Tis the season for dusting off the Elf on a Shelf and pulling out all the crazy antics to move the Elf around the home staging him/her in clever ways. My News Feed is already full of debate: Do I dare begin the tradition of Elf on a Shelf with my toddler? How will I ever remember to move the Elf every day? If I forget to move the ding dang thing, what will I tell my kids? Is it even Christmas without adopting the tradition of Elf on the Shelf?
I see your posts about your Elf. Your creativity and ingenuity are not lost on me. In fact, I giggle every time I see Snowflake bathing in a mug of mini marshmallows. But I am going to give you permission to leave the Elf on the shelf this year. That’s right. Leave. The. Elf. On. The. Shelf. No more annoyance and hassle from a lil Elf mischievously taking over your home for a month. You may be asking, ‘Well, why would I want to do that?’
As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, I already swim against the stream when I recommend limiting sodas and ceasing the purchase of hot Cheetos, so here I am swimming against the stream, again. But in all seriousness, as a Christian, I have always struggled with the premise that the Elf will report back to Santa, daily, about whether Johnny is being naughty or nice, and that, and only that will determine the quantity of gifts that he will receive. If our children’s only motivation to be naughty or nice comes from an Elf in December, where does their motivation to be good the other 11 months of the year come from?
I get it, you may be thinking, ‘She’s a scrooge,’ or ‘She’s no fun,’ or even ‘Lighten up, don’t you believe in the magic of Christmas?’
But are we not muddying the water by mis-motivating our children to behave in a proper way? Our sense of motivation should be driven by a strong desire to obey and honor authority given ultimately by our Heavenly Father—and certainly not dictated by the whimsy of this world.
Moms and dads everywhere, I see you. I am in the trenches with you. Navigating this thing called parenting is not for the faint of heart. As parents, we make decisions on the daily that will impact the hearts, minds, and growing bodies of our little people. May we speak the truth about where the real magic of Christmas comes from this holiday season.