Well, here we go. The beginning of a hopefully long lasting family tradition, our own version of Elf on a Shelf. We've taken the tradition and find tweaked it to fit our family and how we celebrate Christmas. For one thing, I have never liked the "You be good because Santa is watching and you won't get any presents." threat. I would much rather my children choose to make good choices in their behavior based on their own merit, not the threat of less toys come Christmas morning. So our elf is here not to report back to Santa about our misdeeds or positive behavior, but to help us prepare for the holiday and Baby Jesus's birthday. Another thing we have taken liberties with is the rule in the original book that the children must not touch the elf or there is the threat that the magic won't work. We have certain decorations in our house certainly that are carefully put up to be admired but not touched, but I don't feel that something that is this much centered around the children and their imagination and fun should be one of them. So the boys have been informed that our elf very much enjoys hugs and kisses as long as they are done with loving hands. He's already part of our bed time routine, watching over them carefully while they brush their teeth, and it's only now the first day.
After those minor tweaks and a couple more, I can say that I am not as anxious as I was just last night about introducing this particular tradition into our household. In fact, I am quite having fun planning out the different antics that our resident elf might get into this month leading up to the most blessed of holidays.
Our elf was placed carefully in the tree, nestled between ornaments and lush green branches and holding on to a letter he wrote special for the boys, where he was found quite early our first morning, smiling up at his new family with enthusiasm. He was met with just as much enthusiasm, especially by Parker, and we snuggled together as a family to read the book (complete with Mommy's alterations) and come up with a name for our new little friend.
It was a close thing. Several names were thrown out that Daddy and I had to gently direct away from, knowing that they would be favorites now, but might seem a bit odd in another ten years. Though "Tiger", "Darth Vader", and "Han" would all probably be unique to the Elf of the Shelf world, we finally came to and agreed on "Luke" as a suitable name for our little pal. At Parker's insistence that he have a middle name too, we picked "Jeremiah", though I haven't registered him at Elf on the Shelf's website yet, knowing that Parker might have come up with a middle name he likes better by morning. He is three after all.
After a fun filled day getting acclimated to our family, and reading the book a couple more times, Luke was hugged and kissed thoroughly before bed time. (And tossed off the bed once by Sebastian, though I assured him that Sebastian was just trying to see if he could fly like Parker insisted he could.) Then it was time to figure out what fun thing he was going to do this evening for the boys to discover in the morning.
The internet is an amazing place, and the ideas for Elf on a Shelf, especially somewhere like Pinterest, are endless. I do want to stretch my own levels of creativity too however, (and Luke agrees with me) so I am hoping that we can come up with some good ones as the month goes on. Tonight, Luke and I went with fun but simple, and he used the boys canvas chalk board to color them a picture, complete with his signature "Luke J. Elf", in a hand that might look oddly familiar to some.
I hope the boys like it. I am certain;y looking forward to what we might come up with next. Even Daddy is getting involved in the planning, which just makes it that much more fun. :0) Children really do make even the simplest things magical again, which makes them the greatest blessings of all.
Stay tuned, folks. This is going to get interesting!