Start a New Tradition & Adopt an Elf for Xmas

December 05, 2012
Elf on the Shelf powered by KonaSeeing the joy on your children’s faces during the holiday season is enough to make even the Grinch warm and fuzzy inside. But did you know that this joy could also extend to you and give you more than just a few weeks of enthusiasm and angel-like behavior from your little ones? Enter Santa’s eyes and ears of Christmas and the Elf on the Shelf. Santa puts his elves up for adoption; this is where you come in. You adopt your special elf, give him/her a name and read the storybook as a family. The elf then becomes magical and a part of the family every year at Christmas time. Each night the elf reports your child’s naughty or nice behavior to the big guy at the North Pole and before the family awakes each morning, it returns from his visit in a different spot for your child to find. This has become a holiday tradition in my household and from one mom to another; it’s one that works wonders, so here’s my story and some tips on how to really get the most out of it.

2011 was the inaugural Elf on the Shelf year for my family.  My then 3 year old named our elf Roxie.  For reasons unknown, she later tried to change the name to “Crystal Clear” but we guided her into keeping the original, much cuter, name.

Lessons learned from that first year:

  • Roxie needed to be placed high and out of reach.  Our daughter was far too tempted to touch her.  This, of course, limited our placement of Roxie and it didn’t help that the elf’s hands are stuck together.
  • Our daughter did not like when Roxie played with her toys, effectively putting those items out of commission for the day.  She would suddenly have a burning desire to play with those exact toys.
  • In terms of behavior modification, it was only effective when our daughter was in direct view of Roxie.  She was excited to find where Roxie had landed each morning but then Roxie was “out of sight, out of mind.”
  • Since our niece and nephew’s elf appears the day after Thanksgiving, ours had to arrive at the same time for consistency.  This meant we had many, many days to move Roxie around.  As it got closer to Christmas, we would forget and have to employ distraction where one parent moved Roxie furtively and the other kept our daughter preoccupied.

This year we have the power of Kona and the addition of a 7 month old son.  He’s not yet mobile but could be crawling by Christmas at the rate he’s going.  My husband and I already have a space in Kona for family management so it was a natural fit to set up a “Move Roxie” reminder and a conversation for location ideas.  I’ve also bookmarked some creative ideas I found on the web and Pinterest.

2012 so far:

  • Our daughter is really into not touching Roxie this year.  She has gone to great lengths to prove that she could touch Roxie if she really wanted to but won’t because she doesn’t want her to lose her magic.  This does widen our locations considerably which is great news for us.  Only 20 more days to go!
  • We’ve implemented talking to Roxie about the kids’ nice and naughty behavior so that even if Roxie isn’t in direct eyesight, she still has all the facts to report to Santa.  Our daughter is really concerned about the naughty list this year.  She is usually a loving, if overenthusiastic, big sister but in her haste to climb onto the couch she kicked her brother in the head “because he was blocking her path.”  This infraction earned a swift timeout but also devastated our daughter because “I was naughty so I’m on the naughty list, and there’s no way off.”  This has opened up some really interesting conversations about being a nice person overall and trying your best.
  • We’ve already had one incident where Roxie fell off her perch and landed on her back.  Our daughter declared that Roxie was sleeping and no longer watching.  Uh oh!  Somehow Roxie mysteriously woke up and reclaimed her place.  No sleeping on the job!
  • I love that Roxie’s existence encourages good behavior.  For example, our extremely picky eater ate 10 green beans at dinner and couldn’t wait to tell Roxie.

Good luck with your elf!  Here are some really cute ideas I’ve bookmarked that might help you move your elf around:

What are your tips and tricks for the Elf on the Shelf?  Where is the best location or scenario you’ve put your elf?  Do you find it motivates good behavior for your f

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