Friday, December 14, 2012

Elf on a Shelf? Pshaw! Mama's Elf!

The Elf on a Shelf phenomenon has been around for a very long time, but it's popularity jolted a new life in 2005 with a book written by a mother and daughter Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell. The described tradition of The Elf on the Shelf usually begins around Thanksgiving and lasts until Christmas Eve, when the elves return to the North Pole until the next holiday season.

Christmas shelf elves were made in occupied Japan since at least the late 1950s. These elves are referred to today as "knee-huggers" and are clearly marked with a 'Made in Japan' sticker. I remember my grandmother putting some of these out at Christmas time. I always thought they were so cute and charming and petite and sweet.

I really love looking at all the Elf on a Shelf escapades my friends post Elf in a cookie Elf hiding in a Elf swimming in a bag of marshmallows. The thought of the kids' faces when they discover what their Elf had gotten into that day is just adorable to me.

I don't have little ones anymore. They are sixteen and almost nineteen. There was not Elf on a Shelf when they were teeny. But that didn't stop me from keeping the spirit and magic of Christmas alive with them! I came up with this on my own when my girls were very little. It was a way to get them excited about Christmas and a way to get them to keep on their toes with good behavior!

Every year after Thanksgiving it would start. I would pick up my girls from daycare, bring them home and while preparing dinner I'd say, "You know what happened today?" They would almost instinctively know what was coming, and they were excited! They knew my tone and sat with eyes and ears peeled for the next line, "There I was....minding my own business and I heard it.....jingling bells!" They would look at each other almost hardly able to contain themselves.

"THE ELF!!! OUR ELF, MOMMIE!!!!" was their elf. Every year after Thanksgiving I would get a visit from my girls' Santa assigned Elf. He would show up while I was running errands, or at the grocery. And the first sign that he was there was the sound of the jingling bells on his pointy shoes.

He would always let me know that Santa's been keeping an eye on the girls and the elf would point out what they've done good and any naughty tendencies they may have. I would relay the Elf's message to my girls and they would ooohhh and aaaahhhh that Santa knew what they were up to.

No matter how many times I tried, I could never get a photo of the Elf....he was just too darn quick for me! He would make a few more surprise visits to me and then a letter from Santa would come right before Christmas letting the girls know how excited he is to visit and leave presents and gobble up some nommies....and to remind them to please leave a fruit or vegetable for the reindeer to snack on.

Now that they're older, I miss doing all that. I really miss it. It's a sad day when your babies no longer believe and even sadder when someone totally ruins the magic of the holiday for your child.

So, until the time that I become a grandmama, I will live vicariously through my friends with little ones. I will also annoy my own children to death with nonsensical Christmas fantasies to see how far they will go to humor me.

Merry Christmas!

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