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After 7 long holiday seasons pouring tons of energy into perfectly executed, whimsical and magical shenanigans, I am here to explain 5 reasons you why this is the year you should break up with your Elf on the Shelf and the best way to do it.
Now don’t get me wrong, it is easy to get sucked into those cute little elves and all the amazing Pinterest ideas of how to delight your little ones each morning with funny pranks and adorable elf scenes. There are boy elves, girl elves, clothes and even pets being sold for your elves.
And I get the whole “they are only little once, so why not make the most of it” belief system but I am here to tell you that your kids ARE only little once and that’s one of the reasons why you should break up with your Elf on the Shelf!
Break up with your Elf on the Shelf and start enjoying more quality holiday time!
Here are the top 5 reasons why you should break up with your Elf on the Shelf:
1. The Elf on the Shelf is a lot of work:
It’s 11 pm and you are finally drifting to sleep in your warm, comfy bed only to suddenly remember that the darn little elf hasn’t moved. You contemplate saying “F” it and letting your eyes close but then you remember the sad, sad faces you saw last time the little guy didn’t move. Enter mom guilt to the max. So, you jump out of bed and scramble to set up some make shift magical scene because you know that your kids will moan and groan if they find him hanging from the chandelier yet again. Sound familiar? The holidays are stressful enough. We already spread ourselves way too thin. Why add one more thing to your ever- growing daily to-do list. Break up with your Elf, spend more time snuggling with your hubby enjoying the holidays, rather than stressing out.
2. The Elf on the Shelf adds no value:
The holiday traditions your children are exposed to during the time when they are little are going to form the people they become when they are all grown up. Think about this for a minute. What valuable life lessons is the Elf on the Shelf teaching your kids? Is this magical little Elf teaching anything about giving? Is he teaching anything about being kind? Is he showing your kids how to love more? No!!! At best he is entertaining your kids in a world where we are constantly inundated with entertainment already and, at worst, he is teaching them to be nice only when someone is watching and presents are on the line. Which brings me to my 2nd reason why you should break up with your Elf on the Shelf.
3. Elf on the Shelf is an idle threat:
So, let’s say your kids act out and behave terribly every single day for a week. Is your darling Elf really going to have Santa bring no presents this year? I highly doubt it. One of the worst things parents can do is make idle threats. Healthy parenting means establishing rules and sticking to them. If you really want to have an elf, I would recommend setting up some ground rules that will not lead to one giant idle threat in the making. For example, instead of simply stating that the kids must be “good”, set one specific, very achievable goal that they need to accomplish in order to get a good report to Santa. Try things like picking up all the toys at the end of each day or putting laundry in the hamper every night.
4. Your Elf on the Shelf is working against you:
Yes, that cute little guy (or gal) is actually undermining you! Not only is he teaching your kids that they don’t need to behave because you or their teacher or their grandparents is asking them to but he is also teaching them that he is the judge and jury of good behavior. The whole Santa is watching all of the time through his “crystal ball” thing is out the window and children are only behaving when the Elf is in the room. He is also undermining all of the powerful, important values of the holidays. The Elf on the Shelf takes the focus off giving and puts it on getting! Many children become consumed with being good in front of the Elf in order to get more presents from Santa. They are focused on getting and are missing out on the true point of the season…GIVING.
5. You’re stuck with it:
As I mentioned above, we did 7 long years of Elf on the Shelf prison before I finally cut the cord. Once you bring that adorable little character into your house, you are stuck with it for years…and years. You will likely be sick of it and decide that you don’t want to deal with it anymore but then… your kids will go into a sad little, teary-eyed meltdown when December rolls around and the little sprite hasn’t arrived yet. You will get serious mom guilt that will suck away all reason within you and magically your Elf be returning…probably with an apology letter and a gift for showing up later than expected! Even when your oldest stops believing and you think your chance to break free of the Elf has come, you will feel bad at the thought of your younger ones will missing out on all the nightly fun and, despite hating it, you will continue with the tradition. Before you know it, it will be a decade or more of tired, aggravating, tedious Elf on the Shelf tricks. Trust me, stop now, make this the year you break up with your Elf on the Shelf.
Breaking up with your Elf on the Shelf is a lot easier than you think. It is all about how you “sell” it to your kids.
The year I realized that our Elf on the Shelf was taking away from my enjoyment of the holiday season and was undermining the values I was trying to instill in my kids, I came up with this simple way of breaking up with him.
I started by talking to my kids about gratitude and all of the things that we had to be thankful for. We then discussed all the families out there who were not as fortunate as we were.
I then told my kids that Santa had called me and that he started a new team of elves, called the “Giving Tribe” that go and help out families who can’t afford things like food, warm blankets, nice clothes and presents and that he nominated our Elf, Brady to be on the team. I told them that Brady wouldn’t be able to make it our house that year because he would be busy working with the Giving Tribe.
I told them that Santa felt that they were well behaved enough and had so much goodness in their hearts that they didn’t need an elf to watch them all season.
By telling them that Santa felt that they were “good” enough to not need an elf to keep them in check, it really empowered them to feel like are “good”. And you know what, their behavior was better that year than it was with the constant threat of our Elf watching them and reporting back to Santa.
My kids were not sad that our Elf was not coming because I told them that he was like a super hero, out on a special mission helping others. This excuse really opened up the door to a discussion on the importance of giving rather than getting.
This tactic also allowed me to leave the door open for our Elf to come back and visit once or twice during the holidays IF I wanted him to. I felt like it was the perfect compromise to having our Elf if we wanted to but without adding a ton of stress and obligation.
The holidays come around but once a year and your kids are only little once so, spend less time stressing, feeling guilty, planning Elf scenes, and dragging yourself out of bed and more time talking to your children, making memories, drinking hot cocoa, and watching Hallmark holiday movies cuddled up with your hubby.
Have your Elf join the Giving Tribe and break up with him once and for all!
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