This time of year always gets me thinking about tradition. Although many families work the well-known Elf On The Shelf into their holiday festivities, mine is not one of them. In fact, just the other day my daughter said to me, “I don’t ever want an Elf On The Shelf. He’s creepy looking”. I completely agree. And the entire meaning behind him is kind of creepy also.
This Elf, who is known for his mischief, acts as the eyes and ears of the household. In other words, “he’s watching you”. What better way to freak a kid out than to constantly remind them of “Big Brother” Elf watching their every move. A friend of mine confessed that her daughter became afraid to use the bathroom for fear that The Elf would be watching her. After that she permanently put the Elf back on the shelf–in the attic.
I’ll admit the concept behind the toy is unique. What I love most is some of the creative things some parents do with this little guy. Kids awaken to discover him hanging from the chandelier. I’ve seen portrayals of a threesome with Barbie and Ken. A photo of a naughty elf hanging his head over the toilet in what obviously was the result of a rough night of partying. Most recently I saw a photo someone posted on Facebook with The Elf duct-taped to the inside of a kitchen cabinet and Buzz Lightyear standing on one of the interior shelves pointing his laser at him. All quite cute and for the most part funny but certainly not for us.
However, my household is not without an Elf tradition. Years ago we purchased a cute little Advent calendar featuring little boxes where a trinket could be stored. Instead of an Elf On The Shelf, we invented an “Advent Elf”. Usually before Halloween my daughter gets an email from Santa telling her who her “Advent Elf” is going to be. One year it was a guy named Huggles. Last year and this year her Elf is “Tootie”. Each night her Elf leaves her a little gift. Sometimes it’s just an encouraging note or a piece of candy. Other times it’s an inexpensive trinket. But each morning my daughter looks forward to discovering a new treasure. The original Advent calendar is gone so now The Elf leaves gifts in a designated Christmas box.
My daughter is ten and I’m not sure how much longer the Advent tradition is going to continue but for now we cherish the memories our daughter’s “Advent Elf” is giving her.