Why I love The Elf on the Shelf®

Resident scout elf, Fiddle Dee Dee

Resident scout elf, Fiddle Dee Dee

I have a crush. A HUGE girl-crush on the mother-daughter duo who created The Elf on the Shelf® phenomenon. These geniuses are Carol B. Aebersold and her daughter Chanda A. Bell. In my last blog I discussed the “experience economy” – the feel-good sensation created by products and services. The Elf on the Shelf® = total experience economy for kids everywhere (especially my own).

I have whole-heartedly adopted The Elf on the Shelf® Christmas tradition at my home. For those of you who are not in the know, please go to http://www.elfontheshelf.com/ and check it out. Directly from the web site:

“The Elf on the Shelf®: A Christmas Tradition includes a special scout elf sent from the North Pole to help Santa Claus manage his naughty and nice lists. When a family adopts a scout elf and gives it a name, the scout elf receives its Christmas magic and can fly to the North Pole each night to tell Santa Claus about all of the day’s adventures. Each morning, the scout elf returns to its family and perches in a different place to watch the fun. Children love to wake up and race around the house looking for their scout elf each morning.”

Parents either love The Elf on the Shelf® or they hate it. I’m pro elf and here’s why:

1. Moving an elf around was a family’s real Christmas tradition – I love that Aebersold and Bell took their family holiday tradition and shared it with the world. The Elf on the Shelf® is not an invented activity concocted by a big toy company to generate sales and profits. It was genius and fun way to build excitement about Christmas and get the kiddos to behave.

2. It comes with a picture book – This clever and beautifully illustrated picture book sadly gets overshadowed by the plush, migratory impish elf. I make it a point to read the book to my kids every Christmas season so the authors (Aebersold and Bell) and the artist (Cöe Steinwart) get their day in the sun.

3. My kids actually get out of bed in the morning to find the elf – I wish I could keep the elf around ALL YEAR. It works better than an alarm clock, especially for my daughters who hate getting up for school.

4. It helps with my children’s impulse control issues – The house rule for The Elf on the Shelf® is that children can’t touch it. Seems easy enough, right? It drives my younger daughter batty that she can’t touch our elf, Fiddle Dee Dee. But she actually respects the rules of elf engagement, which is no small feat for her attention-deficit-disorder mind.

5. It’s just darned heart-warming to hear the excitement in my kids’ voices when they find the elf – One day my daughters will be too old for The Elf on the Shelf® and when that day comes, I’ll be sad. I have other holiday traditions that we’ll continue, but I’ll miss the loud exclamation of “I found the elf!!” in their squeaky little girl voices.

I’m sure that there are blogs out there written by detractors of The Elf on the Shelf®, and I know of parents who are avoiding adopting The Elf on the Shelf® in their own homes. I, for one, am glad that I got on board the elf bandwagon (or sleigh, if you will). Yes, it can be a pain in the posterior to make sure the elf finds a new perch every morning. But it is well worth it in the trade-off of the lasting holiday memories being made in my family.

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