I’m just going to say it and let the judgment begin… I love Elf on the Shelf.
There, I said it.
I know many of you are going to say that Elf on the Shelf is using a toy to do your discipline and kids should be good because they are supposed to, not because an elf is reporting back to Santa. And that’s true. However, that’s not why I have Elf on the Shelf.
I have it because it’s fun and embodies everything awesome about Christmas – the magic. You should see my daughter’s excitement each day when she runs down the stairs to find where Ally the Elf is hiding. She spends hours making drawings and writing letters to Santa telling him all about what Ally the Elf saw that day and leaves them by the elf so they can be delivered directly to Santa at night. And she asks every day if we can read the book about Elf on the Shelf before she goes to bed so she can remember all the details about Ally and how to take care of her.
Christmas is a time for believing in things that you cannot see or touch – believing that there is magic that can appear on your roof, or down your chimney. It’s the same magic that’s there when a child finds a coin under their pillow after losing a tooth, or when a golden egg is hidden by a mysterious large bunny at Easter. It’s believing in a world that is so wonderfully imaginative that only a child can truly see it and believe in all of its truth. I love that during the holidays, when we bring out Ally the Elf, my 4-year-old daughter makes me a kid again. Each morning she gets up with a new sense of excitement because she knows that Christmas is one day closer. And not a Christmas filled with getting presents, but a Christmas where she gets to make cookies for Santa and finally get to hug Ally. (We threw that part into the story because all my daughter wanted to do was hug her one last time before sending her back to the North Pole.)
And yes, we do sometimes say that, “Ally the Elf is watching.” However, that’s not how we teach our children how to behave – we do that in our actions and example each day. Ally the Elf is there as a bit of reinforcement for us, not as our main source of discipline. We teach her everyday about how she should behave – not because anyone is watching, but because it is what makes her a good person. Not only do I think so, but I’m pretty sure that Ally the Elf would agree. And hopefully Santa.
Danielle Herzog is married and a mother to two children. Read her every Wednesday on momaha.
Do you have an elf on your shelf? What are some of your funny and mischievous ideas for hiding your elf?
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