It’s hard to believe that Chris, our elf, has been a part of our family since 2006. I saw him sitting in a little boutique in Marietta before he ever sat on shelf in Target. Not many had heard of him at that point, in fact, no one we knew had ever heard of him. I looked him over and worried about the cost. He was pretty pricey but, I knew that the kids would have fun with it and so we brought him home. This will be his 9th Christmas that he is spending with us instead of hanging out with Santa at the North Pole. He’s become an integral part of our Christmas preparations and the kids just love him.
During his early years with us he didn’t do much- just moved each night to a different place in the house. Our house isn’t very big so there weren’t many places to hide. It seemed that each year Chris hid in the same places over and over again. The kids didn’t seem to mind or to even notice, but I wanted to do a little bit more with Chris. Turns out, Chris liked to get himself into trouble and loved shenanigans too so we work great together!
While I know that there are many who are opposed to the elf because it detracts from the “reason for the season”, I’m here to say that if an elf keeps your kids from understanding the real reason for Christmas, it’s not the elf that’s the problem, but something even bigger. Anything you use during this time of year can add or detract from your preparations and celebrations. It is up to YOU how you allow it to affect your family and your beliefs. We choose to let Chris add to the wonder of the holiday and the waiting and to reinforce our beliefs and teachings by some of the activities that he engages in.
Now, if your problem with the elf is just remembering to move him or worse yet, laziness, well, I have a solution for you. Here’s a great website to help you through the season with your little helper. It’s hilarious and really pretty much sums up my first year or two. No need to stress, you don’t have to go crazy with your elf! The whole point of the elf is to have fun, if he’s causing you stress he might need to go back to Santa’s workshop to help out there instead.
BUT, if you are like me and you feel like the elf can enhance your holiday spirit and help you prepare for one of the most special times of the year (and you like to do crazy stuff!) then keep on reading because I’m about to share with you what our elf has done (with a little help from me) throughout the years. To say he has added a tremendous amount of joy and happiness to our celebrations would be an understatement.
Chris came this year a little early. Normally he comes each year when St. Nicholas comes to fill the kid’s shoes with candy on Dec. 6th. My kids know that the real Santa Claus is actually St. Nicholas. He comes bearing little trinkets and candy on the 6th and then once again to bring presents to celebrate Christ’s birthday on the 25th. Chris always comes on the 6th and the kids look forward to seeing him. But this year there will be a surprise when St. Nick comes so Chris got to come early. He brought with him a note from Santa reminding the kids of the real reason we celebrate Christmas- it’s not Chris arriving, it’s not Santa coming, it’s not getting gifts under the tree- it’s a birthday- Jesus’ birthday. He reminded them that right now in Advent we are preparing for that birthday. He also reminded them to be good and that he has a special surprise for them. You’ll have to come back to see what that surprise is!
One of the important aspects of Chris being silly and naughty is that the kids have to be good too. They know if they are not that Chris won’t do things that bring a smile to their faces. Some might call it bribery to get them to be good, but I like to call it “incentive in a little red suit”. Over the years Chris has done lots of great things to make their holiday even better. They look forward to it and so they are often better behaved during the holidays. It’s a nice perk to the little guy’s presence here!
We are not a wealthy family, at least not monetarily. In fact, more times than not we struggle to make ends meet. We can’t afford much and so the little things count that much more. I’ve been told I’m an overachiever when it comes to this kind of stuff. But, I can afford to do these little things (seriously, most of what I do comes from the Dollar Tree or is free!) and in the process we are building memories for our kids that they will look back on with love and delight. That is so important to me, especially in a world that takes our children’s childhoods away so quickly!
And so, without further delay, here are some ideas to pass along to your elf to help make those lasting memories for your children too.
In addition to the above he’s made snow angels on the kitchen table, cleaned the kids’ rooms, played with their toys, baked cookies for them, and so much more. He has also sent them letters reminding them to say their prayers, to be nice to one another, to encourage them to put others first in their lives, and to remember that they are blessed. Chris has become a part of our family. The kids miss him terribly when he leaves to go back to the North Pole when Santa comes on Christmas Eve. But in his place they have memories they will cherish long after they discover the truth.