Lately I’ve seen a lot of hoopla about the Elf on a Shelf. Some people love it. Some people hate it. Some people blog about how creative they are with their elf’s hiding spots. Others blog about how they’re slackers and don’t really do much with the elf. Others say the Elf on a Shelf ruined their Christmas (check out the Yahoo article if you can stop rolling your eyes long enough to read it.) Over here, we’re enjoying our elf, who Gia creatively named ‘Elfie’ last year. I don’t think Gia fully understood the whole thing last Christmas. But this year she does and experiencing Gia’s reaction to Elfie has been awesome. It reminds me that Christmas is truly magical when you’re a kid.
We don’t follow all the “rules” with Elfie. Gia is allowed to touch her and play with her. And we don’t really use her for discipline too much. Occasionally we mention that Elfie is watching and really wants to give Santa a good report. That’s about it, though. Mostly we focus on Elfie’s funny hiding spots. We told Gia Elfie would be coming back to our house the day after Thanksgiving and she seemed excited. A few days before Thanksgiving I rummaged around in the Christmas boxes in the basement and found Elfie. After Gia went to bed, Jon and I placed her in a fun spot. (Slacker or not, the first reveal has to be a in a good spot!) When Gia woke up that morning, Elfie was waiting for her. And she was so excited about it. “Hey! There’s Elfie! She’s on the light!” she said, with such awe and wonder.
The next few days were even better. On the second morning, Gia found Elfie sitting by our fireplace and said “Hey! There’s Elfie by the fireplace. Yesterday she was on the light and now she’s over there. Daddy moved her!” Trying not to laugh, I reiterated the concept: at night, after Gia went to bed, Elfie went back to Santa. And in the morning, before Gia woke up, she came back. Daddy didn’t move her; she’s magic!
Well, magic was all I had to say for her to be really, really into it. If she liked Elfie, before I said magic, she loved her after I said it. The third morning Gia looked for her and found her. That one went something like this. “Hey! There’s Elfie on that other light by the couch. First she was up on that light in the kitchen and then she was by the fireplace and now she’s over here on this light. She’s magic!” And the fourth morning? Add “on the banister” to that very long narrative. And the fifth morning, add “sitting in the fruit bowl”. Every time Gia found Elfie, Gia would run through the list of where she’d been each and every day before. I wondered how long she’d be able to remember every single spot. The answer is: about a week. Now she just finds Elfie and hugs her and calls her latest hiding spot “silly”. One of the mornings during that first week Gia had some trouble locating Elfie. She looked for all of two seconds and declared, “Elfie’s not here! She’s gone forever.” Oh the drama! I assured her Elfie came back and that she was just hiding really really well. And then Gia found her, under the coffee table and all was well with the magical Elfie.
Since that first week we’ve forgotten to move Elfie once or twice, and Gia was definitely miffed. She wasn’t happy that Elfie was where she left her upon going to bed. Lesson learned. Keep up the magic! After all, that’s what Christmas is all about!