I skimmed an article one time about how Pinterest is ruining the average mother- because the average mother is exceptional (I, often, am neither average nor exceptional). While the article was boring and a little self-righteous about slice and bake cookies, I got the gist of it: this isn't a competition.
This same thought goes along the lines of the Elf on the Shelf. There are calendars to make it "easy" for parents. We won't have to think about where our Elf will sneak off to in the middle of the night, however- sometimes the assembly of the projects is a bit absurd. I am waiting for someone to invent "kits" to make 24 days of Elf antics. But, if you want to win- you have to play. I look at the calendars and see if there is anything I can attack with ease and typically end up not using it.
Our Elf doesn't TP the tree. Because someone would have to clean it up. (cough, cough)
Our Elf doesn't get in the sugar. We live in the south and ants are a year round thing.
Our Elf doesn't get in the way. This house is chaotic enough as it is.
Marshmallow bath? Are you kidding me? I have a 2 year old and to keep her away from a small magical Elf is hard enough. Throw in something sweet and Gurgle will be a goner.
Gurgle- that's his name. Gurgle likes to keep things simple. LMC goes to bed every night wondering where Gurlge will be tomorrow. She sneaks into my room a few minutes after going to bed and says things like, "Mama? Do you remember the time Gurgle put all my stuffed animals in the hallway?" or... "Mama? Do you remember when Gurgle was hanging from the attic string?" or... "Mama? Where do you think Gurgle will be tomorrow? I hope he isn't too cold on his way to the North Pole. I hope he tells Santa what a good girl I was today and not how I whined about dinner."
Niece and Nephew's Elf is named Elfie and he's on the simple track that we are.
"Aunt Wife! Elfie has been in the refrigerator for three days!"
WOW, Niece! He must be hoping you are going to make him some cookie dough.
"We bought slice and bakes yesterday!"
It's the magic of the Elf traveling to the mystical Santa that makes him amazing- not what kind of antics he can deliver in the morning. No matter the set-up, it will hold a child's attention for... maybe... two minutes. Maybe.
And it doesn't have to be hard. That's the thing. I have talked to so many friends who don't have the energy for their Elf to make an appearance. I look at my kids and how excited they are every morning to get out of bed and run find Gurgle that I love that little red hatted pointy eared thing a little more every day.
Even Bennie gets in on the action. She runs to where Gurgle was the day before and puts her hands in the air, "Where Gah-Gul?" She then goes to all the other spots where Gurgle has been, repeating the same phrase: "Where Gah-gul?" When she finally finds him- there is a happy dance, a few spins and several jumps before saying "GAH! GUL! GAH! GUL! MAMAMAMAMAMA! GAH! GUL!"
And y'all, Gurgle is not taped to the wall surrounded by army men or upside down in a box of Cheerios. Cheerios are expensive and they go stale when the box is left open. Gurgle has not scribbled all over someone's face or destroyed a room.
Gurgle is hanging from a picture frame. Or hanging from the flue in the fire place. Gurgle sits on snow globes, finds a hook in the pot rack, or is decorating a chandelier with candy canes. Gurgle has his head out of a cabinet or is sitting on Sprite the Fish's tank. Gurgle sits in the Christmas tree or in a stocking.
Gurgle is not complicated.
One time, he even made a summertime appearance. Just one day. He poked his hat and face out of the cabinet above the oven. LMC told all of her friends and it reminded her of the magic of Gurgle and Christmas. Not to mention good behavior.
Occasionally, when I have had an extra glass of wine (read: not this Christmas)- Gurgle gets tangled in a bead spider web in the hallway. Or he pulls out all of LMC's stuffed animals and lines the hallway with them. Gurgle once found a strand of lights and tried to string them on the window. Those days are when I am not pregnant.
If you have an instagram account- #theelfridesanotherday -
Keep it simple. Keep it real. I only judge when it has to be too complicated to make it a reality. Put your average Elf on a plain shelf. Buy yourself some slice and bake cookies. That's why they invented them.