see the latest batch of photos from Elfie’s adventures, but I had a quick thought before we get to the main event.

My older brother, Tommy, and his family live in a town outside of Sacramento called Folsom. Yes, the same Folsom with the prison Johnny Cash sang about. The Jazz played the Kings on Wednesday, so I arrived in town on Tuesday night. I ended up going to the California Genessys’ house for dinner. We had a blast.

Elfie came along, and I spent part of the night taking photos of her at their house.

When I got back to the hotel after our fun visit, I groaned to myself. I was so occupied looking around their festively decorated house for photo ops with Christmas stuff that I overlooked multiple opportunities to get a picture of the elf with the most important thing in Sacramento: my family.

It struck me as a small metaphor of how we sometimes treat Christmastime. We can get so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle, searching for the right things to buy our family members or focusing on what we want from Santa, that it’s easy to forget that the best part of the holidays is spending time with our loved ones.

Anyway, my brother has a beautiful family. You’ll have to trust me on this one. I just wish I’d had Elfie pose with them so my kids could’ve enjoyed what could’ve been a fun photo.

OK, here are some more “Elf in a suitcase” adventures that I did capture:

IMG_4207Elfie reminded me that I forgot to include one of her favorite photos from Portland. She said she’d never seen an elf this big since Will Ferrell.


IMG_4260Elfie thought it was fun that Jazz player Enes Kanter bought more than 200 stuffed animals and toys to donate to needy kids this Christmas.


IMG_4272Elfie when asked about her “Elf in a suitcase” trip at a press conference: “I’m just taking it one day at a time and am giving it 110 percent!”


IMG_4273I couldn’t resist photo-bombing Elfie before ending the interview due to cliche overload. (And, hey, look who still has his awesome gas-station sunglasses from that epic Boise adventure!)


IMG_4275Jazz player Derrick Favors wasn’t quite sure what to think of Elfie when he came out to the podium for his interview. After the elf was removed by Jazz PR, Favors smiled and said, “It could have stayed.” He then talked about taking it one game at a time and giving 110 percent.


IMG_4282I lived on the small mountain in the middle. No barf bags were needed on this flight. Elfie slept the whole time.


IMG_4283Dear Santa, Elfie’s hanging in there! (She accidentally got stuck on a Christmas gift for my niece.)


IMG_4293Elfie said she has a brilliant idea for Christmas 2014: “Santa on a shelf!”


IMG_4322Elfie doesn’t have a press pass, so she had to get creative in order to make it into the Jazz’s game at Sacramento.


IMG_4306Elfie thinks Santa should consider wearing a purple cap.



Man vs. Mannequin: Yes, the gift shop employee thought we were a bit weird, but Elfie was digging the hot pink hoodie. (Hint hint, Santa.)


And, finally, Sacramento has been called a cowtown, which is really unfair. I mean, do you see any cows in this photo of the city!?



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