Kids are officially in Christmas mode. There will be talks of Santa, of reindeer, of wish lists and, if your family has one (which you should!), talks of The Elf on The Shelf.
If you haven’t heard of The Elf on The Shelf, I will first congratulate you on living under a rock for so long. And then I will tell you not to get all overwhelmed with it. There has been “debate” in the blogging community over the last few years that some people take the Elf to the extreme, but it’s not necessary. The whole idea behind the elf is that he or she is assigned to your family to keep track of who’s naughty and who’s nice. Every night, the elf flies back to the North Pole to report the day to Santa, but comes back before your children wake up. Every morning, he’s in a different spot in the house and your kids will totally rush out of bed to find him EVERY. TIME.
The trick, of course, is that no one can touch the elf or he will lose all of his magic. Which means you have to be stealthy when moving the elf each night.
If you’re not looking forward to the return of your family’s elf, here are a few tips I’ve come up with that might keep it easy for you! No huge messes required.
Set an Alarm
I can not tell you how many times I put the kids to bed last December, settled down to watch a movie or work and fell asleep before moving that darn elf. Several times, the kids would wake up and say “HE NEVER MOVED! WHAT IF HE’S DEAD!” and I was kind of panicky. I assured them that maybe he just LIKED his spot on the piano, but they were kind of miffed. “I think he’s just lazy,” Chloe said. So… yeah. I started setting an alarm on my phone. The kids are usually in bed by 8/8:30, so I set the alarm for ten. Gives them plenty of time to get to sleep, gives me time to do what I need to do without worrying about the elf.
Keep the Elf Out of Reach
Our kids were three and six when we brought the elf into our home, so they learned pretty quickly not to touch him (Although, God knows, it nearly killed them. I often found them mere centimeters away from the elf, their fingers practically sweating). But, the thought of having a toddler around in a few years that won’t understand the memo and just wants to HUG AND SQUEEEEEZE the elf? Ugh. Panic. I know Chloe and Trey would flip out and traumatizing a toddler over an elf doll at Christmas does not sound like my idea of a good time. So if you have those too young to understand (Or kids that do understand, but like to live dangerously), put the elf up HIGH on a shelf. Seriously. (Just don’t forget to move it.)
Keep it Simple
Look, lots of people like to go all out when they bring out their elves. There are hundreds of blogs that have ideas like “set up a marshmallow fight” or “let your elf make snow angels in some spilled flour”, etc. I did a few of them last year and y’all, flour ain’t coming out of that elf’s red suit. So if you’re not into making a mess or turning it into a big deal, keep it simple. Move him from ten or so different spots if you want. Set him up with things that don’t make a mess, like Christmas lights or a spatula, etc. You’re not trying to win any awards. You’re trying to make your kids totally excited every morning. Trust me, it doesn’t take much.
But the most important tip I can give you is just to have fun! Have the kids write your elf a letter to take to Santa or maybe let him deliver their Christmas pajamas! The elf adds a lot of wonder and excitement to the holiday season and is definitely worth welcoming into your family. Enjoy!