This was our first year implementing Elf on the Shelf in our holiday routine. How can you say “no” when your 6-year-old daughter excitedly asks for one?
Buying the Elf
So, I went on the hunt. The high cost of the elf surprised me a bit. Reluctantly, I bought the elf and started to think up ideas to surprise my daughter each morning. It was not as flexible as I expected, but we would make it work anyway. I also had to decide whether or not to untie the hands. They are stitched together.
The elf appeared, still in the box when she woke up, 12 days before Christmas. Immediately, she wanted to take it out of the package, but I urged her to leave it packaged up so that the elf can move on its own. That evening, we read the book, which says the elf reports to Santa every night and will lose its magic if kids touch it. Smart! My daughter then said that she heard if you put cinnamon on the elf after touching it, the magic will come back. I urged her not to touch the elf, just in case.
Planning the Elf Days
Day 1: During school, the elf escaped from the box and moved to the gingerbread house that my daughter made. I made it appear that the elf took a bite out of a gumdrop with some snowflake shaped sprinkles scattered on her clothes. My daughter’s imagination ran wild and thought the elf also took a bite out of a sprinkle and another gumdrop. So, I went with it!
Day 2: I went with a simple placement, upside down on top of the Christmas tree.
Day 3: My husband made mini purple pancakes and decided to top them with Nutella. The elf appeared sitting on the couch in the morning with a stack of partially eaten pancakes and the TV remote. My daughter thought the elf even made the pancakes herself.
By day four, I realized I only had a couple of ideas left. So, the days continued with the elf appearing in places that my daughter mentioned she was hoping for. We even caught her speaking to the elf a few times and went along with those conversations to get ideas for the elf’s placement.
Running out of Ideas
It was then that I realized I’m glad I started only 12 days before Christmas. Where was I supposed to put this thing next?!
Then came the day I forgot! Thankfully, my daughter is not a morning person, so I was able to quickly move the elf before she woke up. Really, there were a few close calls. It was especially difficult when we had a late night and my daughter would not go to sleep.
The elf also got an extra time to move up to the light fixture during school. My daughter tried to remove something from the elf’s hands that morning, and I touched it to keep it from falling. Unfortunately, my daughter thought that the elf would go back up to the light fixture if I touched it again. I had to reassure her that was not the case.
Besides the purple pancakes and the written message on my daughter’s chalkboard, the last couple of days were my favorite. On Christmas Eve, the elf was found eating a pile of marshmallows with powdered sugar footprints leading to her. On Christmas day, the elf was found under the tree, partially opening one of my daughter’s gifts.
A New Christmas Tradition
I never would have thought my daughter still believed in the magic, especially since I recently got the dreaded “Is Santa real?” question. With that motivation, we decided to keep the innocence a little longer and let her imagination soar. We might not get the chance next year, but this year was definitely worth it and one to remember.