It’s almost time for that Elf on the Shelf to fly back from the North Pole creating mischief in your home. Do you feel the Mommy peer pressure to post your Elf doing crazy shenanigans on social media? Do your children compare Elf on the Shelf stories with their friends and cousins? Do you wake up and leap out of bed in the middle of the night because you forgot to move the Elf? Remember, Elf on the Shelf only magically appears day after day for 24 days… if you let him. Unbeknownst to many, Elf on the Shelf visits are not required for your children to enjoy a magical Christmas.
A Mom’s Perspective – How Not to ‘Elf on the Shelf’
Even if an Elf never visited your home, once your little one starts school, she will learn about Elf on the Shelf either from a friend or a teacher. Many teachers have an Elf fly in from the North Pole after Thanksgiving break – a Classroom Elf. This Elf makes sure the students are still focused on learning those couple weeks before Christmas break. This is where my daughter learned about Elf on the Shelf – kindergarten.
Read More: Christmas Traditions from Around the World
Even though she had a 14-year-old brother at home, we did not have an Elf. My son was born in 2001 – the Elf on the Shelf book was published in 2005.
Low and behold, the kindergarten teacher read the Elf on the Shelf book to my daughter’s class in 2015. They even watched the Elf on the Shelf movie. The students took turns talking about their Elves’ names and what crazy stunts the elves did at their houses. My daughter came home confused, asking why an Elf did not visit our home.
I responded quickly. Santa only sends elves to check on kids on the Naughty List or ones to who he is not sure on which list they belong. You and your brother are so good Santa does not have to send an elf to check on you. He knows you are on the Nice List.
Why is there an Elf at school? she asked. (I wanted to know the same thing. Why was the wonderful, bubbly kindergarten teacher introducing holiday magic and traditions in the classroom? This is not her place.)
Turns out every teacher in the entire elementary school had an Elf fly-in after Thanksgiving break from kindergarten to fifth grade. It helped reinforce good behavior in the younger grades. Turns out the Elf on the Shelf creators added a Teacher Resource Center to their helpful website with free lesson plans that tied right into Common Core State Standards for kindergarten through fifth grade.
How I actually responded… Well, are there any naughty kids in your class? Oh, yes. Logan and Jacob do not listen or follow directions.
Yep, they must be the reason that Santa sends an Elf to school so he can check on those children to see if they are working on doing their best and being good even at school. Yeah, that’s it. That’s why there is an elf at school.
Elf on the Shelf Peer Pressure for Moms is Real
I should have said we have an invisible elf or that the elf that comes to our house is super sneaky. But, I didn’t. I said, Santa only sends elves to naughty kids’ houses.
Read More: What is Operation Christmas Child?
Of course, all children misbehave from time to time. Even mine. So, year after year, my daughter would ask, why one of Santa’s elves does not visit our house. My niece and the girls in our Girl Scout troop asked, why my daughter did not have an elf. They felt so bad for my daughter.
I couldn’t tell other people’s children that Santa only sends elves to naughty children’s houses. I danced around the answers so many times. Eventually, I was stuck.
When my son was in his difficult teen years and my daughter was in second grade. Santa sent an Elf to our house on Dec. 1 with the Elf on the Shelf book and a note written to both of them from Santa that listed out a few naughty things he knew they had been up to. Santa put them on notice that they needed to straighten up if they wanted to move back on the Nice List before Christmas.
Now my son being nine years older than his sister knew it was his job to do his part to make Christmas Magic happen, or else there would be no Christmas Magic for him. So, we told our 17-year-old son he needed to act better to be an example to his sister and be creative with the elf.
And, so he did. It was magic. Our son really got into the Elf on the Shelf shenanigans making zip lines for “Frisbee Z” (our elf) and coming up with unique hiding spots. He even started helping around the house and behaving better. And, now the tradition continues.
Elf on the Shelf Teaches Families the Joy of Christmas Magic
So, although it is not required to Elf on the Shelf, our family learned to see the joy, regardless. Our son now comes home from college break and takes over the Elf on the Shelf shenanigans through Christmas Eve. He and my husband try to outdo each other on creative stunts and hiding spots. Our Elf brings a tiny gift on the first night he comes – last year it was Pokemon pillowcases. Other than that, the Elf on the Shelf tradition costs no money to keep going year after year. It is a simple, creative way for families to enjoy the season and create Christmas Magic for each other.
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