Advertisement

Revisiting Santa: Should We Get an Elf on the Shelf?


On December 9, my girls asked me for an Elf on the Shelf. And although I immediately guffawed, rolled my eyes and said “NO WAY,” because it’s 2020 I had second thoughts as soon as the “no” left my mouth and the request had time to settle. If they’d asked in late November or maybe even earlier in December would I have given in, added to cart and clicked “buy now”?

My hesitations about introducing an Elf to our holiday tradition are varied; mainly I don’t want the extra work or to confuse my girls further about what’s real and what’s just something fun to pretend and imagine. I’m not sure about the idea of someone (something?) watching the kids and reporting to Santa on their behavior or if that’s developmentally a good thing. The surveillance aspect is a true objection to the Elf idea. 

HOWEVER, from the outside, Elf on the Shelf looks like an ideal #ExtraMom activity, and I definitely identify as an extra mom in some ways. One good example is that I make my girls’ school lunches every day, including a post-it note sketch (and a joke for my third grader most days!). A friend told me that’s just “making more work for yourself,” and definitely it is unnecessary (just like the Elf!). But just when I think I am extra and/or killing it, I do something like forget to tell my third grader she’s allowed to pack a small stuffed animal on pajama day for the last half-day of school, so my level of extra varies for sure!

In the same Elf conversation, after I’d ranted about why I didn’t want to do such a thing, including talking about all the social media posts I’d seen of people excited they could put the Elf in quarantine for the first two weeks of December, my four year old asked me “Mama, is Santa real?” And I didn’t know how to answer that, even though my husband and I made a conscious decision to not celebrate Santa in the traditional ways.

I was much higher and mightier when my firstborn was younger, navigating Christmas with more intentionality. I told her preschool (and Sunday school) teachers, starting at age two, that we don’t include Santa in our Christmas celebrations. But I haven’t even thought to say such a thing to my younger daughter’s teachers, and we’ve just rolled with it. I want to be honest with my girls, but I also want them to experience wonder and magic at Christmas, and to understand references as they navigate their lives at school and with friends.

Do you include an Elf on the Shelf in your holiday celebrations? Maybe I can find an Elf on clearance for next year and modify or leave out the idea of the Elf spying and reporting back to Santa? Do you have a favorite Elf idea you could share to inspire me possibly, maybe jumping on the bandwagon? (As long as it’s not that picture of bones joking that Santa ate the Elf–that creeps me out!) There are lots and lots of elf shenanigans ideas to choose from on Pinterest, and I do love a good project…

Be the first to review this item!


Bookmark this

20 Dec 2020


By Mari Walker

Recent Articles more articles

Have We Become a Gaming Family?

in Family Life, Mari Walker

Christmas 2020 looked super different for our family, and as parents, my husband and I did something that we probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. We fulfilled our nine-year-old’s request for a gaming system, specifically a Nintendo Switch. She had

Wiggles of Excitement

in Health and Wellness, Family Life, Amy Delaney

“I have a wiggly tooth.” That is all–a simple statement of fact shared during a school day discussion. After spending time with Little Bud for virtual learning, I have learned that a loose tooth in the world of a six year old means the world. It is l

New Year, More Me

in Health and Wellness, Family Life, Ellen Mecholsky

Today, I was walking with my dog and thinking about New Year’s resolutions. I love the starting over of a new year. I have always felt its metaphorical power and been drawn to the idea of a new beginning, another chance, a reset button. From the time

Cinemark to Celebrate Everyone’s Favorite Cinematic Snack with Popcorn Fest

in Local News

Popcorn lovers can savor discounts at open Cinemark theatres and enter for the chance to win free popcorn for a year.

Featured Listings more listings

Balloonatics of Baton Rouge

Balloonatics of Baton Rouge

in Party Entertainment

For your child's next party, Balloonatics of Baton Rouge has just the entertainment you need to take your party to the next level. They provide balloon twisting entertainment and/or facepainting, as well as amazing balloon decor that will surely add

Advertisement
Newsletter