Dec 19, 2011 Sara Keenan
Kansas City's Savvy Shopper
The Elf on the Shelf
Maybe it's just my kids' schools, but the Elf on the Shelf is ALL the rage right now in the Pre-K through 1st grade circles. It seems that everyone has a little elf visiting them this Christmas! I have mixed feelings about the little guy. We got our elf last year and I thought it was so cute and fun. My kids loved him and looked eagerly each morning to see where he was and if he had made any mischeif during the night. All I needed to say when they started to act up was, "Elfie is watching!" and they would straighten right up. I enjoyed coming up with new ideas for him each night. He added some fun to our season throughout the month of December.
This year, I feel a little twinge of annoyance toward Elfie. Well, not toward Elfie himself...I still love that little guy. But the whole thing seems to have blown up to epic proportions and now it's just one more thing that moms have to be really good at or other moms will wonder why you just move your elf from shelf to shelf instead of staging marshmallow fights or switching all of the clothes from one closet to the other (yes. that really happened. someone really did that). There are websites devoted to "100 Elf on the Shelf" ideas, there are a bazillion "pins" on pinterest with photos of Elf on the Shelf ideas. There are people who will remain nameless that post every single morning with a photo of what their elf is doing that day. Cute? Yes. Slightly annoying? Uh huh.
I will admit that I sometimes put our elf in cute vignets. Usually things that only take a few minutes to set up and clean up. Because I have enough stuff to clean up every evening without having to clean flour off my table after the elf made a snow angel in it. But I do like to make it funny for the kids. I also like to have the option of just moving the thing to a new spot and calling it good. I do a little of both so that my kids don't expect some dog and pony show each morning. I just think the part that bothers me is that there seems to be a lot of one-up-manship among moms. I fear that next year your kids will feel like they aren't missing out if their elf isn't skywriting "Merry Christmas" over the house in the morning. Sigh.
In the end, it's all about whether the kids are feeling the "magic" of the season and I do feel like Elfie gives that to them. And if they still have that blind enthusiasm and belief in elfs and santa then I am happy to move our elf each night and keep the magic going for another year. And I will laugh when they laugh at him in the morning and I will wonder with them about how he gets to the North Pole each night. But I just won't be posting on Facebook about it.