The Elf on the Shelf: A Holiday Tradition Your Kids Will Love!

Lights, ornaments, wrapping!  It’s Christmas time, and that means one thing: traditions.  If you have a kid who’s ready to celebrate, then you might consider adding a new tradition with the Elf on the Shelf.

If you haven’t yet met your family’s elf, here’s how it works:  Every year, in order to complete the Naughty and Nice list, Santa sends little elves to homes to watch over children for the weeks before Christmas.  Each night, they travel back to the North Pole to report to Santa.  The elves are excellent listeners and very observant, and take their jobs very seriously, but they like to have some fun.   Each morning, your elf comes back to watch over the family (and might play a few tricks on the kids, too!).

Parents get the fun of hiding the elf each night and watching their child’s excitement as they search for whatever mischief the Elf may have caused the next day.  Sound like more work in a season of stress?  Internet moms all over have got you covered!  There are tons of ideas for elf tricks at Blossom Bunkhouse, Complicated Mama, and Home Stories A to Z.

The Elf on the Shelf was introduced in 2005 and has been on the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly Best Seller’s lists.  The book comes with your own elf, who you can name and register with the official Elf on the Shelf adoption center at www.elfontheshelf.com.  Elves come in different eye colors and have optional skirts (to purchase separately) if your elf is decided to be a girl.   This year, the Elf on the Shelf story has grown with the addition of a new animated feature, An Elf’s Story, available on DVD and BluRay.

Now, I am not a big fan of threatening kids with a Santa-free Christmas (“If you don’t clean up your room, Santa won’t come!” is rarely a threat a parent will follow through with).  If your child is one that takes these type of things very seriously, you might want to check it out carefully before introducing to your child.  However, hundreds of parents report that their Elf tradition gives their kids a little incentive to behave during an otherwise-chaotic season.  My daughter is young and we are hoping that the Elf and his (or her) antics will always be a part of her holiday tradition.

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Brandi Wecks, Editor Brandi is a teacher and writer in the SF Bay Area, where she lives with her husband, daughter and houseful of pets. She has been learning the ropes as a full-time mom to a fantastic kid with special needs. When she isn't chauffeuring to therapy or clinic appointments and tears herself away from the computer, she can be found trolling the baby aisles to test out the newest gadgets. You can read more about her adventures in mothering at www.starringscarlett.com.

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