Yesterday, before a meeting started, a few colleagues and I were talking about the Elf on the Shelf. I shared a recent photo where our elf, Sam, had wrapped our toilet in wrapping paper.
One colleague proclaimed, with a shake of her head, that she didn't know how I did it. Her elf was lucky to get moved each day, sometimes just minutes before the kids woke up. Others nodded their heads in agreement.
I've noticed over the years that the elf has two camps — those who do it begrudgingly and those who truly have fun creating elf antics in their home. And as someone who is in the latter camp, I have felt a bit of shaming for going "all out."
You make the rest of us look bad.
I hate the elf on the shelf. Why don't you?
Your elf is better than mine.
For me, I love coming up with new and fun things for our elf to do. He's decorated the bathroom with glow sticks, been frozen by Elsa, toilet papered our tree, taken marshmallow baths and more. Yes, I'm the mom who printed a calendar and jotted down a few ideas so that nights wouldn't be stressful with what the heck is the elf going to do next?
Even with a list of ideas, some nights it is still a pain. Sure. But lots of things in parenting can be a bit of a pain. My children's delight every morning makes it totally worth it.
And the truth is, most of the "elaborate" antics only take a few minutes. Writing on a milk jug or hiding a few candy canes is not time consuming.
So if you like making tiny pancakes for your elf or creating scenes with toys, do it. This doesn't make you an overachiever mom. It just makes you a mom who likes creating a bit of holiday magic.
And if you are a mom who moves your elf the morning of every day or even forgets for a day or two, that's just fine too. Christmas is not a competition.
I believe part of the joy of Christmas is making memories with our families. For my kids, I hope that when they look back on the Decembers that Sam visited, they will remember how much fun they had looking for him each day.
And if they become parents some day and choose to go all out, I hope they have as much fun making magic for their children as I do every December when Sam returns from the North Pole.