As if Christmastime madness wasn’t mad enough.
A tradition has emerged between Thanksgiving and Christmas. (AKA, the longest month ever when you’re 5; the shortest, as a parent): The Elf on the Shelf. He’s an 8-inch spaghetti-armed Santa spy on a mission. He carries in his plastic noggin a dossier of iron-clad rules – don’t touch me, being foremost.
Author Carol Aebersold and daughter, Chandra Bell, introduced the elf in a rhyming kids’ book. It published in 2005, and a marketing blitz ensued. When the stardust settled, the elf became an award-winning toy. All as Santa’s heavy for tracking behavior of naughty girls and boys worldwide.
Parents move the elf every night around the house and into his next adventure. He often leaves clever notes (imagine an elf with a miniature surfboard and a sign that reads, “surf’s up! And you’d better be too – time for school!) Usually, the elf emerges on the day the family tree goes up.
Kids find the elf each morning, revel in his antics and read his message. If they touch him, he loses his magic. This calls for an apology letter to Santa, and a sprinkle of cinnamon next to the elf’s magic-stripped body at bedtime. Ten times out of 10, he’s good as new the next day.
Love him or lump him, you must give him his due. This elf has flung himself into the American mainstream holiday environment. He’s not self-sufficient, either. He relies on parents who rack their holiday-assaulted minds for clever placement and theater.
Parents seek tips for colic and advice about SnapChat on the Internet. Now, too, elf ideas. Entire blog posts and Pinterest boards exist for his glory. We’ve compiled three clever elf treatments found on the web. That’ll carry you through almost a half a week! You are welcome.
For the lazy parent
Reindeer live in a hostile, frigid environment. It stands to reason that environment fosters the survival of the fittest, even for ticks. Ticks cause Lyme disease, transmission to reindeer and to elves, and, well, time missed from work. Herein lies a parental work-around. This idea earns you a one-year reprieve.
An Elf On The Shelf Idea For Lazy Parents – DarnKid https://t.co/l7vrprfrNr pic.twitter.com/tHTY0tS8x2
— Darnkid (@darnkiddotcom) December 12, 2016
For the planner
30 Days of Elf
If you’re like most parents,Elf planning, dinner planning, or – who are we fooling? – LIFE planning, a source that gives you a step-by-step guide for an entire month of ANYTHING is akin to a gift from Santa himself. Blogger Christel Hoydic. The writer behind Macaroni kid, advises rookies to start modestly.
Christel’s suggestions include:*
- Pitting the elf in a wrestling match with a gator
- Granting him access to mom’s makeup kit
- Throwing him into a marshmallow war with a Captain America figure
*The elf has acquired a taste for messy mischief over the years.[Check out Christel’s Elf Pinterest presence, too. #ElfLife]
For dads out of ideas
Appliances, solitude, mystery
We’ve known this from Ward Cleaver to Fred Flintstone: Dads possess an alternate world view. Not down with plopping your elf in the middle of an intricate handmade peppermint forest? This blog will lend some real-life (and Breaking Bad-like) ideas.
Mike’s suggestions include*:
- Leaving the elf in the middle of the floor
- Framing the elf with empty beer bottles
- Forcing the elf’s antics outdoors
*Mike says “I’m not that creative. Guess I should have led off with that.”[Check out Mike’s blog, with straight talk about fatherhood.]
For the family-friendly family
Naughty-behavior strikes, flour messages, and cookie-and-pretzel dumb bells
Gator-wrangling and outdoor exile aren’t for everyone. Still, there’s a lot of room for creativity. Jenna Gross writes for the blog Skinny Mom. She crowd-sourced for ideas for parents whose brains are “completely elfed out.” Her 101 ideas more than covers the season – and could spur your creativity.
Jenna’s ideas include*:
The elf beginning a holiday-themed coloring page for the kids to finish
A rigged game of UNO with a Christmas gnome
Hidding in the freezer and binging on ice cream
*Jenna’s post links to tons of clever parent blogs[Check out Jenna’s posts on fitness, food and other fun.]
For the overachiever parents
Upgrades, downgrades, and ways to snuff him out
The elf is head-heavy and spaghetti-armed – if he had the mobility and strength of, say, a He-Man action figure, can you imagine? Also, you must consider the elf’s Christmas exit and farewell until next year. For some parents, though, a more permanent close is tantalizingly close, too. Check out these sites:
Dirty Diaper Laundry | Kim Rosas’ tutorial will demonstrate how to give the elf’s arms some muscle – and his hands some grip.
She knows | Elaina Verhoff’s suggestions include packing a suitcase for his Christmas-day departure, serving Santa his Christmas Eve cookies and milk, and the gift of pajamas for the big night.
Sunshine and Hurricanes | It’s easy to find ideas for violent ends to the elf’s service. Blogger Kira Lewis simply says, “hey, elf. It’s me, not you.” She’s penned the perfect breakup letter for the elf.