Festive spirit is starting to weave its magic and infect everyone and everything in its path. Shock at the fact that is is nearly December shows on faces as they mentally calculate how many shopping days left. Black Friday saw hordes of unnecessary, panic purchases made that at least didn’t weigh as heavily on bank balances as another day.
December is making her way around the corner, I can hear her plodding along cheerily, humming away. And she sounds to me like an elf. I think perhaps December 1st is almost as revered in my house as the 25th. The elf makes her grand annual entrance that morning and will proceed to enthral the children and haunt the adults until Santa himself spirits her away with him.
The elf of the shelf seems like such a magical tradition to welcome. Santa lets loose an army of scout elves to take up residence in homes all over the world and report back to North Pole HQ on the high-jinx of the children they spy on. It serves as a cautionary measure to encourage good behaviour but more so as a fun game of “find the elf” each morning.
So as I enter my third year of welcoming the little sprite into our home, I have a few helpful suggestions to other elf-hosts.
- If you don’t already have an elf, don’t get one. Simple as that. You can thank me later.
- If you do already have one, my biggest piece of advice is to make sure the little bugger is stashed safely somewhere you will clearly remember when November 30th rolls around. Otherwise there will be a panicked phase where you realise you have no idea where to find it, with D-Day quickly approaching. Putting it with the Christmas decorations in the attic is a sound choice; making sure it is at the very top of the storage box is even better.
- Have a lazy elf. Nobody wants an over-achiever showing off. If the kids become used to elaborate set ups every morning, you will only have to keep working harder. Stick him on a different shelf each day. Does exactly what it says on the tin.
- Set a reminder in your phone to make sure you move the pest each night before you go to bed. Having to drag yourself from a warm bed when you’re half asleep to move a stuffed toy is far from fun.
- In my house the elf is under strict instructions to remain downstairs. This has a two fold benefit – it means I don’t run the risk of the kids waking as I try to perch the damn thing in their bedrooms, and also that they have no expectation of it being found in their room.
- While I do regret every starting the elf on the shelf tradition, it’s not all hassle. I find it’s hard enough to get the kids out of bed on a December morning ordinarily, but the “where will the elf be today?” question has them jumping out without the usual drama.
- There are loads of inventive Pinterest type articles which will give ideas of what to do with your elf. Every year I marvel at them and the time and talent some parents have to put into this. Don’t dwell too long on these posts, find yourself a “Simple elf on the shelf ideas” post and bookmark it. If you find one of those calendars which tells you where to move him/her each night to take away any head-scratching, bingo!