Against my better judgement I brought home an Elf on the Shelf three years ago. I like traditions and I thought it would be fun for the kids. In my head it was something I could see them passing down to their children one day and the idea of it filled me with joy. It was also on sale and I couldn’t resist.
It only took about 20 minutes before I started thinking that bringing this Elf home was the WORST MISTAKE I EVER MADE!
For starters, my wife is not into the whole “someone is watching you” aspect of the Elf (Santa is bad enough in her eyes) and she instantly gave me grief. She’s not crazy like the conspiracy theorists who believe the Elf is preparing children for a “Big Brother” society, but she really, really did not want this Elf in our house, on our shelf or anywhere near our children.
Then there was the whole incident with my youngest being scared of the Elf. He was only two when the Elf first appeared and he thought it was going to kill him in his sleep. Needless to say, this caused me more grief mixed with endless nights of sleeping with him so the Elf wouldn’t get him. It also took away an entire room of hiding places as the Elf could never, ever go into his room again.
The nice idea of starting a new tradition was destroyed real quick.
I had a plan to make the Elf disappear one night. “Sorry kids, he was caught in a horrible storm and his sleigh crashed. He won’t be visiting us again.” But I decided that it might be a bit dramatic (and possibly scar them for life) so I persevered.
My older son, who was five at the time, thought it was nice that the Elf visited our house. He came up with the name Coco for him. He really believed that every night Coco went back to the North Pole to give Santa a report on what they did. I kept the charade up and I moved Coco to a new place around the house every night. It was exhausting but kind of fun..
Then I stayed at a friend’s house after a Christmas party one night and Coco didn’t move. Major chaos! “Coco’s dead, daddy!” I swear they cried more over the thought of the toy Elf being dead than they did when our actual cat died. The lies I had to tell ate at me for days. They bought it and Coco continued his nightly move around the house again.
Three years later and it’s the eve of Coco’s return. I believe my oldest caught on to the scam last year but still pretends to be into it for his brother’s sake (or he might just really want to believe – he’s only eight!) My youngest is no longer scared and has prepared treats for Coco’s arrival. In the morning both kids will wake up and quietly walk around the entire house looking to see where Coco is hiding. When they find him, they’ll laugh and run to tell my wife and I where he is. Then they’ll spend the day coming up with stories about what he did all year and they’ll try to figure out where he’ll be sitting the next day.
This is why I’m now okay having the Elf on the Shelf in my home. And it has become a tradition for us no matter how silly it is. Even my wife isn’t that against him, which is a Christmas miracle! I just better never forget to move him again.
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