In our house we “do” the Santa thing, but I draw the line at elf on the shelf. I believe that is going way to far. There are many people who love this tradition, but I want to explain to you why we do not. I hope that our thoughts get you thinking about your traditions so you can decide if they keep your faith going strong, or hurt it. Because celebrating Christmas is all about our faith, is it not?
To dive into this topic, we first need to understand what the elf on the shelf is and what it’s purpose it. The elf on the shelf is a doll that comes with a book. The story book explains the process, but the idea is to have the elf on the shelf brought into the home as a Santa’s helper after Thanksgiving. This elf is moved by the parents around the house each night so the kids wake up with him in a different spot each morning. This is supposed to show the kids that the elf is active at night.
So what is the purpose? The elf on the shelf is supposed to remind them that Santa is watching them at all times, through his elf. That the elf will be reporting back to Santa on what they saw each day. Hoping that the kids will behave better before Christmas. Sure that all sounds well and good, however how does this elf on the shelf behave? Does he act like someone even Santa would approve of? Does he set an example of behavior we want our children to follow? All these questions make us think about what we actually want from and for our kids at this time of year.
Almost all of the ideas you can look for on Pinterest for the Elf on the Shelf are ideas to be thought of as funny. Some examples I have seen lately are where the elf was fighting with Darth Vader, making snow angels out of flour in the cupboard, tying up Barbie, toilet papering the house, etc. How is showing the kids an elf misbehaving, teaching the kids to behave? I just do not get that. If anything, I think it shows the kids to be sneaky, since all day the elf seems to behave, but at night he gets into mischief. I don’t know about you but I want more for my kids, especially at Christmas.
So obviously you can see that we do not celebrate this season with the Elf on the Shelf. However, the elf on the shelf isn’t the only tradition we have not done or stopped par-taking in. Some of the others are the chocolate piece or Lego/Playmobil set piece each day leading up to Christmas. The chocolate and Legos/Playmobil may not be an elf on the shelf acting mischievous, however what does the chocolate or Legos/Playmobil do for our kids. It teaches them that not only do they get presents on Christmas morning, they also get to be selfish leading up to it as well. Is the chocolate or Legos/Playmobil helping them to think about the sacrifice God made for us? I think not, and that is why we don’t participate in these traditions anymore.
I want more for our family. I want our kids to grow up knowing the real reason for the season. I want them to fully trust in our Lord Jesus with their whole heart. I want them to act out in ways God would want from us. He showed us in the Bible may acts of kindness and service. We may not be able to completely heal a blind person, but we can help a blind person across the street. Knowing this, I looked and found an amazing idea that has stuck with us year after year. That idea is to give an act of kindness each day leading up to Christmas. I created a free printable kit you can sign up to get emailed right to you. The kit helps you to follow right along with your own children and us. What a much better tradition it is to show others God’s selfless love, through simple acts of kindness, or as we call them Random Christmas Cheer, than with a mischievous elf.
What do you do at Christmas time to help your kids celebrate the countdown to the big day?