Sunday, December 2, 2012

"the Elf on the Shelf", A Christmas Tradition

If you haven’t heard of it by now, you’ve been out of the loop.  This year’s craze with Christmas is “the Elf on the Shelf”.  I had seen mumbles on Facebook, and received texts from other Mother’s, “Have you heard of “the Elf on the Shelf”, to which I would say “no” and inquire as to what this “Elf” was. 

It was here I learned of a little Elf, sent by Santa; he or she would find a perch in your home where they could watch the children noting who was being naughty and who was nice.  At night, said Elf, would then use their magic and return to the North Pole, reporting their findings to Santa.  Magically, the next morning, little Elf would re-appear, but, they’d never be in the same place. 

This little Elf had perked my interest. A sweet new tradition to start with the kids; and, if nothing else, a terrific tool to provoke a little extra good behavior before Christmas.  Surly the presence of one of Santa’s Elves would encourage my kids to bring their “A Game” in the behavior department.   I had to find “the Elf on the Shelf”.

As luck would have it, Friday past at Chapters, I came across said Elf.  Neatly presented in white box, accompanied with a hard covered book, sat little Elf.  This box contained a little girl Elf. I have to admit, I was a little surprised at the “Elf” doll itself.  Not having gone to the internet before hand, I had no idea what this little creature looked like.  However, it didn’t matter. I had “Shelf Elf” in hand and was off to the races. 

So, Friday night, after reading the “Elf” book, I had to agree that this was a cute idea.  Kids would get to name their Elf, and if so desired, you could print off an “Elf Adoption certificate” and a “Letter From Santa”.  It all seemed good to me!  My husband and I found a little spot on the mantel for Elf.  Since Saturday would be December 1st, it seemed the perfect time to introduce the kids to her.

That morning, sans Christmas decorations, Miss Elf stood out like a sore thumb.  Of course it was the little one who first spotted the Elf and asked, “Mama what is that”.  From here I read to the three of them the story of “the Elf…” and that, while we couldn’t touch her (as she’d loose her magic), they could tell her secrets and she would always report back to Santa.  My middle child looked at me, with his all to familiar look of “Are you serious? She’d better not show up in my room. That’d just be weird!”; while little Grace seemed intrigued.

Miss Elf was henceforth known as, Sparkle Elf.  For the remainder of Saturday she remained untouched, though under great scrutiny from the kids.  We hauled out the tree and other decorations, and began our Christmas Season under the careful eyes of Sparkle Elf!

Delicately placed in our tree, Sparkle had her first official perch in our house.  No sooner had I crossed her Elf legs on the tree branch, came the screaming from my daughters room.  The little trout was having a bad dream, and a bad one at that.  She never has nightmares, but this, this was a doozy.  Over the next five hours, we took turns going back and forth to her room, trying to get her to settle.  Our quiet evening by the tree, was a marathon of pillow swaps and “your turn”.  Miss G had been spooked by something!  Finally, out of desperation to sleep, we took her into our bed, assumed the family “spoon” position and prayed she’d go to sleep.  2:33am, the sound of snoring…”Thank you!”

2:41am….the pitter patter of little feet is replaced with the sound of a herd of elephants entering our room. What!?? Who??!!! Ugh???  I can barely open my eyes, between exhaustion and the mascara I didn’t take off now like glue to my eyelashes; then, I see the little guy, standing at my side of the bed, desperate to get in too!

I woke this morning I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. I was exhausted. I brushed away the mounds of Gracie hair off my face, to find the hubby had made his way back into our bed.  We looked at each other and wondered what had happened last night.  Never before had we had a night like that.  Two kids, inconsolable, yet completely unwilling to tell us why!

Gracie, crawled out of bed and then we knew… the source of the evenings demise was clear.  Sparkle Elf!  “Dad, Dad, come here, come here!”, Gracie yells.   A few minutes later, he returns, with a big smirk on his face. “What is going on?”, I ask.

“Grace is insisting that we throw Sparkle Elf in the garbage”, he tells me. “She’s creepy Daddy and I don’t like her moving around”, she said.  He had tried to explain to her that Sparkle was not scary, she was simply an Elf, sent by Santa, to help with his Naughty Nice List. He then asked Drew if Sparkle was in his dreams last night too. Drew said, “Sparkle is weird Dad! Look at those crazy eyes!  In my dream she was in my room and kept coming after me!”

Good grief! While I had to agree that the Elf did lack in the “warm and fuzzy” looking department, who knew she’d be the source of such distress!  Now what?  While the boys were at hockey, Grace and I began to decorate the tree.  She was so happy, she had all the decorations laid on the table just so, and as she placed them on the tree, she would tell me exactly where she wanted me to place mine.

As I stepped back to get a better look, once again, it hit me.  Sparkle Elf, perched in the tree, without a decoration to be seen in her direct vicinity.  “Gracie, why don’t we put some decorations next to Sparkle? She’ll be lonely sitting there by herself”, I say.
“NO!!!!!! Don’t touch her! She’ll lose her magic and we’ll all be on the naughty list! I don’t want her to show up in my room!!!.”, she hollers at me!

So there you have it.  In the spirit of Christmas, we have once again managed to scar the little ones.  Forget being late, forget the white lie you told about their blanket getting lost in the dryer, forget trying to talk your way out of “Mom, why did you have receipts for my gifts from Santa last year?”. No, this was worse.   Our heartfelt effort to start a new tradition with the kids, to help keep alive the innocence of childhood, had turned and iconic Christmas Elf into a fear-inducing, crazy eyed, stalker-Elf, named Sparkle. 

So tonight, as I glance over my shoulder, I wonder “what am I going to do with you tonight Sparkle?”.  We’ve decided that we’ll keep Sparkle around for another day or so.  However, if by the end of the week, the kid’s stress level over the “magically moving creepy Elf” hasn’t lessened…. Sparkle may find herself attached to a bottle of alcohol with a straw, earning a one-way ticket back to the North Pole (leaving behind a note stating she’d been put on the Elf Naughty List).

“the Elf on the Shelf” may find herself “the Elf in the Garbage bag" at the back of the closet!!

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