It’s almost Elf on the Shelf time—are you ready?
“It’s so fun,” they said. “Your kids will love it,” they said.
So you got that darn Elf on the Shelf.
They were half right. The second half.
No doubt, kids love the Elf on a Shelf, $29.95, target. But after about three nights, coming up with yet another clever scene for the elf to be found in—combined with the already insurmountable pressures and to-dos that come with this time of year—can quickly start to feel like a chore.
Whether you’ve already started this tradition and cannot stop, or you’re thinking about joining the bandwagon, er, sleigh, here’s an easy plan of attack to help you survive elfing your shelves:
Create a plan. Just like you would make a shopping list before leaping into Black Friday, it helps to brainstorm a list of ideas for your elf—before he “arrives.” Sit down with a friend or family member or browse the Web and write a list of your favorite, easiest and least expensive ideas. Try to plan them out on the calendar, but leave flexibility and a few super simple ideas, in case you have a particularly exhausting night and need an easy out.
Use Pinterest. Pinterest.com has All Of The Ideas In The World about moving your elf. Create a pinboard and get inspired.
Make a smaller window of time. Why does your elf have to arrive so early? Couldn’t he simply arrive one week before Christmas? Or even three days before? Why complicate things?
Ditch the extras. No extra elf notes. No extravagant scenes. Bottom line: If it’s not fun for your whole family, including you, the added stress isn’t worth it. Find the balance and be realistic.
Find a new tradition. Make your own family tradition that’s completely unique, and then there won’t be the “Pinterest pressure” and fear that you’re not doing enough. Some other ideas:
- A house elf that lives in the tree: Pick up an elf ornament, tiny ceramic elf or a stuffed elf and hide it way high up the tree. Leave one note under the tree or in the mailbox for your child from his or her elf buddy, who watches over them while Santa is getting the workshop running for Christmas. This elf lives in the tree and does not move around, like his shelf-dwelling counterpart. It’s simple but memorable.
- Find a creative way to write a letter to Santa: Here’s a tradition that helps you get outside and go on an adventure. After your children write their letter to Santa, go on a hike or a walk to the park and tape the letter to a designated point: a tree, a bird house, under a rock. Tell them that Santa’s little birdie will come pick it up. Go back the next day to see if the birdie got it. (Hint: Don’t forget to retrieve it later.) This is a one-time tradition that enlists nature and the adventurous creativity of your kids—not just yours.