Should You Start Elf On The Shelf
Searching for new holiday traditions to start with your family? What about the Elf on The Shelf? You’ve heard about it, seen it in stores, and moms on Facebook are talking about it. What is the deal with Elf on the Shelf? The better question is…should you start Elf On The Shelf?
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Here’s one mom’s opinion from the trenches. In a word…don’t.
In the middle of the season, when you’re fast asleep after a hard day at work, and you bolt upright in a frantic panic…”&*$% I forgot the @#$* elf!”
Trust me…this happens more than once. By Christmas Eve, you’ll be more than ready to punt that elf you-know-where!
Making Christmas Memories
But truth be told, looking back, it was one of the best traditions I started with my boys. And I know they have fond memories of our Elf on the Shelf, Frank. (Yes, you are supposed to pick a name for your elf, so they can get their magic. Something like Chippey, Snowflake, Jingle or Buddy. Ours…Frank. That should have been a sign right there.)
For the kids, this is an exciting part of the Christmas season! Every morning they wake up and go on a hunt for the elf. Where did he hide after his nightly return to the North Pole, to report to Santa whether they’ve been bad or good? It’s like a mini adventure every day!
But for parents, it’s an exercise that, like Clark Griswold notes in Christmas Vacation, brings you to the threshold of hell!
How To Have A Successful Elf On The Shelf Holiday
I feel like there should be a warning label on this product, so parents know what they are really getting into. This is a seasonal commitment! You can’t just present it to your children and then leave it at that! You have to be prepared, with a detailed plan of execution. Ninja like skills are required nightly, not just your usual Christmas Eve shenanigans!
But if you are brave, if you feel you have what it takes to fully commit to a season of stealth, then I present to you a list of 24 Days of Elf on the Shelf, with instructions and pictures of one brave mother’s journey to share the magic of the season!
(Note: I assume no responsibility for the success or failure of the adventure to which you are about to embark!)
Day 1 – And So It Begins
Present your kids with an Elf on the Shelf Kit. This includes your Elf and accompanying story book in a nice gift box. I recommend keeping the box, so you can sell the thing on Kijiji or Craigslist to some other poor schmuck the minute Christmas is over. (Okay, we donated ours to a family with younger kids…pass on the Christmas “fun” to another unsuspecting soul).
Let’s not go crazy right away! You’re probably tired from putting up the tree and decorating this past week. Keep it simple. Open a bag of your kid’s favourite candy (if you can get Christmas edition candy, even easier). Reinforce the message, that your (creepy spy) elf is watching and reporting back to Santa!
Okay, enough rest. Now it’s time to get a little fancy! Add to your holiday decor, and keep the kids busy doing crafts while you sit back and enjoy a coffee for all your hard work and planning! (Check out these paper snowflake patterns and cut yours ahead of time)
You got so stoked by the reaction yesterday, let’s amp up your game even more today! Get ready for the exclamations of awe (but be ready to make full size pancakes for breakfast…elf-size pancakes are a little lacking). Be sure to add a little flour dusting to your elf for authenticity. (And a tip…just because they look tiny and cute, note they take a butt-ton of time to actually make!! Prepare for a late night!)
Tonight, you need a break. Something simple. Grab one of the kids favourite little stuffy (let’s make sure it’s to scale, nothing too big, and nothing they will miss in the night), rip open a bag of mini marshmallows, and poof! Instant snowball fight. Have a few marshmallows in your hot chocolate. (I also recommend adding Salted Caramel Kahlua)
This is likely the first night you’re going to forget to move the little bugger, and wonder why you started this whole mess in the first place. Let’s stick to something nice and simple. Hang him from the lamp over the table. Tell your kids he’s watching over the mess from yesterday.
Now you’re back in the saddle. Let’s gear up for week 2 on a good note, and use up the marshmallows before they’re gone.
Dang! Forgot to move the elf again!! Quick! Grab him and move him to the toy room, where he can gaze in judgement over the mess!!
While we’re on a theme of judging cleanliness, try this one in the bathroom, for all those boys who can’t aim to save their lives!! Rip open a package of mini bows (you probably should start wrapping anyway) and have at it! (Note…the adhesive might take some scraping and elbow grease to get off the mirror. Don’t ask me how I know this.)
If your kids are into Lego like mine, this one is a no-brainer. Just pick up a cheap, stocking stuffer size set of Lego, rip it open and make like the Elf is building it!
See Day 2 above. Grab another bag of candy from the stocking stuffer pile.
Back to greatness today! Wrap up the elf in a face cloth and stick him in the fridge, binging on some chocolate syrup. The kids will never find him this morning! Squirt some extra chocolate in your coffee (or the Salted Caramel Kahlua…I don’t judge!)
Have a Christmas movie night! This is a good opportunity to give a pre-holiday treat of a new movie. Pop some popcorn, get snuggled under a blanket and enjoy! (Incidentally, there is an Elf on the Shelf Movie to add the mayhem…um, I mean magic! Okay, it is actually pretty cute. But I prefer Ice Age Christmas)
See Day 6 above. Find another lamp.
Oh no! The Elf isn’t feeling very well (or mom forgot to move the %$*# thing again…). Get fancy and fold him a little pillow and tuck him in tight. Just make sure there’s a spare box for your sniffles (or your tears) so nobody has to move him!
This one is another easy one, just be sure to leave enough room to ACTUALLY make yourself a coffee in the morning. Salted Caramel Kahlua optional.
Break open another bag of candy from the stocking stuffer stash and repeat Day 11. Write yourself a reminder to buy more stocking stuffers.
Grab a dry erase marker and throw in some last minute threats about your kid’s behaviour being reported to the big guy!
See Day 14 above. Find another lamp.
Last minute shopping and parties and presents have you completely wiped, but hey, at least you didn’t forget! Stick the sucker in the napkin holder and call it a day!
See Day 19 above. Lamp, chair…(garbage can).
Oops, did it again. See yesterday. Find yet another lamp!
Let’s finish strong! One last perfect image of Christmas magic! Grab all your kid’s stuffies and have the Elf read The Night Before Christmas! Just be sure to have a spare copy or place the book a little out of reach of the Elf so you don’t have to move him (or he’ll lose his magic!!) in order for you to read the book tomorrow night!!
Back on the Christmas tree he goes! If you’re not ready to throw him out the window, you can always print out some sort of note to say goodbye, and that Santa will let him hug your kids, just this one night, without taking away his magic!
Pat yourself on the back, mama! You made it! Just think of the awesome pictures you posted on Instagram and Facebook, and all the cherished memories you made for your kiddos!
Now you can dive head first into the Salted Caramel Kahlua (with a little hot chocolate and mini marshmallows for good measure). But don’t forget the whole “Santa” gig tonight!!!! And lose the Elf!
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