Bag Lady and Shopping Siren are both pre-Elf on the Shelf people.

Growing up, BL had a knit gray mouse ornament on the family tree that, come Christmas morning, always has fresh cheese stuck in his whiskers — suggesting that he’d raided the fridge overnight. (And she believed it for … too long.)

Shopping Siren had no elf and no cheesy mouse, but she had Santa-eaten cookies, Santa-filled stockings and Santa-left gifts every Christmas morning until she was, like, 13. Or 15. Possibly 23.

But now. Now there are Chip and Andrew Scoggin, public elves.

Chip lives at Wallingford’s Fruit House in Auburn and Andrew Scoggin resides at the Durham Get & Go. Customers who find Chip lurking among the fudge, garland and everything sugar- or apple-scented score a free doughnut. Customers who find Andrew concealed among the Get & Go batteries, wine and snacks get a free slice of pizza.

It’s retail, it’s hide-and-go-seek, it’s free deliciousness. All things we can get behind.

So this week we shop! And elf hunt! Ah, the holidays.

• Playmobil NHL Advent Calendar — Road to the Stanley Cup, Wallingford’s, $25.99

The cute set comes with several little players, hockey sticks, pucks, a medic’s bag, photographer and Stanley Cup. It’s unclear what makes it an advent calendar — it looks like a traditional set, except maybe you’re only supposed to play with one or two new tiny pieces a day?

What is clear is that on the Playmobil website it’s currently $2 more and sold out. Goal!

• Dakota Dan trapper hats for the family, Durham Get & Go, $12.99

With fuzzy faux-fur lining in colors like hunter orange, pink camo and traditional camo. You’ll stay warm and look adorable in your snowman-building/cross-country skiing/ice-fishing selfies.

• Ice cleats, Durham Get & Go, $9.49

Nothing says love like, “I don’t want you to break your back on the ice while you’re cleaning off my car.” 

• Patriots knit hat, Durham Get & Go, $9.99

Red, white and blue winter hat with the Pats’ logo along the edge and a puff ball on top. Pretty unisex, so any guy or girl football fan would love it. Any girl or guy Patriots football fan. Don’t get it for that New York lover in your life. You know who that is.

• Gummy lobsters, Durham Get & Go, $2.99

Like gummy worms, only classy.

• Kinney’s Sugarhouse pure maple sugar, 10 oz., Wallingford’s, $9.99

Bag Lady has, of course, heard of brown sugar and maple syrup, but never maple sugar. It was like a lightning-flash epiphany! Or maybe that was just a flickering light. Use this goodness in traditional recipes as a white sugar replacement, but use half as much, according to Kinney’s website.

Feeling bold? Try the smaller bottle of chili pepper maple sugar blend. Then tell us how it went.

• Better Than Average brand Moxie Jelly, 9 oz., Wallingford’s, $6.99

Made from Moxie soda, intended for “toast, pork or chicken,” according to the label, and according to one Amazon review, “very tasty, though most likely an ‘acquired taste,’ even for Moxie fans … “

The same size jar is selling for $14.99 on Amazon. Goal! But for jelly!

• Plastic soldiers, 30-count, Wallingford’s, $4.99

Green plastic army men just like you played with when you were a kid! Or just like the ones you saw in the “Toy Story” movies! Whichever is more nostalgic for you.

• Wallingford’s T-shirts, Wallingford’s $12.99

Various colors, various sizes, various funny sayings on the front. Shopping Siren was partial to the red shirt that said, simply, “Wallingford’s,” but she’s also a lover of plain doughnuts. So.  

Best find: We found Chip at Wallingford’s Fruit House! Sadly, in the interest of not blowing our cover, we didn’t tell anyone. So no doughnuts for us. But there are plenty for you. Go. Seek. Find. The elf exists! (And he may or may not be on a shelf.)

Think twice: About expecting that free slice to come easy at the Durham Get & Go. We looked high and low (for whole minutes!) and couldn’t find Andrew Scoggin anywhere. He’s well hidden. But in elf hunting, as in life, belief goes a long way. He’s surely out there.

Bag Lady and Shopping Siren’s true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who also enjoy sneaking cheese at night) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].

The NHL Advent Calendar — Road to the Stanley Cup set from Playmobil. (Online photo)

filed under: