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#1 of 32 Old 12-07-2012, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wondering if anyone else does a "Christmas Elf" or "Elf on the Shelf"? Any cool pictures to share?

 

I'm surprised at how "controversial" this whole Elf thing is... To me it's just fun with maybe a little mischief mixed in here & there (not everyone likes the mischief and that's cool) and just some extra Christmas "Magic"!

 

Anyone have any cool, easy, fast and "around" the house ideas? 


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#2 of 32 Old 12-07-2012, 06:53 PM
 
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We don't have an "elf on the shelf" but I have an advent calendar for DD that's filled by elves - it's a quilted one with little pockets to be filled anew each year.  It's getting more fun as she gets older - I can put things in like mini vouchers for stuff like "One free mummy room-cleaning" and "skip school one afternoon and go for tea" and other family members can put things in too, like "A day of making gingerbread houses with Auntie Rebecca" and so on.  The elves were late this year; we were supposed to go to Hawaii, so I wasn't going to do the advent calendar, but the Hawaii trip fell through so I hauled the calendar out and filled it while DD was in school - I told her that I locked them in our bedroom and the "concessions" on the vouchers were the result of intense negotiations... I tried to get THEM to clean her room but their union said that wasn't allowed because it was too hazardous...lol.gif

 

So we have elves, but they're not the surveillance kind, they're the unionized-reluctant-gift-giving kind.  They also bring sushi-shaped erasers, lip balm, fridge magnets and other teeny usefuls.


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#3 of 32 Old 12-08-2012, 04:42 PM
 
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No Elf here. I just wouldnt be able to keep it up during such a busy time.id forget to move him. But on fb, I see that moving him isnt enough, now the elves are making snow angels in flour, and hanging with Barbie, and spelling Merry Christmas with alphabits. Nope, couldnt keep up!

I get the controversy though. Some of the elf stuff is TOO MUCH....crazy. and my dd's friend's elf brings presents!! Wth? On FB last night, she posted the matching AG dresses he brought her girls. Too much. The idea is cute, but I do believe some people take it too far.

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#4 of 32 Old 12-08-2012, 05:04 PM
 
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I don't understand the Elf - the idea is that he watches the kids to make sure they behave right?

 

My mom got it for DD a few years ago but my dog (pup at the time) promptly ate him and he hasn't been replaced. We do an Advent calendar filled by fairies/elves too (or mommy depending on the day) and that's enough for me. Finding ways to hide some little stuffie would be too much! Our advent is filled with either adventures or crafts (I watercolored sheets of red paper with different things on them IE: making gingerbread, melting beexwax for ornaments etc..) and I also do little wooden toys (deer) or stickers or sweets. 


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#5 of 32 Old 12-08-2012, 05:19 PM
 
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Ok, how old is this Elf on a Shelf?  I hadn't heard of it till a couple years ago but the impression I get is that it's this tradition that's been around for a long time.  My kids are 13 and 17 y.o., a bit too old.


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#6 of 32 Old 12-08-2012, 06:52 PM
 
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I never knew what it was until recently. With that being said though my mom got one from her mom. We just used it as another holiday decoration. It's probably 60 years old.
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#7 of 32 Old 12-08-2012, 09:00 PM
 
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No Elf on a Shelf here. It's a tradition that somehow missed us. If I had known about it when my children were much younger, I might have engaged in it, but it's kinda late now. 

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#8 of 32 Old 12-08-2012, 09:32 PM
 
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We have one. My 8 yo's friends all had one, so I gave in a got one. I do not understand the controversy! No one I know uses it in a negative way. We just play tricks, leave tiny presents, hide, etc. It's lots of fun for the kids. But it is way too much work! I have to set an alarm at night to remember to move the elf after the kids are asleep. If you plan ahead, it's not too bad...

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#9 of 32 Old 12-08-2012, 10:26 PM
 
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I think its creepy. I would rather also not do Santa. I don't like the idea of being good to get presents from some old guy that watches you all the time. I would rather DD be good for the sake of being good, not getting bribed. I also don't like that's its a lie. DH wants to do Santa. DD will only be 10 months by Christmas so we have some time.

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#10 of 32 Old 12-08-2012, 11:42 PM
 
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Controversial? That's weird. I only know about it from Pinterest. Like a lot of Pinterest projects, it struck me as potentially fun and cool, and also great one-up-womanship blog fodder. :p The sink-full-of-marshmallows thing struck me as slightly unhygienic, too... but controversial? People pick weird things to get up in arms about.


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#11 of 32 Old 12-09-2012, 07:38 AM
 
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Ok, how old is this Elf on a Shelf?  I hadn't heard of it till a couple years ago but the impression I get is that it's this tradition that's been around for a long time.  My kids are 13 and 17 y.o., a bit too old.

 

 

A couple of years, I think it came out around the time DS was born (2005)  I remember seeing an interview with the creators (mom and daughter) where they talked about how no one in the publishing business liked the idea so they published it themselves. Now look at what a sensation it has become.

 

We "elf" but in a different way.  Someone gave DS the set when he was 3yo and there was no way he wasn't going to touch that elf.  It immediately became his best friend.  Now that he is older, I successfully explained to him that most parents don't let their kids touch the elf so he needs to stay at home.

 

DS thinks the book is funny.  The best part of it for him is sleeping with his elf and then going to find it in the morning.  I forgot to "hide" it Saturday and DS declared that he must be sick since he didn't go hide.  DH saved the day this morning with a last minute "hide" as DS was waking up.

 

I had no idea how far some people take this! 


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#12 of 32 Old 12-09-2012, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Controversial? That's weird. I only know about it from Pinterest. Like a lot of Pinterest projects, it struck me as potentially fun and cool, and also great one-up-womanship blog fodder. orngtongue.gif The sink-full-of-marshmallows thing struck me as slightly unhygienic, too... but controversial? People pick weird things to get up in arms about.
That's what I thought too Smokering! I've seen a lot of rants on it...

Although I *feel* that the biggest thing is that people just see it as extra work and are feeling defensive about that...

Which I think is just another parenting guilt that shouldn't exist.

Do the Elf, don't do the elf, simply move the elf around or have the elf get into mischief, have a homemade elf or a store bought elf... None of it really matters. To me it's about fun and just a little extra magic of the season!

Our Elf has done "boring" things like sit in a plant... And more fun things like roast marshmallows... I usually have no real energy to do anything elaborate, everything I have done has taken less than 5 minutes to throw together wink1.gif but if it's not for your family cool! Many of my FB friends wait each night for me to post a picture with the antics "Wilson" (our elf) has gotten up to wink1.gif

I know people that have done elves for much longer than the book has been out. It's my understanding that there were kids from my generation and older getting "Elf'd" in various ways. And I heard of it when my youngest was an infant (book wasn't out then it was just other elf characters they found)... Back then I did think it was too much work and ridiculous but I was really sick and stressed even more then about silly stuff...

Although I can say he is a little creepy wink1.gif

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#13 of 32 Old 12-09-2012, 08:45 AM
 
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Controversial? That's weird. I only know about it from Pinterest. Like a lot of Pinterest projects, it struck me as potentially fun and cool, and also great one-up-womanship blog fodder. :p The sink-full-of-marshmallows thing struck me as slightly unhygienic, too... but controversial? People pick weird things to get up in arms about.

It sounds like the way it's laid out by the book that comes with it that it is kinda creepy. The elf is supposed to report back to Santa about the children's behavior. It sounds very judgmental and conditional. Kids aren't supposed to touch the elf or the magic is ruined. So then if you aren't doing the elf "by the book" but just for fun, it's an issue for anyone who is doing it by the rules. If your child plays with the elf and she has a friend who has been told she can't touch it without ruining it, the two families may have issues with how the other is handling it. Lots of controversy fodder!


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#14 of 32 Old 12-09-2012, 09:54 AM
 
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We never got into the requirement to be good aspect of Santa so don't do anything like the elf on a shelf. I think it sounds a little creepy but kids tend to not make judgments like that.
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#15 of 32 Old 12-09-2012, 09:57 AM
 
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Dp

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#16 of 32 Old 12-09-2012, 09:58 AM
 
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It sounds like the way it's laid out by the book that comes with it that it is kinda creepy. The elf is supposed to report back to Santa about the children's behavior. It sounds very judgmental and conditional. Kids aren't supposed to touch the elf or the magic is ruined. So then if you aren't doing the elf "by the book" but just for fun, it's an issue for anyone who is doing it by the rules. If your child plays with the elf and she has a friend who has been told she can't touch it without ruining it, the two families may have issues with how the other is handling it. Lots of controversy fodder!

I don't like the book. I'm not even sure where our copy is. Our elf doesn't tell on the kids. He does bring notes from the kids to Santa and kids can't touch him. He's just a fun guy. We do some things differently than other families, but the kids all seem to accept that each elf is different. For example, most elves came back Thanksgiving night, but my good friend's elf had to stay back and "help Santa" until Dec 1. It was totally not a big deal.

I will say, though, there is a bit of peer pressure to have an elf. Kids hear all the stories from their friends and feel left out. So that can be a bummer for the kids and parents. Especially since they charge so much for the darn thing!

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#17 of 32 Old 12-09-2012, 10:40 AM
 
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I will say, though, there is a bit of peer pressure to have an elf. Kids hear all the stories from their friends and feel left out. So that can be a bummer for the kids and parents. Especially since they charge so much for the darn thing!

Last year, my son's 10 yo friend was telling him about it (in earnest, he is a "believer"). Telling him how he could ask this special friend for things he wanted and get them. Telling ds he'd ask him to send a friend to our house. I think my ds thought he was talking about some kind of social program and he wanted me to sign him up. I tried to explain to my ds what his friend was talking about but I had to bring it up on Amazon before my ds really understood his friend was telling him about this toy. 


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#18 of 32 Old 12-09-2012, 11:23 AM
 
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We got an elf on the shelf this year. We don't use it as a big brother type character-- he's just a weirdo who engages in mischief while the kids sleep. My kids love him!


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#19 of 32 Old 12-09-2012, 01:17 PM
 
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Controversial? That's weird. I only know about it from Pinterest. Like a lot of Pinterest projects, it struck me as potentially fun and cool, and also great one-up-womanship blog fodder. :p The sink-full-of-marshmallows thing struck me as slightly unhygienic, too... but controversial? People pick weird things to get up in arms about.

I agree, but I cant help but think sometimes, "Yeah, right on!" when I read these little jabs at crafty blogs.  But you're right to point this out.  Thankfully my kids are past most of these things.  Well, I suppose it hasn't gone away, it just gets bigger, more complex and more expensive.  Dd is graduating high school this year (how the hell did that happen?!) so there are graduation-related things to keep track of and pay for.  And organize some sort of grad party. And then if she gets married. Holy cow.  That's kind of the pinnacle of crafty, money spending public displays, isn't it?

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I know people that have done elves for much longer than the book has been out. It's my understanding that there were kids from my generation and older getting "Elf'd" in various ways.

 

Ah, thanks for that.  I think this is what's been confusing me.  So people have had a Christmas elf tradition for several years, but the Elf on the Shelf book came out in 2005. 

 

The only thing similar we do is with the nativity scene.  The barn scene goes in the family room and I put the 3 wise men in the kitchen to start.  Then periodically I move them a little closer to the nativity. I had them show up at the nativity on Christmas Eve until my sister pointed out that they aren't supposed to get there until Epiphany,  January 6.


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#20 of 32 Old 12-09-2012, 02:03 PM
 
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I agree, but I cant help but think sometimes, "Yeah, right on!" when I read these little jabs at crafty blogs.  But you're right to point this out.

Heh... sorry. I shouldn't be cynical. I do a fair bit of Pinterest-inspired stuff myself, and I've been known to spend an absurd amount of time on kids' birthday cakes and so on, so I can't talk. I just feel there's a whole new level of parenting pressure out there now - it's not enough to be a good parent, one must be a creative, fun parent in a billion different ways.

 

You know?

 

Regular mothers ring up the grandparents and say "We're going to have a boy!" - awesome mothers have a gender reveal party with cake pops and a professional-quality photo of the parents releasing pink and blue balloons from a box as they kiss and wear expensive boots.

 

Regular mothers slap together a birthday cake, some lollies and chips, and a few games - awesome mothers have a themed birthday food table in turquoise and red, with vintage-style bunting, ruffle balls, macarons and a selection of arty retro cake stands.

 

Regular mothers say "Look, here's your new little sister!" - awesome mothers create a personalised welcoming-the-new-baby book online, give the new big brother a present from the baby, and photograph the first encounter in black and white with customised bokeh.

 

Regular mothers buy a chocolate Advent calendar or get their kids to tick off the days until Christmas on the calendar - awesome mothers spend 30 minutes a day posing the Elf on a Shelf in a creative, quirky variety of situations involving tickets to miniature train rides, homemade s'mores for breakfast and hand-inked letters from Santa.

 

I wouldn't mind so much, except it's easy to make the jump from "DD would love that" to "I should do that" to "I suck because I'm not doing that" to "I'm a complete failure as a parent". Which I realise is more the fault of my brain than anyone's craft blog. :p

 

I didn't realise Elf on the Shelf came with a book. That puts a new spin on it. The Pinterest pics definitely depict it as a "mischievous Elf who gets into trouble around the house" thing, not a "he's checking up on you" thing.


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#21 of 32 Old 12-09-2012, 02:23 PM
 
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We do Elf on the Shelf -- it's great fun. I don't post about it on FB because it does feel braggy (well, everything feels braggy to me on FB, so I never post anything at all there), but my kids really enjoy it, and so do I! Crafty stuff + lighthearted pranks are right up my alley, and yes, I get fairly elaborate with our EotS, but we keep it to ourselves, so ... no problem that I can see. 

 

We don't do the naughty/nice part of Santa, so we don't do that part of EotS either. We do read the book once a year (boy is that thing poorly written!), but since DH and I never say, "Careful, the elf is watching you!" or anything to reinforce that part of the story, our kids don't really seem to absorb that message. They just see him as a silly guy who sometimes leaves them treats (one day he left a candy cane growing kit where the kids got to plant jelly beans in a bowl of dry oatmeal, and candy canes "grew" the next day) or does funny things (one day he replaced all our stockings with underwear), and they're so excited to get out of bed every day to see what he's up to this time. Fun! smile.gif


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#22 of 32 Old 12-09-2012, 02:55 PM
 
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Heh... sorry. I shouldn't be cynical. I do a fair bit of Pinterest-inspired stuff myself, and I've been known to spend an absurd amount of time on kids' birthday cakes and so on, so I can't talk. I just feel there's a whole new level of parenting pressure out there now - it's not enough to be a good parent, one must be a creative, fun parent in a billion different ways.

 

.....

 

I wouldn't mind so much, except it's easy to make the jump from "DD would love that" to "I should do that" to "I suck because I'm not doing that" to "I'm a complete failure as a parent". Which I realise is more the fault of my brain than anyone's craft blog. :p

 

I agree. It all crazy.

 

My kids are teens, and things have gotten seriously more crazy since they were small. It's too easy to post pictures on line. Bragging has gone to a whole new level. I think moms have always had a fair amount of guilt over not quite being perfect enough, but this living life to take pictures of it so we have have our life on the internet for all to see has spiraled it out of control.

 

When I was a kid, my mom felt like she had done a good job if I took a lunch with me to school. PBJ and an apple were standard fair. When my kids were little, there was a push for more fruits and vegies, whole grains etc. Now moms of young children are supposed to make the food really cute, adorable, then take pictures of it.

 

I think our desire to want to keep up with the other mommies comes from a place of just wanting to be good parents, which is a really good and natural desire. We want our kids to have happy and memorable childhoods.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#23 of 32 Old 12-09-2012, 02:55 PM
 
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Heh... sorry. I shouldn't be cynical. I do a fair bit of Pinterest-inspired stuff myself, and I've been known to spend an absurd amount of time on kids' birthday cakes and so on, so I can't talk. I just feel there's a whole new level of parenting pressure out there now - it's not enough to be a good parent, one must be a creative, fun parent in a billion different ways.

 

.....

 

I wouldn't mind so much, except it's easy to make the jump from "DD would love that" to "I should do that" to "I suck because I'm not doing that" to "I'm a complete failure as a parent". Which I realise is more the fault of my brain than anyone's craft blog. :p

 

I agree. It's all crazy.

 

My kids are teens, and things have gotten seriously more crazy since they were small. It's too easy to post pictures on line. Bragging has gone to a whole new level. I think moms have always had a fair amount of guilt over not quite being perfect enough, but this living life to take pictures of it so we have have our life on the internet for all to see has spiraled it out of control.

 

When I was a kid, my mom felt like she had done a good job if I took a lunch with me to school. PBJ and an apple were standard fair. When my kids were little, there was a push for more fruits and vegies, whole grains etc. Now moms of young children are supposed to make the food really cute, adorable, then take pictures of it.

 

I think our desire to want to keep up with the other mommies comes from a place of just wanting to be good parents, which is a really good and natural desire. We want our kids to have happy and memorable childhoods.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#24 of 32 Old 12-09-2012, 09:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think our desire to want to keep up with the other mommies comes from a place of just wanting to be good parents, which is a really good and natural desire. We want our kids to have happy and memorable childhoods.
I can say I definitely want my children to have a happy and fun childhood...

I know part of the "fun" for me is the fact that I'm not a "player"... Sometimes I for sure sit or lay with them on the ground and play, but it's not my thing... I'm ok with that wink1.gif so for me connecting and fun comes in different ways!

I also think the information highways that make things so much easier to access and learn and do makes lots of these "things" easier to access and do.

But I do think parent guilt can creep in if one isn't careful. I know I feel horrible that I don't take more pictures... And I misplaced/lost my camera this summer... But it's one reason why I love my iPhone. It's always with me. It's easy to take decent photos on the run. I tend to think all parents are doing a fabulous job unless I have a reason to know otherwise... I used to feel a lot of patenting guilt but I learnt to get over it and celebrate the things I can do well and let go those I can't... I wish others could do the same!

And I'm probably bad at the over sharing on FB especially the past few months (before I used to rarely post)... But it's because I'm horrible at blogging and we recently moved far away from family. Posting pics and updates are an easy way to have our family stay connected. I could set the viewing parameters for family only, but I have friends who like to keep in touch as well. I have a few people (not family) right now who look forward to my EotS pics I post each night... Personally I'd rather people just block my profile if they don't want to see anymore wink1.gif

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#25 of 32 Old 12-10-2012, 09:11 AM
 
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I agree, but I cant help but think sometimes, "Yeah, right on!" when I read these little jabs at crafty blogs.  But you're right to point this out.  Thankfully my kids are past most of these things.  Well, I suppose it hasn't gone away, it just gets bigger, more complex and more expensive.  Dd is graduating high school this year (how the hell did that happen?!) so there are graduation-related things to keep track of and pay for.  And organize some sort of grad party. And then if she gets married. Holy cow.  That's kind of the pinnacle of crafty, money spending public displays, isn't it?

 

Ah, thanks for that.  I think this is what's been confusing me.  So people have had a Christmas elf tradition for several years, but the Elf on the Shelf book came out in 2005. 

 

The only thing similar we do is with the nativity scene.  The barn scene goes in the family room and I put the 3 wise men in the kitchen to start.  Then periodically I move them a little closer to the nativity. I had them show up at the nativity on Christmas Eve until my sister pointed out that they aren't supposed to get there until Epiphany,  January 6.

 

This is me, too!  We actually started it only last year, when DS2 went away to school (DS1 has been out of the house for a few years now).  I started Thanksgiving weekend and we'd email the kids photos of the Traveling Wise Men.  They'd be on a map because they got lost, on the bathroom window sill for a rest stop, in front of our desktop gargoyle statue asking for directions.  We'd pose them, snap a photo, make up captions, and send it along.  Epiphany is the goal here, too, but they're still learning to use the GPS.


Empty-nesting SAHM to DS1 (1989), DS2 (1992), and an overachieving mother (1930). Married to DH since 1986.
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#26 of 32 Old 12-10-2012, 09:40 AM
 
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Our Elf ("Birdie") is boring.  He just moves to different places every night and the kids have fun finding him when they get up.  He's not a narc, though, just a fun Christmas thing that visits each December (although, he never arrives on the same day and starting Dec. 1 the kids are excited every day to open the front door and see if he's waiting on the front step.  I put him in a shoe box with a blanket and "trimmed" with pine branches to make it look Christmassy - yeah, that's as crafty as I get!!winky.gif)

 

I do have one FB friend who is over the top with elf photos - heck the woman has a family of them and every night it's some elaborate set up or prank.  Then again she has three perfect children who are impeccably groomed and dressed all of the time, makes "those" cupcakes for class parties (the kind that put normal moms to shame)  creative and fabulous handmade gifts for teachers and family "movie nights" once a week that are themed and decorated for, with "matching" snacks.  I predict a nervous breakdown by 30 for her..... KIDDING!!!  (although it's kind of funny, my RL friends don't know her, but she's become a cult figure of sorts to us and her name has become part of our lexicon ("Hold on, you're baking cookies and bringing them to your husband's work for everyone just because he's a sparkly snowflake???  Are you pulling a "her name" on us???")wild.gif


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#27 of 32 Old 12-10-2012, 10:57 AM
 
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I enjoy Elf hijinks through my sisters-in-law.  Every morning on Facebook they post new pictures of what the elves did over the night.  I liked the time one of them turned the milk green (food dye in the milk). 

 

I have to think this is staged, but it's funny anyway. 

 

http://humortrain.com/post/36874126622#.ULzonyKqbxB.facebook


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#28 of 32 Old 12-10-2012, 03:01 PM
 
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Replying to the original question, I had to look it up.  I like some of the variations people are using, but the watching-and-reporting strikes me as outright Christmas stalking.  duck.gif
 


Empty-nesting SAHM to DS1 (1989), DS2 (1992), and an overachieving mother (1930). Married to DH since 1986.
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#29 of 32 Old 12-10-2012, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaydove View Post

I think its creepy. I would rather also not do Santa. I don't like the idea of being good to get presents from some old guy that watches you all the time. I would rather DD be good for the sake of being good, not getting bribed. I also don't like that's its a lie. DH wants to do Santa. DD will only be 10 months by Christmas so we have some time.

We do Santa here; but he doesn't come because our kids are "good".  For us, Santa is simply a personification of the spirit of Christmas.  At first, the kids just see him as someone who might bring a toy that mom wouldn't. . . or perhaps as someone who brings presents they can find and play with immediately on Christmas morning.  As they grow older, we bring in the Christmas spirit, etc.  Whenever my kids have noticed the song saying they need to be good, or whenever someone mentions it (and the discussion continues), I simply say that they ARE good and that people get carried away.  Also, if they persist (like my youngest) then I just mention that even though sometime they are naughty, they have good hearts and that is what is important.  

 

Just mentioning in case it helps you and your dh come up with a compromise.  Santa doesn't need to be a creepy controlling part of Christmas.

 

Amy


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#30 of 32 Old 12-10-2012, 05:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AAK View Post

We do Santa here; but he doesn't come because our kids are "good".  For us, Santa is simply a personification of the spirit of Christmas.  At first, the kids just see him as someone who might bring a toy that mom wouldn't. . . or perhaps as someone who brings presents they can find and play with immediately on Christmas morning.  As they grow older, we bring in the Christmas spirit, etc.  Whenever my kids have noticed the song saying they need to be good, or whenever someone mentions it (and the discussion continues), I simply say that they ARE good and that people get carried away.  Also, if they persist (like my youngest) then I just mention that even though sometime they are naughty, they have good hearts and that is what is important.  

 

Just mentioning in case it helps you and your dh come up with a compromise.  Santa doesn't need to be a creepy controlling part of Christmas.

 

Amy

 

I agree. I've always told my kids that I think parents made up the "be good or no gift" aspect of it, because I don't think Santa would punish someone for not being perfect. I've pointed out that everyone has their flaws, and Santa isn't angry about it.

 

I loved Santa as a kid, partly because of the whole magic aspect (flying reindeer? So cool! Elves? Awesome! etc. etc.), but also because it was really cool to me that someone who didn't even know me, in person, would make the effort of getting/making me a gift every year. One of the things I've liked about Santa (this is our first Christmas season where all the kids are in the know, so we're kind of done) as a parent is that I don't get the credit for the gifts. I like that my kids think someone just does that, for the sake of being giving to others.


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