It almost happened. Our Elf on a Shelf almost died this morning. Well, I guess she actually did, but no one saw it so it doesn’t count…Let me back up. If your Elf is touched by a human, they then die and lose their magical powers and have to go to some magical elf hospital or something where they can regain their magical elf power of tattling on bad little kids. This morning our oldest girls found our elf, Sprinkles, diving head first into a container of homemade chocolate chip cookies. As I was packing lunches, I hear my toddler yelling “mama, mom!” and as I looked over she was proudly holding Sprinkles in her hand.
Notice the other two children are not around her, however they were standing in the room to the immediate left of the Christmas tree you see in the background. I have to say, I had a heart palpitation. All I could think was if the older girls saw what their sister was doing they would have major meltdowns and I would never get them on the bus and off to school. So, I resorted to my ninja like skills that I don’t have and flew over to the table and snatched the stuffed elf from my toddler and shoved it back in the cookie container. Imagine that, I stole a stuffed toy from my toddler.
Next thing I know, my toddler is at it again, only this time she is foregoing the elf and grabbing for a cookie.
And I let her have it. But the point of my story is not the potential demise of a stuffed elf, it’s the false sense of magic and the lying that comes with it. That may sound harsh, but hear me out. Last year when the girls received their elf, my husband and I thought it was cute, fun and harmless. The Elf on a Shelf has become a trend that parents everywhere have made a into a hilarious game. But more importantly it is used as a way to get our children, mine included, to behave better so that they might get more presents on Christmas day. My husband and I are totally guilty of saying “Sprinkles is watching you…” or “Sprinkles is going to tell Santa on you…” I cringe at the thought that I have said those words.
After thinking about what had just happened, I almost wished that I could have let her hold it just a little longer so one of her sister’s would have seen her. Because this would have been an opportunity for me to explain the true spirit of Christmas to them. Don’t get me wrong, believing in Santa is magical and OK in my book. But we, as parents, feel that Christmas has gotten away from its true meaning. My kids know it is Jesus’ birthday, and they know we receive gifts because Jesus was given gifts on the day he was born. But what they don’t know is why Santa is the one to bring them. And to tell you the truth, I don’t either.
This year with our kids we started something a little different. Each of us will receive only three gifts under the tree. Which in hindsight is a lot considering the people who will have nothing. But the three gifts hold a greater meaning than the big man in red. Jesus was brought three gifts and so we will be brought three gifts. While I am not going to spoil their belief in Santa this year, because after all believing is part of being a kid, we are making a point to draw a bigger picture about what Christmas is all about. And we are refusing to use the stuffed elf as a way to determine what is under the tree on Christmas morning.