This year, after seeing elves on shelves all around the shops and in her friends' homes and even on YouTube, Lily was dying to get her own Elf on the Shelf. She was so sweet about asking and we even got the okay from daddy (which is rare)... and so here we are. And, of course, Lily named her... Lily (but she also calls her Fred).
Right away, we decided we didn't like the rule about not touching the Elf because 1) I don't want to spend $30 on a toy she can't play with, and 2) We only follow important rules in this house and I don't like to overburden our family with rules that don't actually have any impact on their well-being (but that's a whole other subject...).
In our home, the Elf on the Shelf is more about getting up to mischief and being silly instead of tattle-telling to Santa or being magical and not for touching (mostly because we don't push the belief in Santa although after meeting him in the mall, she most definitely believes... but we still try to emphasize Saint Nicholas and the spirit of Christmas, etc).
Lily always runs around looking for her when she first wakes up and it always melts my heart. She usually gasps and starts cracking up laughing wherever she finds her - it's the sweetest thing! At first, her Elf could be found in the morning playing with Lily's other toys - like one morning she was riding around in the Christmas train with Lily's critters and the other day she was chillin' in the freezer with Elsa.
But lately, Lily's Elf has been embracing the true spirit of Christmas and really encouraging Lily to do the same. This morning, we found her out in the living room learning how to pray the rosary with Mary!
And tonight, I caught her wearing one of the Miraculous Medals we were planning to give away! She even wrote Lily a little note about how proud her and Saint Nicholas were of her. The sweetest! ;)
I can't wait to see what other Catholic antics Lily's sweet little Elf will be up to in the last few weeks of Advent!
I've also seen other people find their Elves at the nativity scene, either praying in front of it or holding baby Jesus in the manger.
Catherine Boucher also wrote this splendid article on Bernie, their Catholic elf on the Shelf:
"To help our children learn more about what Christmas is all about, Bernie the elf will deliver the ornaments for our Jesse Tree, the star for the top of our Christmas tree, and the Christ Child from the nativity scene. Bernie will join us to light the Advent Wreath, read Scripture, and pray at the dinner table. He will sit with us as we gather around the Nativity scene to sing Christmas carols. He will bring us invitations to go to special Christmas events such as a local parish’s living Nativity scene (complete with live animals). He will put out the ingredients to make the Christ Child a birthday cake to eat on Christmas Eve. (Maybe he’ll even make a snow angel in the flour on the countertop!)" - read the whole article here.
I'm so new to this tradition, but I'm loving it already and really enjoying making it our own. If you're annoyed by the Elf on the Shelf or feel overwhelmed by the insane(ly awesome) shenanigans other elves seem to be getting themselves into, I really encourage you to embrace the "magic" of it all to have fun with your kids and just soak in the joy of this season while it's here. We can use everyday ordinary things like silly little Elves to point our children to Christ, and we can have so much fun while doing it!
Does your home have an Elf on the Shelf?
What is your favorite aspect of this Advent + Christmas tradition? I'd love to hear!
PS I'm not really sure what's going to happen to our Elf after Christmas comes. I've told Lily that on Christmas Eve, she'll fly back to the North Pole - and so Lily has decided that she's going to hold onto her feet real tight and fly there with her, but she has to have a cell phone so that she can call me once she gets to the North Pole... Where do your Elves go after Christmas? And how do your kids deal with them leaving?