You’d be hard pressed to find someone in the Tatamagouche area who hasn’t heard of Bruce in the Spruce.

He may have headed back to the North Pole two days before Christmas, but the impression he made on the community was a positive one.

Linda Byers, of the Northumberland Shore Community Development Association, introduced the lovable elf on the concept of the popular children’s activity – Elf on the Shelf. But unlike the Elf on the Shelf, Bruce wasn’t keeping a watchful eye on children and their behaviour to report back to Santa on.

For weeks leading up to Christmas, Bruce in the Spruce stopped into businesses, non-profit organizations, and other places to spread cheer and the Christmas spirit. And that he did.

Through the ‘What’s Going on in Tatamagouche’ page on Facebook, Bruce in the Spruce became a popular figure of the community, with those he visited posting pictures of his shenanigans. He always seemed to have a smile on his face, which became brighter thanks to a visit to the local dentist who worked on his teeth.

And while Bruce in the Spruce helped out wherever he went, he always seemed to get into some mischief, including dipping his fingers into the chocolate at Appleton.

Christmas is a time of joy and happiness for many, spreading love with family and friends. But for others, it can be stressful – trying to find the funds to make sure children have a happy Christmas with presents under the tree, or even looking for that perfect gift for a loved one. For others still, it’s their least favourite time of year as they suffer with depression or anxiety, or grief over the loss of someone they cherished. There is also seasonal affective disorder, which appears during late fall or early winter for some people, often lasting through the winter months into the spring.

But Bruce in the Spruce definitely spread some Christmas spirit wherever he went. When his jaunt through the village was almost over, his name was floating around the province thanks mainly to social media. He created his own Facebook page for people to ‘like’, and a quick search had more than 55,000 people talking about him and his adventures on any given day.

Byers should be thrilled with the response of Bruce in the Spruce, as he’s certainly caught the attention of the village residents, as well as others elsewhere in the province and possibly beyond. He certainly accomplished the mission for which he was called upon.

It’s been a month since he left, but Bruce’s presence is still felt in the community, with many still talking about his visit and the fame he achieved.

Bruce is no doubt having a well-deserved rest with his fellow elves at the North Pole – he even went on a vacation down south, posting pictures for many to envy. Let’s hope he’ll get enough rest and relaxation over the next 10 months to bring him back next season, so we can see what other hijinks he can get into. Perhaps his experience will have impressed the jolly man himself enough to possibly send along one of Bruce’s friends.

We eagerly await your return, Bruce, and look forward to the joy you’ll no doubt bring once again.