On the off chance that you haven’t heard of Elf on the Shelf, the elf shows up sometime after Thanksgiving with a story book. He’s named by the kids and then spends the rest of the holiday season hiding (translation: parents wake up in the middle of the night realizing that they forgot to move the elf and promptly panic.) I kept forgetting to move the elf the first couple of years, so last year I started to be more elaborate with the elf and decided that he’d be doing little pranks. The problem is that once you start that, the kids have expectations.
My kids are at that age where the magic of Christmas will soon contain a little cynicism, so I want to make it as fun as possible. And, by planning out the exploits of Sam the Elf, I am having more fun with this and less likely to forget. Once T. actually asks me who is moving the elf, my plan is to get him in on the fun of planning Sam’s exploits. Then once H. does the same, we’ll all take turns trying to figure out things the elf can do.
So back to the over the top thing—I found a sale on photo books for $2.99 at a local pharmacy. I downloaded my Facebook pictures and made them matching picture books. The kids LOVED it. But I admit, it was a little much. I think this is the most elaborate of my planned adventures:
Here are our other adventures so far:
Relaxing with a favorite puzzle.
Moving the ornaments around the tree and hugging his two favorites.
And my favorite:
Replacing the stockings with their underwear. This one made everyone laugh.
Well, we didn't make it through the 25 days with Sam without T. figuring out that Sam isn't moving around on his own. He said he suspected last year when Sam did the Mission Impossible thing and didn't make a sound, but he wasn't sure.
He asked Eric a few questions last night and this morning I asked him if he had any questions for me. At first he said no, but then he asked "Does Sam really come alive?" I told him, "Do Reggie and Rah Rah come alive when you play with them?" He said "Yes" very quickly. But then he thought about it. "I use my imagination to make them come alive." I told him that yes, that's true. And that the same is true for Sam. He comes alive because our imagination makes him come alive. T. then looked at me and asked me "So how does he move around?" After looking at him for a second, he said "Do YOU move him around?" I said yes. That it was fun making him coming alive and see how T. and H. react every morning.
Then I asked him if he wants in on the fun of planning Sam's adventures. He thought for a bit and then said "Is it OK if I help plan sometimes, but other times I just see what he does?" I told him of course. And later, we were talking about the photo book, he asked me "So did you do all this last year?" I nodded. "Wow," he said, and smiled.
I'm very proud of him. He took it well and promised me that he wouldn't say anything to H. because it's fun to find Sam. He likes being in on it.
What Christmas traditions do you have that are fun but a bit over the top?
Reace Alvarenga-Smith is a Mom of two in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.