Elf on the Shelf :: He’s Not So Bad

I’ve heard about the Elf on the Shelf almost six years ago. Like most, I had many questions: What’s the point? So I’m just supposed to move the thing?  What is so great about it? Kids really like that? But why?

At first, I didn’t get it so I was skeptical about adding yet another holiday tradition. It wasn’t until my oldest was in the first grade that I started to take it seriously. He would come home over-the-top excited, talking about his classmates’ elves’ escapades. He then started to question why he didn’t have an elf. The following year, I purchased an Elf on the Shelf. Back then, they weren’t as popular and so overly commercialized so I had to search for the perfect elf.

It was the day after Thanksgiving when our elf made his first appearance at our house. The kids named him “Zac Mac.” Zac Mac slowly became part of the family, and the kids were overjoyed and couldn’t wait to see his mischievous antics. I, however, was petrified. After about the first few nights, I had no idea what to do with the elf. He started going back and forth between the same few spots. Desperate for ideas, I searched online. In true Google fashion, I found some great and some not so great ideas. Some great ideas were over the top and were way too complicated to commit to while I was still half sleep. Even after picking the easy but still somewhat good ideas, moving the elf got pretty old.

I decided to switch it up a bit since our elf wasn’t that great of a mover. Some nights, he would bring small treats and activities for the kids when he simply moved from one light fixture to another. That quickly got out of hand. Our elf went from bringing a book to read that night and a light snack some nights to bringing Legos and PlayDoh to make Santa’s village. Over the years, our elf brought a “joke of the day” for the kids to laugh at while at school, a gingerbread house to decorate, an advent calendar so the kids could countdown to Santa, and a “be nice” list so the kids could think of ways that they can be nice to someone for the holidays.  

The Elf on the Shelf was slowly starting to become one of my favorite holiday traditions after seeing the joy it brought to my kids throughout the holiday season. It wasn’t until my husband started to get involved that I started to experience the magic of the elf and see why the kids loved the elf so much.

Some nights, my husband would take over the elf. Without any input from me, he would set the elf up. On those mornings, I found myself waking up with the same excitement as the kids as we tried to figure out what crazy things the elf did the night before. One time, he zip-lined from the ceiling fan to the Christmas tree, and another night he was so loaded up with Benefiber that he was feeling the effects in the morning. Just searching the house looking to see where the elf moved throughout the night added happiness to my mornings.

I now understand why the kids love the elf so much. The Elf on the Shelf is not that bad after all.


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