Shh…I Actually Like Our Elf

Christmas is by far my favorite holiday. It’s this purely magical time. Of course it’s magical for kids, but I seem to have never lost my love of or excitement for Christmas.

Like most families, we hopped on the Elf on the Shelf train. We have a festive, sometimes mischievous, elf named Ginger. She comes to our house every year the day after Thanksgiving.

Our elf usually brings something with her, for the kids, to kick off the season. Her past gifts have included books, movies, Christmas socks, Christmas shirts, and Christmas jammies. Not all of these things every year. Maybe just one thing. This year she brought coordinating Christmas jammies (that she bought on super sale) and a movie (that she bought early last year and then forgot about when Thanksgiving rolled around). Basically she brings them something they can enjoy the whole season.

Unlike most other moms on the internet, I actually like our elf. And I’m willing to admit it. That’s a bonus point for me. Of course I do hate when I forget to move the elf. That panic every parent gets at 6 a.m., when she suddenly wakes up and realized the elf is exactly where it was the day before and her children are no longer deeply asleep. Been there. Done that. More than once. It certainly will happen again this year. This year our elf has been consistently relocating at 3 a.m.

Despite the occasional panic, I still love our elf. My children are filled with pure excitement beginning a day or two before her return. She makes Christmas magic real for them. She is their direct link to Santa.

Good Points

Every morning there is excitement about finding Ginger. Where will she be? What will she be doing? Some mornings they even work as a team to divide and conquer. A system of, “you check the living room and I’ll check the kitchen.”

Our elf can make my job a little easier. She has nearly eliminated the need to “call Santa.” My children are required to self report bad behavior to Ginger. She then decides what to do with the information. On the flip side, they can’t wait to tell Ginger when they have done something good. I will make comments all season to remind them Ginger is listening and to estimate she is going to be very busy reporting all their fighting to Santa. But as a total, it’s pretty light lifting on the parenting front when she is around.

Not Great Points
I admit, it’s a struggle to figure out new spots for Ginger. Not that she does something new every visit. There are some spots she uses every single year. Heck, some years it’s hard enough just to make sure she doesn’t duplicate any of current year’s spots. It also is extra challenging the years we have toddlers who don’t know not to touch the elf. When all the spots have to be out of reach, creativity is limited.

At least I’m not an extra mom. That would be overwhelming for me. Occasionally, Ginger does something straight out of a Pinterest board. But most days she is pretty basic and hanging around. If I felt the need to be a super Pinterest-y mom, I think my affection toward our elf would have waned by now.

Final Ruling, the Elf is Cool
In mom circles, as the elf bashing starts, I will take a step back. It’s not that I won’t admit I like our elf, it’s more I don’t want to be the odd mom out.

Our elf tradition began when my oldest child was 3, she’s now 10. So this is our seventh season with Ginger. And I’ll possibly have another eight or nine years with her—my kids are 10, 6, 3 and 3. I do look forward to the days I might have elf helpers. I hope my oldest might want to help with elf relocation when she is a teen. Either way, I still have not hit the halfway point of elf visits at my house.

It’s fine. I secretly predict I will continue to move the elf when none of my children believe. I love how she enhances the season for my brood. Although, if I’m being honest, I am surprised my 10-year-old isn’t more skeptical. She has started asking more questions about how things work. This is at least the second Christmas season I’ve entered thinking this will be the last year she believes. But for now, all of the children believe in the magic of Christmas, and to me, that is priceless. I know Ginger is a big part of that.


Author: Momming Good Bad Ugly

Leslie is a stay at home mom of four - two girls and two boys, including a set of twins. In another life she worked in healthcare public affairs, and spent the her first seven years of motherhood working outside the home. Motherhood is nothing like she anticipated. She began writing again to both process the curve balls her children throw, and to drown out a decade's worth of animated programming.

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