Elfin’ Around the Christmas Tree: The Piernicky’s Unique Way to Christmas Shop

By J1 Reporter Mary Watson

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This feature article was written before Mrs. Mary Piernicky passed away on Dec. 6, 2017. The entire journalism team offers their condolences and knows that “Mrs. Claus” will always be treasured by her family and the Marian community.  Special thanks to Ms. Megan Piernicky for sharing this story.

When the Christmas season arrives, every store is busy with all kinds of Christmas shoppers: the prepared, who bring lists, coupons, and a detailed schedule; the wanderers, who look down every aisle but can never seem to make a decision; and the unprepared, who manage to get away with Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve despite the lengthy lines. Marian’s English teacher Ms. Megan Piernicky would like to introduce a new kind of shopper to the list: the elf.

“My dad, a couple of years ago, decided that we were elves, so he named my mom Mrs. Claus. He was Elf One, you know, because he was the grown-up, and I was Elf Two,” Piernicky said. Cousin Erin was elf-in-training. Since her father’s retirement, however, the titles have changed a bit. “My dad officially retired from being an elf, so he’s now Elf Emeritus. I am Elf One, and my cousin Erin is Elf Two.”

“My mom is the master organizer,” said Piernicky. “She will make a detailed list of ideas for each person in the family. She’s the eyes, we’re the legs! We [Piernicky, her father, and cousin Erin] have essentially taken over all the shopping for her.” The Piernickys usually shop at Kohl’s, Cabela’s, Scheel’s, J. C. Penney, Yonkers, and multiple Target locations. They have already begun their shopping; in fact, the first items on their list were bought mid-October.


“Frank” hanging in Ms. Piernicky’s garage. Courtesy of Ms. Piernicky.

Every gift given in the Piernicky house is unique and memorable, but pretty funny,” she said. She also recalls the time when she bought a pink flamingo lawn ornament for a gift exchange…and ended up taking it back home herself! The flamingo, later dubbed “Frank,” is hanging in her garage to this day, still appreciated, just like the Piernicky’s Elfing method and the way the holidays bring their family together.



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