It's that time of year again. It's a time of year when we are filled with excitement, busyness, lots of parties and lots and lots of delicious, fattening food.
It's also a time when our Elves come out to keep an eye on our kids. You know, to make sure they are being nice, and not getting caught doing something naughty. Heaven knows no one wants to be put on the naughty list!
(I've never been a fan of threatening kids to be good or else they'll be put on the naughty list.)
But, who has that much time to dedicate to setting up the Elf each night in his clever scenarios?
If you do, I look up to you. Really, I do. I also enjoy checking out all of your elves' funny mischief on Instagram!
(I assume you've read the article that talks about the ways we're making parenting harder... Spoiler Alert: Elf on the Shelf is on the list)
There has got to be another way, right? I assume I'm not the only parent who feels like I have a full plate.
Well, My friend Sheila over at Pennies of Time got me thinking that there IS another way! Although I love her replacement for the Elf on the Shelf, I was inspired. Thanks to her & my grandma both.
My grandma passed away earlier this year. In her passing, I received this cute little vintage elf.
In all honesty, I took him because I thought he would be our Elf on the Shelf. Little did I know, he would help me reinvent the Elf on the Shelf idea completely.
My grandma was a beautiful woman, inside & out. She was nothing but compassionate in every single thing she said. Ever since she passed away, I've wanted to bring more of her into my life.
More kindness. More cuddling with babies. More smiles. More butterfly-cut grilled cheese sandwiches. More listening. More love. More chocolate milk.
More of focusing on what's most important.
More of her.
As Christmas drew near and I started seeing more & more pins about the Elf on the Shelf ideas, I started to wonder what I should do with my cute little elf. Then I came across this post on Pennies of Time about how they used a Family Kindness Crocodile to get their kids to be more kind to one another.
I decided that our elf would be named Evan, after my grandmother (Evelyn).
He still WILL be watching my kids (from the top of our clock... Elf on the Clock?).
But he WON'T be causing time sucking mischief (really, I don't have time to do that every night at this point in our lives).
He WILL still leave notes. But they'll be notes of kindness, encouragements & compliments.
My goal is for him to watch Paige (my 3 year old) & write down at least one thing he sees her doing that is good. That way she'll get positive reinforcement and hopefully she'll be encouraged to be a more kind & a better listener.
For example: Evan will comment that he saw Paige sharing with Lindsey (hopefully), or working hard on her speech therapy.
He'll be writing notes on The Official Letterhead of The North Pole & you're welcome to do the same, too! Just right click on the image to save & print it.
(it's made for a 5x7 size, so you can print 2 per page)
For other untraditional ways to use the Elf on the Shelf, click here.
*Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of Elf on the Shelf. I just think that my family needs to focus on the positive & on keeping things simple right now. You can still have him doing the silly & mischievous things each night, but also leave a positive letter for your kids, if that's what you see fit for your family.