A couple years ago, in the checkout line at Target, Mariyah begged for an elf on the shelf. I wasn’t keen on the idea at the time. I was afraid that if we incorporated too many imaginary aspects into our Christmas celebration, when my kids outgrew those things, Christmas would lose it’s magic. She persisted, and rather than cough up thirty bucks, I stuck an old plastic stocking hanger on the shelf to appease her.
Rob wasn’t thrilled “Erin, you can’t even remember to check their folders, how will you remember to move that thing around every night?” He asked.
It’s true, I had trouble. I spent many a night lying in bed trying to recall if I had or had not relocated our plastic stocking hanger elf to a new spot before climbing under the covers. On more than one occasion I found myself running downstairs at midnight just to check.
Although I had been against the elf of the shelf initially, and it was a bit of work, I slowly started to see the appeal. My kid’s excitement was sweet. I started looking forward to seeing their grins every morning as they hunted around for that elf. One evening while they were sleeping, she fell and her decades old plastic body cracked. I lovingly taped her back together. “What happened to our elf?!” the kids asked the next morning. “I don’t know, she must have gotten roughed up at the north pole or something last night.” They fell to the floor in fits of laughter.
Unfortunately, twas the night before Christmas, and disaster struck. James peaked out of his room, and saw me moving the plastic stocking hanger (aka – elf on the shelf.)
I panicked, thinking he would be upset, instead he was ecstatic. “Can I help you pick the last spot?!” He asked excitedly. No disappointment whatsoever. He put the elf in a plastic barbie car and skipped off to bed. He laughed just as hard as Mariyah when she found the elf cruising on the counters Christmas morning (I hadn’t realized at the point in time that elves are supposed to disappear Christmas eve).
The following November, I was alone in the check out line at Target. Elf on the Shelf merchandise had filled the aisle yet again. I picked up a box and looked inside. The woman working at the register saw me looking and commented, “We have one of those things. It’s so much fun. My daughter absolutely loves it!”
“Awww! That is so sweet. How old is your daughter?” I asked her.
I assumed she was going to say 3 or 4.
“Seventeen.” She replied.
Seventeen. I was perplexed. Didn’t a child usually know at seventeen?
The woman continued, “I set it up at night for her to find in the morning, and she rearranges it when she gets home from school for me to find after work. We just have so much fun with it.”
I plopped the elf down at the register right then and there. I thought of James, and his excitement the previous year. He hadn’t cared a bit when he found out the truth. Maybe, you don’t have to keep believing in things like the elf or Santa for them to be fun. That magic I was so afraid of losing doesn’t have to die just because my kids grow up.
Our elf, Elphaba, has been one of my favorite parts of Christmas ever since. Some nights I set up something creative (that isn’t actually creative because I usually copied it from someone else), some nights I just move the elf to a new spot, and some nights I forget and scramble around in the morning. No matter how simple or complicated, the look on my kid’s faces make me smile every time.
A few favorites from this year:
Elphaba learns to cope with the Christmas stress:
This one seems pretty boring right? It was a phone it in night. Except when my kids saw it they announced it as “the most perfect spot ever!” So here you go, elf on a lamp, most perfect spot ever:
The day I discovered Elphaba and Barbie wear (almost) the same size clothing. Which is good since my kids kept wishing Elphaba had clothes, and it’s no spend December. This stunt looked cooler in person, she’s zip lining on a candy cane and dental floss.
Do you want to build a snowman?
We had an issue a few nights ago where Violet was caught “drinking” from the parmesan cheese container. I was none to happy. When Violet found this one she scolded Elphaba, “You can’t put your mouth all ober things other people eat!” Elphaba just stared at her blankly, which was not unlike the reaction Violet had given me a few nights prior.
Our kids are always trying to figure out whose turn it is to open the advent calendar. It totally cracked me up when 3 out of 3 saw this and exclaimed “HEY! It was my turn today!”
This one works well if you’ve eaten all the ice cream after your kids have gone to bed:
I forgot to include it in the picture, but there is some maple syrup on the counter. We’d just watched the movie Elf, so you know, basic food groups.
This seemed to be James and Mariyah’s favorite. Their age group is big on photobombing.