You would have to live in a hole to not notice all the buzz about the “Elf of the Shelf” this season. All my mommy friends are talking about it… good and bad things. And it seems that just about everyone has an opinion on them. Some are dead set against them to a point of being cynical, I think. I read an article yesterday that made me want to personally send the lady a chill pill. I highly doubt children are going to be scarred for life because of the “Elf on the Shelf.” And they really are saying how detrimental it is to their growth. As well, there are people who take it WAY too seriously! (I am sure I don’t have to give an example here) And you are a terrible parent if you don’t have an Elf for each child plus an extra just in case! Then there are those who have the elf, but lack in motivation… these are the people that totally crack me up especially if they have a good sense of humor about it. Ben and I read an article last night that had us in stitches!
Then there is us.
We can barely afford toilet paper and diapers right now let alone a thirty dollar Elf doll. So not going to happen.
Now, I strive to be a great mom, and I want to make Christmas as magical for my children as I can while they are small. It ticks me off a little that there are mom’s out there making me feel less than a good mom because I can’t fork out the big bucks for a silly little elf. Last year, when I first heard about it, I thought it might be fun to try something LIKE it… just not the same thing…
So I did the next best thing.
I made up my own.
Yep, that’s right, I made up my own elf. Here is a picture of our Elf, Carl, hiding in the tree:
Can’t see him? Well, it’s not the best snap shot. How about now? Can you see him hiding on my mess printer shelf?
How about on the fridge?
Okay, I am sure by now you have figured out the Carl the Elf is invisible — sometimes only seen by big people. Like when my kids are fighting, I will suddenly shout out, “ELF!!!” Kids all the sudden stop and shout “Where!!!??” And I say something like, “Didn’t you just see him run across the floor and into the Christmas Tree!?” Kids now looking around like crazy, all fighting forgotten… Me: “See, you were too busy fighting to see him!” Kids are at this point looking forlorn… then I remind them that Carl the Elf saw them fighting and might be reporting back to Santa. Then they start apologizing I, being a bit of a weenie, tell them not to apologize just to me, but to each other and to the Elf. Lots of hugging, “I’m sorry’s”, and talking to an invisible elf supposedly hiding in the tree ensues.
Then I snicker about it behind their backs.
Last year, they really ticked Carl off (I can’t remember why) and had to make amends by making him new clothes. So we cut out these little clothes and made little shoes and glued and stapled them together — sewing with my boys was totally out of the question. Then we left them under the tree for him. This was great fun for the boys when they woke up and the clothes were gone and in their place was two Hersey kisses. It was a great lesson in giving for them.
The boys have been having issues about not wanting to flush the toilet since they flooded it a couple months ago. They have their own bathroom, so I don’t go in there much. But when I went in there the other day, it was horrible!! The smell was so bad, I had to run and get my inhaler! When the boys came home from school, I told them that they had shut Carl in the bathroom and he almost died from the smell. They were MORTIFIED! I guess the thought of being stuck in their bathroom was even too much to contemplate even for them! We talked about the consequences of not flushing the toilet… again, but this time they seemed to get it better. However, they might be able to make it up to him if we all make cookies together and leave him some. They were totally up for that… after they cleaned their toys up, that is.
I try not to make Carl and excuse to give the kids for good behavior. I want it to be a learning experience in being thoughtful, kind to each other, listening to their wise mother, and bringing a happier more loving feeling into the house. I don’t use it as a way to discipline (okay, maybe sometimes… but only a little), and I certainly don’t use it as a threat. But I think it is important to teach our kids values in ways that they can understand, and since my boys both have some learning issues, an Elf, even an invisible one, is a good way to teach them the consequences of the choices they make both good and bad by adding a new perspective. And contrary to many popular beliefs it is imperative that we teach our children about consequences because that’s life and that’s how we raise responsible adults who don’t feel entitled to everything just because they breathe.
Sure, there is no Carl the Elf… but Christmas is a time for believing in things we can’t see to give us hope. There is nothing wrong in believing in magic… I, myself, miss those days of carefree childhood and waiting up for Santa. My greatest memories growing up were of Christmas time… if I can give that to my kids, than that’s what I am going to do. Besides, Carl the Elf has supplied me with an endless source entertainment, and man, does this mom NEED some laughs.
So, in personal opinion, there is nothing wrong with bringing some magic into your home for Christmas time. We know our kids, we know that one day they will figure it all out… but enjoy this time while it lasts. Make it fun, make it memorable, and make it great excuse to spend more time and do more things with your kiddos. It’s Christmas! Have fun!
I know I am!