I’m sure you have all heard of Elf on the Shelf as the tradition has become popular for families over the last few years. This is our 3rd year with elves but I would say we don’t stick to all of the original ‘rules’ of the tradition.
This post shares my thoughts on the elves and what ours do throughout December.
How is elf on the shelf typically done and why?
The original idea is based on the book ‘Elf on the shelf‘ where elves from the North Pole come to visit families to ensure children behave and remain on Santa’s ‘nice list’.
They then supposedly return to Santa each night to report if the child was well behaved or naughty. With the idea of encouraging children to be ‘good’. Upon their return they can then be found by the child each morning in a different place in the house.
There is also a rule that the children are not allowed to touch the elf or they will lose their magic.
This is the original concept, however, as with all traditions it is really up to each family to interpret this their own way, to suit their family.
Our version of elf on the shelf:
I personally find the idea of using Christmas elves as a behaviour monitor a little uncomfortable. It just doesn’t sit right with me.
Sure Nathan isn’t well behaved all the time… However, I feel for the most part he is a good kid. So, I don’t want to start a tradition of having this character watching him and the threat of Santa adding you to the naughty list looming over him all month. To me that ruins the magic of Christmas, not adds to it.
I’m not judging anyone who does it this way, it’s just not for us.
My version of the elf on the shelf is simply that elves come to visit to help us celebrate and get in the festive mood in the lead up to Christmas. This does tend to coincide with the original idea and I know many families include this with their elves. For us this is what it’s all about.
I don’t tell Nathan that they report back to Santa, they just stay with us for December and get us ready for Christmas! Spreading the happiness, magic and festive feelings to the whole month! He’s only going to be young for so long so I want to make the most of it!
He is also allowed to touch the elf, so he can play with them too.
Nathan is 9 now (7 when we started this) and pretty on the ball so he doesn’t fully believe that it’s a real Christmas Elf. He plays along and totally loves it! Perhaps, the way we do it may have been different if we started when he was younger.
So what do our elves do?
- They bring resources or suggestions for festive activity ideas from decorating the house, baking, games, treasure hunts etc.
- They challenge Nathan to think of others & spread kindness during the festive season for example by creating a 12 good deeds of Christmas list to complete.
- They do silly things to make him smile or laugh – starting the day in a good mood.
- And the generic elf activity of being found in a particular ‘scene’ – a fun surprise to find in the morning