An Elf on the Shelf for myself (and my family)

We’ve never had an Elf on the Shelf. I’m lucky if we remember to bring the right lunches and backpacks to school every day. So adding something else to our lives didn’t seem like a good idea.
Then our second grader ended up with an elf in his classroom at school. He came home talking about how wonderful “Holly” was and how great it would be to have an elf. He convinced his little brother that they should write to the North Pole to request an elf.
To be honest, I wasn’t fully on board. Then this weekend I was wandering around Valley View Farms. With stars in my eyes and overflowing with Christmas joy, I heard our kindergartener singing, “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”
I turned and there was a whole display of Elf on the Shelf—or, maybe I should say, Elves on the Shelves.
“Maybe we should just do it,” I thought. I looked at John. He looked at me. We looked down at our kindergartener, the one whose birthday was Friday, the one who has this charming way of saying, “Well, it IS my birthday,” or “Well, it IS the day after my birthday,” or “Well, it IS my birthday week.”
Let’s be honest. He may not get his persuasive smile and impish eyes from me, but his love for celebrating his birthday? Oh, that’s from Mama, through and through.
He wanted an elf. I couldn’t think of a good reason to say no. We picked out a boy elf, paid at the register, and carried him to the car.
He becomes your elf when you name him, so we had a sort of family meeting and named him “Skylander.” It fits him—or at least it fits this moment in our lives where we have a deep affection for Skylanders.

Skylander has quickly settled into the household.
What I didn’t know is that you can’t touch your elf. So wherever he is when you wake up is where he needs to stay for the day. I wonder how that works for other families. Remind me to ask Skylander not to sit on the kitchen table or next to the bathroom sink or anywhere else we actually use as living space.
Luckily we only have two weeks to Christmas. And it seems appropriate somehow that our elf arrived late in the season, because Santa would know that I would not be able to manage an elf through all of Advent.
It also seems appropriate that he is here for the third week of Advent, a week of rejoicing. Maybe he will bring a little extra joy to our already very full lives.
Even better, maybe he’ll remind us not to forget any backpacks this week. For now he’s working on his Scrabble skills.

Do you have an Elf on the Shelf?

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.