It’s December and last night Red the elf slipped down our chimney and arrived for our children this morning. This year he brought his “sister” (who has yet to be named) with him so our youngest can participate in this asinine new holiday tradition too! Everyone has a different take on doing the elf. Some people love it and go overboard (insert Pinterest mom in all her glory here). Some people use it to control their children’s behavior through December and beyond. Others hate it and think it’s ridiculous to add more work to the holidays and many worry that it takes away from Christ’s glory and the real reason for the season.Our family falls somewhere in between all these opinions. Last year was our first year to take part and I did a lot of research and spoke to a lot of my people about what they loved or hated about the elf. Here’s why we decided to join in on the fun and how we made it work for our family!
We decided against the traditional Elf on the Shelf with the book that explains the rules because our rules are a little different. We did purchase the plush version of the Elf on the Shelf. I originally wanted to get some elves off the internet so that I wouldn’t get questions while walking through stores, but alas all the internet elves I found were way too creepy. Last year we just avoided the isles with the elves. This year my plan is to stay out of Target entirely, hahaha, that was funny. But really, if the stores would have a secret elf isle that would be fantastic!
Here’s how we introduced our elf, I wrote a letter to my son from Santa about how he sent an elf to share in the joy of Christmas with him. Santa’s letter reminded him that Jesus is the most important part of the holidays and that Santa helped Jesus spread the spirit of giving and doing things for others. He was allowed to name his elf and that’s about it. We did not say he would watch him and report back to Santa (we worried that would totally freak him out), we did not say he couldn’t touch him, we did not say he would move every night (we gave ourselves room to forget).
Red the elf is very funny and he has been known to go fishing in the sink, fly on the ceiling fans and ride the dog. He also left instructions for my son to do random acts of kindness. He has left him offering to take to church or donate, bible verses to memorize and books to read. We took the idea of the elf and made it our own and here’s why.
FOR THE FUN
There is such a short amount of time in your life for the holidays to be magical. Only as a child do you get to lay in bed anticipating Santa’s arrival. Only for a little while does a stocking full of candy or dollar store toys give you unbelievable excitement! As you get older, the magic is revealed and a lot of the fun disappears. If we can make our children smile over moving around a little toy elf, really, why not? Frankly, life is really hard, even childhood is difficult. You have to learn not to take everything so serious and find ways to have fun!
FOR THE LEARNING
Children learn best through play and fun and when they don’t realize they are being taught. We took this elf opportunity to teach our children. We let the elf teach letters and numbers, encourage bible verse memorization and how to treat others. We demonstrate random acts of kindness throughout the year, but it’s nice when someone important like Santa and his elves back you up! So whether it’s delivering cookies to grandpa or the mailman, buying someone dinner, picking someone flowers or any small act of giving, my son is excited about doing for others and not just focused on his own Christmas list!
FOR THE FAMILY
You can laugh, but my husband and I have the best time together thinking up elf ideas. We feel all warm and fuzzy and proud when we come up with teaching ideas, but honestly we love humor and we especially like to create the elves doing funny things. Our elves are not mischievous, just fun! Y’all the elf is good for our marriage, anything to lighten our load and get a laugh together! Then as a family, we find the elves in the morning and we spend a few minutes laughing together and talking about it and it’s a special time that brings us together briefly, yet makes a big impact every day of December. When we started talking about it this year, I was shocked how much my son remembered from last year.
So while I agree that the elf is not what Christmas is about and I agree that no one needs more to do, especially during the holidays, we make the elf work for us. We took a commercialized idea and found a way to spent more quality time together as a couple and as a family. We are having fun and we found a helper for spreading Jesus’ love through the season. If you are on the fence about doing the elf, think about what you want for your children and think outside the box. The traditional Elf on the Shelf may be exactly what you have in mind for Christmas and maybe you don’t do it at all. As with everything, you have to find what works best for your family and sometimes all you need are some tweaks! Merry Christmas!
If your into this sort of thing, you can follow Red and his sister on my Instagram this Christmas!