How we’re handling “the elf” this year… (days 1 & 2)

Well, we managed to successfully migrate off of the “Elf as Santa’s spy” thing a few years ago but then we were at a bit of a loss for what the Elf, Simon’s, purpose was.  In the last few years, we’ve come up with some good ideas and I like this year’s the best…

simon-the-elf-anticsThe first year, the Elf did lots of fun pranks.  My husband was really the superstar of that year and even had some pictures of our elf that were for parents eyes only due to mature content.  But the elf did all kinds of things that were cute and funny and harmless.  He wrapped the toilet tank in wrapping paper, turned all of the pictures in the house on their side or upside down, was found in a crystal glass in the china cabinet with a few crumpled up apple juiceboxes, wrote on the bathroom mirror (graffiti style) and put Post-its all over the house saying “Simon wuz here”.  There were lots of antics that year.

The next year, with the parents AGAIN caught off-guard (hello?  this happens every year!) we turned to what we had in the house: books.  Each day, our elf brought the kids a book to read–but it wasn’t always a new book.  You see, we have LOTS of books and Simon often just picked one that the kids hadn’t read in a while or one of his favorites.  Once in a while, he might bring a new one–but no matter where the book came from, it was one that everyone read together.  I really loved that.

This year, Mama has an awful lot on her plate.  With Husbeau’s job ending (and no new job lined up yet) and her own health being more deeply investigated due to some alarming symptoms–it’s just a lot.  Mama’s been grumpy and less engaged which leads to children whose behaviors are less than ideal.  All of it could be a vicious spiral downward and it needed to stop.

The house is a mess and I was planning to use our would-be advent calendar to clean different parts of the house each day up to Christmas.  To be honest, Elf on the Shelf was about the last thing on my mind.  But have you met Girly? (you can see some of the “mature” elf pics there as well).  Thanksgiving came and went, and suddenly she was looking for the elf.  This was only further encouraged by the new neighbor’s daughter ALSO looking for HER elf.  I decided to use this to our advantage.  Simon to the rescue!

Simon showed up on December 1st… by way of a letter to the kids found on the printer.  The letter detailed that the kids had a SECRET MISSION (and they would have one each day).  Their mission on the first day was to not talk about toys.  AT ALL.  The letter talked about how talking so much about toys they wanted was hard for mom and dad–especially mom who didn’t have as many toys in her whole life as they had in the house now.  It also made their toys feel like they weren’t really loved any more and encouraged them to start looking at their toys to see which ones “needed more love” and could maybe be offered to a child that grew up poor like mommy.  Everyone would be happy!

Girly. could. not. contain herself.  She was SO good.  She nearly burst at the seams all day wanting to tell me about her secret mission.  I have adults like this in my life–the kind that buy you a present and cannot wait until the occasion to give it.  Girly is going to be that person.  But she really did great with it.  I’m so proud of her!

Today, their secret mission was laundry.  We JUST moved to “every many for himself” on the laundry front and it has not been fully implemented yet.  So today had some really specific instructions.  Currently, there is a trail in the carpeting from where they dragged a laundry basket from my closet to the stairs.  #winning

Now I need to craft the next 22 days of letters from Simon.  They will be a combination of cleaning and goodwill and connection.

Let’s see how THAT goes…

Do you have an elf?  What’s it’s name?  What’s it’s purpose?  Share in the comments!

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