So, I imagine most people know what an Elf on the Shelf is, but for those not in the know: An elf doll (oddly similar to the elf of my youth) shows up in December in holiday households around the world. Every night this little elf goes back to Santa to report on the behavior of the children in the household. The kids know he has made this trip because each morning they find him hiding in a new spot around the house.
Our Elf on the Shelf joined our house three years ago. He is a very kind elf, giving our daughter a sweet present on Christmas eve when he returns to the North Pole for the final time until the following year. But, a couple of things about the elf have changed a bit this year.....
First off.... I have found it is enough of a challenge to get my second grade daugher out to the bus every morning without the distraction of finding a sneaky little elf. Either we need to get up earlier, or elf has to be a little less tricky during the school week. So, as of this morning, we have had a discusison with Elf and I think we have solved that problem. Elf explained that while not hiding in difficult spots, he may be getting into a little more trouble. Now, I am not sure exactly what this means, but if some of the activites being reported on twitter (#elfontheshelf) are anything to go by I am not sure this is a much better solution.
The second thing that has just recently changed is that Elf has a much bigger role in reporting behavior than in the past. We all tended to downplay that activity until this year when my daughter announced that she is "always on the good list" and that Santa "always brngs her what she wants." Hmmmmm, now I think perhaps in the soft, fuzzy world of parenting that I clearly inhabit something of the whole, Santa is watching thing has been lost in translation.
Apparently Santa agrees. Another tradition in our house is the Portable North Pole video from Santa (@pnpsanta) that our daughter gets every year. And yes.... it has listed her on the "nice" list for the last two years running. In fact, the first video we got from Santa this year (which thankfully I had not yet shown her) had her on that positive list. After some reporting by Elf, however, Santa sent a replacement video;
"Oh, no, it looks like you haven't quite made it on the nice list yet. But don't worry, there' still more time to do better." I am not sure who was more traumatized by that video message; my daughter, who I think now really believes Santa might be keeping track, or her warm, fuzzy mom. Either way, it is clear that Elf is taking his role of reporter much more seriously this year
One last note here.... for those of you who may not believe in Santa, elf, etc.... beware. I got a tweet yesterday that Santa was now following me. Call me crazy, but I went back and reviewed all of my twitter feeds. After all, it's not just kids whose holidays could use a little mischief and whose behavior could sometimes use reporting.