My name is Lily-Sue, but my mummy calls me Munchkin (or 'Munch' for short!) I am 8 years old, and this is where my mummy will help me write all about all the fun things we do together. I hope you enjoy reading about the adventures of my mummy and me, Munchkin, with the occasional appearance from the siblings - Beastie and Plumlet.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Elf on the Shelf ... Is it for me?

If you're asking yourself the above question, read on!

Rewind to November, 2014. Munch was 5, Beastie 2 and Plumlet was nearly 1. A large supermarket chain, funnily enough - one I don't regularly use - started offering (in true "you need this" style) this ...

Cute, yes? In 2014, the Elf on the Shelf craze hadn't really taken hold of the UK. It was, at that time, a very American idea but was starting to creep into British households, slowly. I'd heard of it, and the idea made me smile.
The Elf on the Shelf tradition has been popular in the US for a few years now. The idea was that, on Thanksgiving, one of Santa's Elves would visit the homes of children far and wide to keep a watchful eye over behaviour, and to ensure each one belongs on Santa's 'good list'. Over time, this idea developed slightly, and these elves started to move around, causing mischief and confusion around the house. The Elf would then disappear home on the evening of Christmas Eve, often leaving some sort of  'behaviour evaluation' for the children on their departure.

Over the years, Elf on the Shelf has gone from being a national tradition to being a worldwide phenomenon, with households around the globe joining in the fun, with many documenting their stories across social media.
I thought about it more, and mentioned it to The Man. He smiled too, which obviously meant it was a perfect idea, right?

Read on ...

With all 3 kids at such an age where Christmas magic is in full swing, all fantastical beliefs are unscathed and, as a parent, you want to Stoke that fire of imagination at every given opportunity, the whole Elf idea was becoming more and more appealing!

1st December, 2014, a visitor came to stay.

The kids named him Doodle.

Doodle wasn't a mischievous Elf. Well, not really. He'd mess with their toys occasionally, but as a rule, he was a fun, kind Elf. He'd bring treats and gifts (such as activities to do and daily letters) and the kids would get really excited every morning, dashing downstairs to see what Doodle had been up to. As Christmas Day drew closer, I won't lie, the nightly ideas didn't come easy and the pressure I put onto myself to 'think of something better than yesterday' became tiring at times. But it had been fun. He even made a big fuss of Plumlet's December birthday which they all enjoyed. The kids had absolutely loved it and had grown, in that short 24 days, to totally adore Doodle. On the evening of Christmas Eve, as the children showered, a Christmas Eve box appeared under the tree. This was a gift from Doodle to say thank you, and contained new pyjamas, a book, some hot chocolate and a little sweet treat. It also held a Magic Key for the kids to place outside so Santa could open the door and some magic dust for the reindeer (just oats and glitter)

There were tears when he left!
Doodle was packed up, safely, in our secure Christmas box, and hidden away for next year.

1st December, 2015 and 2016, Doodle returns.
Kids are ecstatic to see him.
All goes well. Kids have fun whilst I slowly lose the will to ... well, anything really, but it's all worth it for the children, right?

I'd say we reached, roughly, 15th December, 2016, when I started referring to the Elf as the Stuffed Intruder and cursing his imaginary, warped existence. Every evening, as the kids settled in bed, The Man would bring me my bag of craft supplies, and placed them next to me (rather sheepishly as the month went on) before backing away quickly and attempting to avoid my hateful glare. Still, we saw it through, with success, to 24th  December. Once again, the kids were sad to see him leave. They were definitely more disappointed than me!

Again, he brought pyjamas and the other treats in the form of a Christmas Eve box.

Once more, as the tree and the decorations were taken down, Doodle was packed away safely ...
Somewhere ...

As we approached 1st December, 2017, The Man ventured into the loft to retrieve the box of decorations so we could get Doodle ready for his eagerly anticipated arrival. There was more than one box, and we weren't 100% sure which one he was hidden in. Munch had helped to take the decorations down in 2016, so I remembered we had to engage ninja mode when putting him away as she was taking it upon herself to inspect every single item that was placed in the boxes.

Every box was emptied, but no Elf.

Panic starts ... 
1st December draws closer ... 
House is searched numerous times ... 
Search the internet for a replacement, but cannot find one in stock anywhere ...
1st December arrives ...

Doodle's exploring the world! But it's ok, because he's sending postcards, right? In fact, he's even thinking of their education, because he chooses destinations that have been fundamental to their current everyday learning. Doodle rocks, yeah?

Nope. Doodle should be here. Doodle has had all year to travel the world and should now be on our shelf. We don't want Doodle's postcards ... We want Doodle.

As if I didn't feel like the most awful mum in the world. There were tears, there was genuine disappointment every morning when they were presented with yet another postcard.

Meanwhile, I'm literally pulling my hair out, searching for this sodding Elf! Eventually, I find one on a very popular auction site. Its brand new, identical to Doodle, and at a good price. To be honest, most prices would have been a 'good price' by this stage. I was desperate! I contact the seller, pouring my heart out and manage to persuade her to change her delivery time from 10 days to next day. The sense of relief was immense. Doodle was coming home! The Man returns from work and I gush about my day's triumph, just as he hands me a box. Not just any box. No. This was a special box, because this box had been completely missed when he was removing the boxes from the loft.

You know where this is going!

The Man backed away, sheepishly, again. Not 3 hours ago, we'd had no damn Elf. Now we have 2.

Close friends and family that had been aware of our Elf Dilemma reassured me with the notion that we "now have a spare ..."

A spare?! Do you honestly think I'll ever need a bloody spare?! No, this thing is being fitted with a kick ass GPS tracker and nailed to the inside of a wardrobe!! 

Doodle returned the following morning, bearing gifts he had collected from the countries he'd visited. Ingredients to make pizzas from Rome, castanets (and chorizo for the pizzas) from Spain, Disney DVDs from Disneyworld ... All was good with the world again.

'Decoy Doodle' arrived.

Being the glutton for punishment that I probably am, I decided to get creative. A bit of wool for hair, a couple of bits of ribbon tied into bows, a bit of green felt

and the decoy became ...

Doodle's best friend whom he met whilst he was gallivanting around the world. 

I felt I had kind of repaired the disappointment caused by Doodle's delayed arrival, as the kids were so happy to see her. Doodle continued to write them a new poem every day, encouraging their excitement as Christmas approached.

Then, following a few moments of total madness, one morning, the kids came downstairs to this ...

Ok, so Plumlet has a December birthday. Not just December. The 23rd - right on top of Christmas. By the time his special day arrives, the girls are so excited about Christmas, his birthday seems to get forgotten a little, as I'm sure is the case for many who have a late December birthday. Therefore, I wanted something that would still celebrate the excitement of Christmas, but would also remind the girls each year that Christmas isn't the only important celebration we have in December. I figured if they had something else to look forward to on that day, then they wouldn't forget about the birthday excitement. So, on the 23rd December every year, Plumlet's birthday Elf, Gingerbread, will come to visit for a couple of days.

In summary, we begin the month of December with no Elf to sit on the shelf ... and on Christmas Eve, we said goodbye to three of the little buggers!!
The kids have loved it. Me? I'm questioning my sanity and contemplating whether or not we need a bigger shelf ...!

Still wondering whether Elf on the Shelf is for you?

Of course it is! What could possibly go wrong?!

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