MINNEAPOLIS - For 20 years a tree at the edge of Lake Harriet has housed the antidote to the cynical world around it.
It's occupant - any of the kids who gather 'round the tree can tell you - is a tiny elf named Thom, who answers the notes they leave behind the door at the tree's base.
On Friday the kids and their city council returned the favor, declaring August 15th "Lake Harriett Elf Day."
Children, their parents and grandchildren filled the council chambers as Council Member Linea Palmisana read the official proclamation.
"The Lake Harriett Elf has sought neither fame nor fortune by revealing his identity, resisting continued pleas for him to show himself while teaching us about life and love and caring and joy," the proclamation read in part.
"He comes in the nighttime when we are sleeping," explained four-year-old Harriet McHenry, who came to the city hall ceremony with her grandpa.
The elf sent regrets, writing he could not attend because "I'm afraid some human might step on me in all the excitement."
Instead he asked that the award be presented to the children present or some chipmunks.
A source close to the elf, told KARE 11, Thom writes about 1500 notes every summer.
"He just always has the right answers," said Lucia Sandberg who saved one of her first written exchanges as a little girl. Now in college, she still seeks the elf's advice. "Last year I had boy problems and he wrote me a note telling me even elf boys are idiots – but not to worry about it."
The Lake Harriet Elf – also known as Mr. Little Guy – has become a Santa of sorts for the summer. A time of year when we need some magic too.