Someone recently asked, "What is The Elf on the Shelf?". I wanted to say, "Have you been living under a rock?," but then I remembered it was only 5 years ago that I started partaking in this why the f--- have I started doing this time-consuming, often stressful tradition (I kid, I kid), so I digress...
The Elf on the Shelf Christmas Tradition that was created by two moms in the 1970’s (that apparently had nothing better to do with their time). The children’s book explains that Santa knows who is naughty and/or nice because he sends a scout elf to every home to watch children by day and reports to Santa at night (because that doesn’t sound creepy at all). The idea is to keep the spirit of Santa alive and has become a tradition in many homes around the world.
The best part of this tradition is (when it's over) the excitement each morning when the kids wake up and race around the house looking for their Elf to find out where it moved to in the night and what it has been up too and where it moved (because mornings aren’t hectic enough as it is).
First, buy your Elf on the Shelf set (it can be purchased at Target, Walmart or online at emeraldcoastkids.org, click the Amazon button). Once you receive it, you will name your Elf (usually some ridiculous name that you will have to live with for the next 10 years). The Elf then receives Christmas "magic" and flies to the North Pole each night to tell Santa about all of the day’s adventures (yeah, okay, the Elf's must be smoking something if he thinks a) he can fly; b) he talks to Santa; or c) you must be smoking something if you think the Elf can do these things). Each morning, the Elf returns to its family and sits in a different place to watch the fun (preferably not the parents bedroom - that would be way a little weird).
Most of us choose to have the Elf arrive after Thanksgiving, usually on December 1st, but there is no right day to bring the Elf to your home (the longer you wait the better because honestly, once you start, you can’t stop). Once you decide on a date, read the story to your children and then let the fun begin (fun, really? WTF? the holidays aren’t stressful enough as it is?).
Remember, no one can “touch” the Elf except when you move it each night (unless you secretly step on it). If the children touch or move it, the Elf loses its magic forever (um, yeah, and ruin the lives of children everywhere… tissues anyone?). The Elf must move each night into a new location (this is where your creativity comes in, after drinking lots of wine & consulting with fellow Pinterest wannabes).
Those of us that have being participating in this tradition for years get excited to bring out the Elf (for about the first 5 minutes). However, by Day 4, we start blogging about how stressed we are to come up with new ideas and spend countless hours on Pinterest looking for ideas (all the while wishing we could set the damn thing on fire or give it to the dog for snack).
HAPPY MOM MEMORY: The best Elf memory I have is when our Elves surprised us when we arrived at our cabin for Thanksgiving. (We have two Elves because “Eli” couldn’t be found in the attic although I knew 100% he was up there – “Honey, can you pleaseeee just look one more time? I really don’t want to spend another $35 on this stupid thing.” Nonetheless, we had to buy another one [Ellie, his sister]. Of course we found Eli the next year.) When the kids went to put their suitcases in the closet, Eli & Ellie were in the closet playing a board game. The surprise, shock & smile on our youngest daughter’s face was priceless.
Instead of having the kids wake up excited to find their Elf, maybe we should divert their attention and try something even more shocking like waking them up with…
A smile and a back rub (in my house it’s more drill sergeant - HUT HUT HUT --- Hair, Underarms, Teeth);
The smell of fresh cooked bacon & eggs (seriously? if we remember to grab dry cereal or a pop tart on the way out the door, we’re having a good morning); or
Me being fully dressed before leaving (i.e., actually putting on a bra, putting on shoes, not slippers, etc.).
Well, it sounded good as I was typing… but in reality, that takes just as much effort, if not more, than planning the Elf adventures. Our kids grow up way too fast so if this silly tradition puts a smile on their faces, it’s worth a little argh!fagpdoiahdg moments on our end. I guess. That’s what being a mom is about. Right?
For more ideas, go to www.emeraldcoastkids.org(Etc./mommy madness/mommy blogs) or Pinterest is a great resource. Good luck and remember, make it fun and memorable, while drinking & cursing (heavily) and don’t hesitate to lean on your fellow mommy’s who are right there with you (With the lighter. Ready to burn. The damn Elf.). Enjoy!