December 18, 2020
By Jennifer Miko
Parents seem to be split between dreading the “Elf on the Shelf” process and embracing the magic intended by the red-suited doll’s nightly visits. At the Lane family home in Katy, their elf comes with lots of surprises - props, elaborate storylines, elfin family members, and much more!
Nine years ago, the “Elf on the Shelf” visited the Lane family for the first time. Morgan Lane was 8 and named the elf “Nigel.” Her brother Julian was 5.
“At first it was all about moving him around, but the perpetual side-eye he had helped to reveal that he was a naughty elf,” says Katy mom, Nicole Lane.
Unbeknownst to Nigel, the little doll was just starting a journey of soap opera proportions. For years, Nicole’s social media followers have been entertained by her wildly creative plotlines and elaborate sets.
Setting the Stage
“I usually think about a storyline a year ahead of time,” says Nicole. “Throughout the year, I will see items at craft stores and think, ‘Oh, this could work into a storyline.’"
The Lanes’ attic is overflowing with props and set-ups from years past. Nicole admits preparing the scenes is her favorite part of the daily elfin visits because it’s a special time for her and her husband Stan to bond.
“I have the ideas and he figures out how to make it happen,” says Nicole. “We start around 10 p.m. and don’t finish until midnight. It takes time to break down the set-up from the night before, but we have fun together.”
2020, "The Chronicles of Nigel and Pep: Day 1 Post Quarantine"
Cast of Characters Keeps Growing
Nicole describes Nigel as shady, naughty, and slightly vengeful, while his wife Peppermint (Pep) is noble and kind. Yes, the elves are married, and they have a sweet, yet typical teenage daughter Holly.
Additional characters include Nick, Holly’s boyfriend, Noel and Cinnamon, and Pep’s crazy old Uncle Rufus.
The "Chronicles of Nigel and Pep" feature daily notes from the elves that move the yearly-themed stories along. The messages provide a dialogue between characters and often build suspense. Over the years, the elves have found themselves engaged in scenes from "The Walking Dead" to tackling real-life situations like COVID-19 quarantine.
Scroll to see more elfin adventures.
Nicole admits each year has had memorable designs. Some of the bigger, more intricate configurations, were featured on the sets of the camping trip (pictured) and zombie forest.
When the Lanes traveled out of town for Christmas, the elves went on two cruises and a couple of road trips with them. The Lane elves could possibly be the first to have passports, because, Nicole explains, “They are family.”
The Lane family: Nicole, Stan, Morgan, and Julian
Now that Morgan,17, and Julian, 14, have grown up, have mom and dad admitted to orchestrating the tales of Nigel and his friends?
“We have admitted nothing. LOL,” says Nicole.