He’s outfitted in red and white and pays attention to all your deeds.
He’s polarizing—he’s loved and tradition or hated and judged.
Santa? Nope. It’s the little figure that takes over your Facebook feed, Elf on a Shelf.
I had no clue who or what this was a few years ago and I still see folks scratching their heads wondering where did this thing come from, anyway?
Elf on a Shelf is a children’s book that explains how the elves are sent by Santa to watch over boys and girls and report back to let him know how they are behaving. According to the Elf on a Shelf website, when a family adopts an elf by giving them a name, the elf receives its magic so they can go to work. At night the elf leaves for the North Pole to report to Santa and when the family wakes, the elf is back home, but in a new location the child/ren need to find. Often the elf is caught doing something mischievous. Elves have been also known to share lessons, Bible stories, or even warnings about bad behavior.
The concept has taken off so much that there is also a birthday and reindeer tradition. There’s also an app that gives ideas for the scout elf that can be simple, crafty, silly or messy. Part of the fun is taking pictures of the elf antics and putting it on social media. Another aspect is sharing the elf name. Over the years I’ve read about Joe, Chippy, Sparkles and Buddy.
We for our family, I was skeptical. I didn’t want another product to take away the true meaning of Christmas but our youngest was so enamored with the concept I compromised. Instead of buying the book and original figure I bought a plush elf that was a girl (and in my opinion, less creepy.) Our teen son and I had fun and a little bit of stress trying to put Pinkie Pie in all kinds of situations. There were mornings the youngest found Pinkie Pie on a zip line, in the sink washing dishes, in the bathroom putting bows on the mirror. But she also led a Bible study for the Christmas stuffed animals. Gave out gifts. Wrote encouraging notes.
I realized during the process I looked forward to our daughter’s reaction and her joy was contagious. It pushed me to be creative and intentional. Because she was on the upper end age wise, Pinkie Pie retired after one year of service. But the process surprised me. Sometimes the season is hard for me and this was a way to push past the fog and celebrate the season. We didn’t lose the focus on Christ’s birth. I really have no regrets.
This year we’ve moved on by adopting a family advent calendar. We took turns creating challenges meant to give us family time and situations that encourage us and focus on the real meaning of Christmas. Already I’m glad we’re taking the time for this, but I confess, I’m watching my Facebook feed to see what the elves are up to.
How about you? Does your family have an Elf on a Shelf? What are your thoughts about them?