No Elf on This Shelf
Disclaimer: I just have to start this by saying that this post is in no way to shame anyone who participates in Elf on the Shelf. Every family has to figure out what works for them and I am in no way judging your decisions.
As soon as December hits (who am I kidding, I start in November), the giddiness swirls inside of me like a festive hurricane. The orange and red leaves framed by the orange and red skies fill up my soul. The crisp air on my nose. Hot chocolate with a candy cane stirrer, nativity scenes, Christmas movies, boots and mittens, driving around looking at Christmas lights, Christmas festivals, Christmas vinyl on my record player, or music on our Alexas, kissing my man under the mistletoe. All. Of. The. Things. Anything Christmas, I am in. Christmastime is my absolute happy place.
While I love all things Christmas and all things magical, Elf on the Shelf is not something that I've ever entertained in having in my house. Mamas, we are tired enough. The thought of staging tiny little messes only to go clean them back up and do them again the next day does not sound fun for anyone except the Devil, who will surely get a kick out of all of the Mama meltdowns that will inevitably happen. I can't even remember what day it is half of the time in December, let alone remember to move the Elf.
But, this is not why we don't have the Elf. We don't have the Elf because I believe my children should behave because they SHOULD behave. Bribes are not a part of our daily routine throughout the rest of the year, and that doesn't change at Christmastime. (I am not on a horse right now though and will admit that yes, at times, bribes have happened. Let's be real. But, they are not the norm.) An Elf watching over the kids, ready to tattle tale to Santa the second they misbehave doesn't send the message that I want to my kids. We do believe in Santa. But, not the Santa who shames people and threatens coal instead of presents. We believe in the Santa who is kind and is selfless in his giving. I have never once told them to behave or Santa will not bring presents. While I do firmly believe they need to behave like they should for the sake of being a good person (and we all know who is watching and his beard wasn't white), we also want to model the grace that God gives us when we screw up day after day. Having an Elf threaten to tattle tale on your every move does not show that grace.
Santa and trees are the undertone to what we are celebrating. Jesus is the reason for the season is not just a catchy phrase. It is the truth. Santa and presents are fun, but it's not what all of this is for. Whose birthday we are celebrating. It's an impossible race to keep up with when your focus isn't on what actually matters.
This year I am excited to making new memories and keeping old traditions. Making Jesus a birthday
cake on Christmas Eve, going to the candlelit service at our church, singing Christmas songs, reading the Christmas story in the Bible, making cookies for Santa, opening our one present on Christmas Eve - pajamas. The real meaning and spirit of this time of year is what we want to keep. If that is the Elf for you, I hope that it is bringing joy to your family and not stress. Your kids will love to do anything with you during the holiday season. Make those memories with them. It doesn't have to be a big fancy ordeal. Snuggling in and reading a Christmas story, or baking together - those are the things memories are made of.
Also, the elf is creepy.