the one about a place for the elves

You know it's getting closer to Christmas when your Facebook newsfeed blows up with photos of precarious little red elves making snow angels in powdered sugar, canoodling with Barbies, and chillin' in the family Christmas tree.

Yes, those elves are far from just sitting on shelves. Every Pinterest-worthy stunt the elf pulls taunts you as you side-stare your kid's elf that hasn't been moved in three days. Or maybe you don't even own an Elf on the Shelf because 1) you're afraid of failing at the art of Elfing or 2) you find it creepy and don't like the look on its face. Maybe a combination of both.

The Elf on the Shelf seems to be quite polarizing (according to my scientific Facebook study). You either love it or you hate it.

Last year, we started the Elf on the Shelf tradition with Noelle. We read the book to her. We named him (Elfis). I looked at calendars on Pinterest with cute ideas for each day of December. We did a couple fun things with it-- most notably, placing Elfis inside the freezer to "catch" Noelle sneaking ice cream bars while we were sleeping. It was all in good fun.

However, when this year rolled around, I felt a little bad about it for some reason. It seemed a little weird this year to tell her that Elfis was watching her for Santa. She's another year older, and she asks questions now, and she's trying to figure everything out in her little world. We already do Santa and the Easter Bunny. One more "character" seemed to just put it over the top (for me).

But because we started the tradition last year, she did ask about Elfis and his return. We couldn't just forget about it and act like Elfis never happened. So, I went searching for ideas on how to incorporate the Elf on the Shelf into our daily December lives without going too far with it.

I came up with this idea. I printed off these little cards. Then I put each one in a tiny little envelope with a number 1-25 marked on it. Elfis would deliver a new card each day until Christmas, sometimes in a new "spot" in the house, and sometimes in the same "spot" as the day before. It wasn't about Elfis sneaking around and spying on Noelle for Santa. It was about Elfis delivering a special card to Noelle each day.

On these cards, there were ideas for family fun, giving to others, or some sort of holiday-related activity. One day, we will make a gingerbread house together. Another day, we will give money to the Salvation Army bucket.

My favorite  one so far was the one that said to have a family dance party. When we were done dancing around like fools in our living room, Luke and I looked at each other and said, "We need to do this more often."

These little cards brought to us by the world's creepiest elf are bringing us together in a month that is pure craziness. The whole family has enjoyed the activities. The best part is that Noelle is waking up each day, looking forward to a new card from Elfis, rather than simply trying to find where the elf is hiding.

Yes, we are still deceiving her by making her believe Elfis is bringing these cards each morning, but something tells me she knows it is us anyway.

Do what you want with your elf. I truly believe it is all for a good cause. You might even decide to put your elf to work on your spouse.

Like this...



... and this.


Hey, it's worth a shot, right?


Whatever you do, have an elfin' good time.


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