Magnifying the Magic
Local Mom Pens Elf Book to Help Families Make the Holiday Season More Fun
There’s something magical about the holiday season—the music, decorations, food, and festivities. One local mother, however, found a way to magnify the magic through a little elf named Impish.
“My firm belief is that the most exciting thing about parenting is keeping magic alive in childhood,” says Westfield resident Amanda McIlwain Hauser. “Recreating those special moments for your kids where you can just see the elation and wonder in their eyes—those are the most exciting moments for a parent.”
Fifteen years ago, Hauser and her husband, Joshua, introduced a mischievous elf into their family who wrapped and distributed gifts for Santa, placing them beneath the tree with no names of the recipients. When the children awake in the morning, they run down to the tree and see all the goodies that were left but have no idea what gift belongs to whom.
“The only way to figure that out is to go to their stockings and look for the clues that Impish the Elf has left for them,” Hauser says. Each year as the family has grown, so, too, has the tradition. “It’s become more elaborate every year.”
Not only are there clues but that clue centers around a theme of some sort, which changes annually. The whole experience creates a huge sense of anticipation and excitement.
“My little ones started saying in October, ‘I wonder what Impish’s theme will be this year! What clues will she leave us?’” Hauser says.
Last year’s theme was “world travel,” so when Hauser’s children looked in their stockings, they found miniature suitcases with fake passports in them. Inside the passports were various countries stamped, which correlated to countries stamped on gifts underneath the tree. The year before the theme was Candyland and the kids had to match candies in their stockings to those taped on presents.
Through the years, Hauser has shared this fun tradition with family and friends, all of who inevitably ask, “When are you going to write about this?”
This year, she finally did and in August the book Impish: the Christmas Elf was released. Eager to share Impish with the world, Hauser says this is the first in a series. She plans to release a new book every August.
“I have a backlog of different adventures Impish can have because I’ve been doing this for 15 years already!” says Hauser, who notes that since this is the first book in the series, she’s learning all about the process of publication, marketing, and distribution. Her author website includes a blog that gives parents hints on how to do this in their own home.
“I share the tricks of the trade—the places I go to get the stuff and all the little quirky things I’ve been working on for years, honing the craft,” Hauser says, whose ultimate goal is to sell all-inclusive kits that will enable parents to replicate the experience for their child without having to go to all the hassle of running around to various stores. She recognizes that there are working caregivers who are eager to create magic for their children but simply don’t have the time or energy to do so.
“It’s a ton of work. I start in August, getting all the pieces together and ordering everything I need, but not everyone has that luxury or that creative fiber,” Hauser says. “If I can make this a user-friendly idea that parents can embrace, I want to share the magic with everybody!”
Hauser maintains that Christmas has been the single biggest event in her house for as long as she can remember.
“My trees are always up by Veterans Day,” she says with a chuckle, adding, “We embrace the reason for the season and love that experience as Christians, but it’s been so much fun creating the magic and all it entails as we focus on spending time together as a family.”
A former professional educator, Hauser worked for 14 years as an elementary school teacher, most recently in the Westfield School Corporation. In 2012, she became a stay-at-home mom.
“I wish I could still be in the classroom, but in this season of my life, I’m unable to balance the eight kids and the profession,” Hauser says, who is potty training one while helping another get through college. Koby (20) is a cadet in the Air Force Academy and plays football there, Brenna (19) is a gymnast at Central Michigan University, Micah (16) is a sophomore and football player at Westfield High School, Lucy (14) is an eighth-grader/diver/pole vaulter at Westfield Middle School, Tatum (9) is a soccer-playing third-grader at Maple Glen Elementary, Chatham (7) is a first-grader at Maple Glen, and Eedyth (4) & Remi (2) are home with Hauser.
Now that Hauser has written this book, she has the confidence to circle back to some other Christmas-themed stories she’s written for fun in the past.
“They always say to write what you know best, and my purpose in life is to do magical creative things for children,” Hauser says. “That’s where my passion lies.”
For more information about Hauser and her book, visit impishtheelf.com/