Why we do Elf on the Shelf

Apparently Elf on the Shelf is a tiny phenomena. Either you love it, you hate it, or you have one just so you can join Jill’s legendary Inappropriate Elf contest.

I had no clue what it was till a trip to Dallas two years ago. Ava watched the tv show about Elf on the Shelf (EOTS) with her friend and was hooked. I still remember going into Barnes & Noble that next day during my lunch hour at continuing education and buying our elf. Skirt and all.

The idea of EOTS is that you get an elf from the North Pole and it reports back to Santa each night. Think “Santa’s always watching” but on steroids.

It’s more than that. And that’s not why we do it. even if we do “check in” with Santa regularly via email to update him on the girls’ (read: Ava) behavior. Don’t hate. It works.

We do EOTS everyday till Christmas starting the day after Thanksgiving because it’s a tiny piece of magic. Innocence. She even travels with us and shows up wherever we go.

Childhood is precious and way too short these days. Kids know things that are way beyond their years and they’re growing up entirely too quickly for their own good. If there’s something I can give me girls to believe in that makes them happy and they take joy in, I’ll do it.

It’s not about the behavior.

It’s really not that huge a deal when I look at it each night and think, “crap! I forgot to move EOTS!” then one of us begrudgingly tries to figure out where to move it next. seriously all those pins with cool stuff like marshmallow chandeliers are a pipe dream because I’m too lazy to make them happen. plus also, who wants the elf in a blender? Weird ideas, people. But sometimes I do feel like I deserve a cookie because I came up with an awesome new hiding spot that I know they will love.

It’s about seeing my girls eyes when they find Gingerbread in the morning.
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I wasn’t sure Allie was old enough to care, but after watching the show about 500 times, she loves it and seeks the elf out herself.

I know Christmas is about Christ. He is the reason. I know that. They know that, even if it takes lots of reminding that the reason for the season is Jesus’s birthday, not Santa bringing them presents.

EOTS isn’t replacing that or taking if away. We have a huge nativity scene next to our tree. Allie even understands and respects it. and yes I’m crazy to leave it out because it’s ceramic, but she’s impressing me

Ava asked to have the nativity scene I grew up with on her dresser. She set it up by herself–instead of her little pink Christmas tree– and it looks perfect there. Like it was made for her.

So EOTS is tied to Santa. So what? So is every other thing commercial about Christmas. That’s ok. To each his own; what we choose to do in our homes is what truly teaches our kids what the holiday really means in our hearts.

For me, in the midst of chaos and sadness and everything else too heavy for a kid’s heart, I’ll do my best to keep the magic going. As long as I can keep my babies believing that there are wondrous and fun things out there to believe in, it’s worth it.

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