Sunday, December 1, 2013

Elf on the Shelf with a Twist (why I love Santa and what he represents)

Let me start by saying that I love Santa. Love. I loved the excitement and anticipation I felt as a child waiting for him to come. I loved the magic, the mystery, the enchantment.

And now as a mother, I love seeing my children love Santa. Last week we were shopping at the mall when David and Erik noticed Santa sitting for pictures. Their eyes lit up, and they ran to him with smiles and laughter. They jumped on his lap and wrapped their arms around him. Erik even gave him a few kisses on the arm. And my heart smiled. (Luckily this was before Thanksgiving, and there was no line to see him, otherwise they might have jumped in front, and my heart would have had different feelings). Then Santa asked them, "What you do you want me to bring you for Christmas this year?" And they were stumped. Neither of them had thought about asking Santa for something. They were just so excited to see him. And my heart glowed. We carried on with our shopping, and about 30 minutes later, they asked to see Santa again because they had decided what they wanted. Well, they are 5 years old, and Santa did ask. :)

I think it is easy to get lost in all the commercialism and stress of Christmas and forget the real reason we celebrate. And I know some people blame Santa. Not me. I think he is a wonderful way to bring magic to the season. You just have to do it right.

And that's why we decided to do elf on the shelf this year, but with a little twist. First of all, I have four small children, and absolutely no extra time. I will not spend crazy amounts of time thinking up clever things for our elf to do. And I certainly won't be having him do anything that involves me cleaning up an extra mess. I can't keep up with the chores as it is.

Instead our elf is going to do simple things and leave notes to encourage kindness, service, and family love. Then each night, he'll report back to Santa and share what we did that day. We still get the magic of the elf and Santa, but the focus will be on developing Christ-like love as a family.

I wrote a letter from our elf explaining who he is and why he is here. And yes it rhymes. :)

Dear Harris Family,

Hello dearest children from down off the shelf
I’m your new friend, a real Christmas elf.

I’ve come here to play for the month of December,
To join in your games and help you remember

That Christmas is about more than presents and fun.
It’s about love and mercy and the birth of God’s son.

I was sent here by Santa himself, it is true
To watch, to play, and to report back on you.

I’ll see if you choose to be naughty or nice,
So before being bad, I suggest you think twice.

For each night while you’re sleeping all snug in your bed,
I’ll fly to the North Pole, to the Big Man in Red.

I’ll tell him about our adventures, and I’ll say
If you have made good or bad choices that day.

But if you slip up, dry your eyes, do not fear.
Santa is full of grace and holiday cheer.

Just like God, he forgives when we make mistakes.
Trying harder each day is all that it takes.

Santa loves all God’s children, every girl, every boy.
And he smiles when they serve one another with joy.

So I’m here to help think up fun Christmas tricks.
I’ll help you be good. Then I’ll go tell Saint Nick.

I’ll report all your actions, loving and kind,
Then I’ll fly back here, and in the morning you’ll find

That I can do more than just sit on a shelf.
There are grand ideas in the mind of this elf.


P.S. One more thing before we start our fun.
I need a name. Can you think me up one?

Feel free to share your favorite elf on the shelf idea. And I'll do my best to post our ideas too. Merry Christmas!!