After the last morsel of turkey has been consumed and most of my family is suffering from a food coma I can be found knee deep in my storage room digging out my Christmas Decorations. Gifts will be wrapped and nestled under a fully decorated tree even before I return to work on Monday. I can hardly wait for the Hallmark Channel to start with their holiday movies. While my family enjoys each of these little touches (ok, my husband does not enjoy the Hallmark movies) the arrival of Darington is by far a favorite family tradition. Yes, we are a family firmly in the pro Elf on the Shelf cohort.
For those that have not heard of Elf on the Shelf, the basics are that Santa sends one of his elves to be his eyes and ears and watch over your children. Each night the Elf will fly to the North Pole to report to Santa, but will return to his post in the morning to resume his watch. As a kid I didn’t have an elf watching over me, but you better believe I heard on a regular basis from my parents that they were going to tell Santa if I was being good. The elf is easily the same concept, but with a little more fun involved.
Do I have a love hate relationship with that sweet faced elf? Absolutely. By nature I am not the most creative person, so coming up with something fun and creative for little Darington to do each day is really a stretch. Some of my son’s favorite activities that he has found Darington doing have been taking a marshmallow “bubble” bath, riding one if his dinosaurs, and zip lining across the kitchen. While I may not be that creative I am really not a morning person. Each day my husband and I struggle to wake up before our child to ensure that our little visitor has moved because if he hasn’t moved he hasn’t gone home to report to Santa and we really can’t have that. Most days this is easily resolved by making the move the evening before, but on the occasions that we do forget it becomes a team effort with one of us keeping our son occupied while the other one quickly runs throughout the house making the move. On those days the elf can be located hanging from a light fixture or hiding in a stocking.
I can easily recall memories as a child of my parents telling me that if I wasn’t good they were going to tell Santa. This always left me dreading the eventual annual visit with Santa. I remember waiting in line to talk to the big guy and fearing that my mom would have some list she would pull out of all of my wrong doings. Mind you I never saw my parents privately speak with Santa, and I always felt very blessed by Santa on the big day. I am grateful that thanks to our little friend Darington my children know that someone is seeing both the good and the not so good of their day – that there is a sense of immediacy; not the same sense of dread that I felt as a child.
Hands down the best part of this new family tradition is just the sheer excitement he brings with him when he returns to our home. My son wakes up each morning excited to start the day because he is ready to see what silly thing our elf has done or where he is hiding. I love that each day I will hear my son have a quite conversation with Darington telling him about his day and what he hopes Darington will share with Santa. It warms my heart to know that with what seems like very little work I am enhancing the magic that naturally comes with Christmas.
I know that there is more to the season than this silly elf. I understand that there are traditions that may be far more meaningful and there are those that focus more on the true meaning of the holiday. We enjoy those in our home as well, but the weekend after Thanksgiving in our home we welcome Darington our visitor from Santa.