Elf on the Shelf is something I started doing at my house 3 years ago. I had read some articles about it and thought it looked like a fun new tradition. I was naive….. The first 2 years Elf on the Shelf (EOTS) was a LOT of work for me and actually caused me more stress during the Christmas season. I think that all moms would agree…we don't need more stress during the month of December!
I actually considered just stopping EOTS all together. BUT…..I knew my youngest child would be very disappointed. She really looked forward to finding the Elf each morning. So last year I decided to take a different approach to EOTS and it helped a LOT!
Here are 5 ways to make Elf on the Shelf work for you and help take some of the stress out of this fun tradition.
1. Stop Comparing Your Elf's Antics to Other Elf Antics
I will be totally honest….our Elf may not be as “playful” as other people's elves are. That is OK….the chances are pretty good that your children who are really “into” the Elf are not “into” social media yet! They have no idea that every other mom on Facebook has posted the most adorable pictures of their Elf getting into all sorts of trouble! The first 2 years I felt like I was not living up to all that EOTS could be…..the reason I felt that way was because I was comparing myself to other people! I finally realized that was CRAZY. My kids were happy each morning with what our Elf was up to. They never once mentioned how great their friend's Elf was and how pathetic their Elf was. Why was I allowing myself to ruin a fun tradition with comparisons?
2. Plan Ahead
Last year I decided in November to get a game plan of what my Elf would be up to in December. I looked on Pinterest, looked online and got ideas to last all month. I didn't have to scramble each night or early morning to decide what my Elf had done that night. I believe that by taking some time in advance to plan ahead you will save yourself a LOT of late-night stress!
3. Give Yourself Some Wiggle Room
Our Elf doesn't always appear the day after Thanksgiving…or even the 1st day of December. I may wait until a week into December for the Elf to arrive. This is YOUR family's tradition….you can do it YOUR way! Maybe your Elf only moves every other day or only on weekends….it is OK! You don't have to plan a three-ring circus every night if that is too much for you.
4. Make an Elf on the Shelf Box
There are different “things” that I need when doing EOTS. It may be red & green M&M's….it may be cotton balls or q-tips….there are so many items you can use to have fun with your Elf….I have found that by having a EOTS box I can be even more organized. Because I have been planning ahead and I know what my Elf will be up to…I will know what items I will need. I can gather what I have around the house and put those items into the box…I know what I need to go buy and put in the box. This will save you a lot of time during December. Just grab your box and create fun!
5. Have FUN
This whole Elf on the Shelf phenomenon is about FUN! I don't use the Elf to control my kids….I just like to see their faces when they get up and start searching for the Elf. I like knowing that I am doing a little something extra to make their month fun and memorable. If you are having fun with it then so will your children.
If you are an Elf on the Shelf supporter, I hope this article has helped give you some ideas to keep this tradition from adding to your load during the busy month of December! I would love to hear how you make EOTS work for you!