The journey began nine years ago, when I thought it would be "cute" and "fun" to get my (then) two-year-old the Elf on the Shelf book and accompanying doll. A great way to enhance our Christmas fun and to create a lovely tradition for our children. In truth, while it may have been fun at first, I never really thought it was cute. Look at that face: would you want to think that a creature with a smile like that was watching you every day?
It didn't take long for both The Husband and I to get tired of the "fun." Like the MANY times when we forgot to move the damned thing, so to our kids, and the story became that the elf "really liked sitting up there on tree, so returned to the same spot after visiting the North Pole last night." Or that time when the elf was on the train and our younger son, then around three years old, decided to touch it. The five-year-old Lost.His.Mind. Because (for those of you wise souls who haven't introduced this nonsense to your lives) if you touch the elf it "loses it's magic." From that experience we learned two things: 1. DO NOT put the elf in reach of the youngest child; 2. make shit up to keep your child from worrying that Christmas was ruined. Our elf only lost magic for 24 hours after being touched.
This year is the first time in eleven years when neither child believes in Santa (or the elf).
Having a Magical elf in the house wasn't all bad. Like when I would walk into the room to hear my child chatting with the elf, asking him to give a message to Santa, asking the elf to find out the Big Man's favourite cookie. And there were times when I did have fun with the doll, like when I "helped" the elf make paper snowflakes to hang from the chandelier. And last year when our oldest son found new hangouts for the elf, to give a thrill to his little brother.
This December 1st, we did not have Santa's helper rejoin our family from the North Pole and I was (gotta say it) relieved that we didn't have that daily pressure to be creative. But a few days into the month, my kids asked if we could dig it out from the back of the closet, and we have been having fun with it – placing it around the house, not as Santa's Spy, but as a silly toy.
There were many December nights over the past nine years when both The Husband and I cursed the day I bought that doll, but I'm glad that I did, now that I no longer have to pretend that it's somehow getting into my house every night and creeping around while we are sleeping. The magic in my house may be running low this year, but we are still able to keep the fun of the holidays.