Whether you love him or hate him, the Elf on a Shelf has become a Christmas phenomenon. If you’re unfamiliar with (almost) everyone’s favorite elf, here is the concept. An adorable little Santa’s helper elf spends his days hanging around your house, and acts as Santa’s eyes and ears. When night falls, the elf travels to the North Pole, bringing Santa his daily report from your home. He returns by morning, choosing a new spot in your home to observe from. Nobody is allowed to touch the elf, or he will lose his magic ability to travel to the North Pole and have chats with Santa.
The first time I heard about the Elf on a Shelf, I was 8 months pregnant with my first child, waddling through a bookstore. I saw the adorable display, picked up the book and started reading about this elf’s special job. I began to think about sharing holiday traditions with this baby that would soon be living outside of me, and then, yes, I was crying in a bookstore.
My oldest daughter is now almost three, and she loves our Elf, whom she named Mimi. She’s so excited to find Mimi each morning, it’s the very first thing she does. We remind her to look way up high, because our Elf likes high places, and she just squeals with joy every single time she finds her. It’s truly magical. She tells Mimi when she thinks of a new present to add to her Christmas list and when she uses the potty. When she needs some redirection, I’ll remind her that the elf is watching – and more than once she has taken it upon herself to tell Mimi that she is definitely being a good girl.
If you hadn’t already guessed, this Mama is totally #TeamElfit. I love our Elf. I hadn’t even considered that there were anti-Elfers, until the past week or so when our Pittsburgh Moms Blog team started chatting about it. I was shocked, and surprised, because there are a lot of really, really compelling reasons to not invite that little guy into your home.
Is the Elf just making Christmas more complicated? Is he just adding one more to-do item to our already long lists? Is he creepy? Maybe. But in the homes of #TeamElfit, he is so much more. From helping to keep our children’s behavior in check, to being a fun way for parents to connect over a glass of wine, to just sharing Christmas joy and magic with our children, there are so many reasons to love the tradition of the Elf. Here are some of our PMB Contributors #TeamElfit stories and photos. We can’t wait to hear yours, too!
“I’m a former elf freeloader. You see, Snowball the Elf had spent Christmases at my sister’s house since her boys, now in their teens, were little. Since my sis watched my kids at her house a few days a week, Snowball took care of them, too! Each night, I could just send a report to Snowball via text message. Well, now that she’s back to work full time, and since teenagers spend so much time in their rooms making them hard for an elf to watch, Snowball was reassigned to our house. The kids were ecstatic when he appeared, complete with a note declaring that “I’m staying with you this year!” one evening while we were all out (admittedly slightly creepy until we realized it was from Snowball…). He’s adjusted well and the kids love having him. Every morning, they jump out of bed and get dressed (without nagging!!!) because they want to go look for him. One of my daughters likes to give him food, which our dog also likes. But so far, the dog doesn’t seem to impact his elf magic, even when she knocks him over to steal his toast. So I’m a #TeamElfit convert, though I’m very glad that we have an older, more mature elf that isn’t much for silliness… he just likes to move to different places around the house. And if that’s all the magic I need to get my kids moving in the morning, then I say ELF YEAH!” – Rachel Moody
“We are elf fans in the Meabon household:) I think people either love him or hate him. For my husband and I we make it a fun holiday tradition. We laugh a lot with our ideas and love watching the amazement and belief on our children’s faces:) I agree that it can be a challenge to remember sometimes…especially after a couple of glasses of wine. Our Elf, Footsie, (yes my kids named him Footsie) has been a HUGE help to the house and parenting!!! I have not had to drag my two oldest kids out of bed for school as they race to be the first to find Footsie and my youngest has been on A+ behavior as he talks about Footsie telling Santa how good he is. So much that every time he shares something with his siblings he makes sure we all know about it:)” – Meghan Meabon
“We are #teamelfit because it’s something small I can do to make the holidays more magical for my kids. I don’t go too crazy with set ups or anything, we just move her and write notes back and forth!! Bonus — it helps to have some incentive for the kids to get along! “Violet is watching!!! And she reports to Santa!!” “– Tricia Nicolas
“We love the Elf in our house. For us it isn’t so much about him reporting to Santa on behavior, but just some innocent family fun that starts our days in silly and joyful ways! I find our mornings have been a lot more productive as our kids are excited to get ready for the day and go downstairs to find the Elf!” – Lindsey Lynch
“Maybe it’s just me… but I love this creepy little guy… only one visits our home starting on the first day of November. He doesn’t bring friends or pets or a change of clothes. He seems to move around a bit in order to have multiple opportunities in many parts of our home to witness someone doing good. He occasionally causes mischief or brings simple joys of the season. Some find him frustrating but for our family, the kids bound out of bed for those 24 days of December even on school days when we are out way too late the night before for sporting events or Christmas concerts. The smile he brings to their not little for very long faces which in turn puts them on ours is so very worth it. I have lived many Christmas seasons without elf as he didn’t appear until my college daughter was well into her teen years, and when she’s home he seems to have extra joy in his places of residence.” – Brandee Rentz
“We just started this year, my kiddos are 2.5 and 3 months. My toddler tolerates it, but I think I’m more excited about Ollie our elf than he is! I taught Kindergarten & First grade and let me say for classroom management having an elf in the classroom was awesome!!!” – Ashli Detweiler
So, are you #TeamElfit or #TeamShelfit? Tell us in the comments!