Why there's an elf in our home during Christmas.

Why There’s An Elf In Our Home During Christmas

In Motherhood, Parenting by Jen27 Comments

Many years ago my sister in law gifted us a Christopher Popinkins elf. At the time my oldest was a young 3-year-old, and we didn’t have very many established traditions. So we read the book together as a family and happily had Christopher join us during the holidays. At this time the Elf on the Shelf craze hadn’t really set in, and we were part of just a handful of people who had this tradition. Now, however, you can find elves in many, many homes, and almost every retail store you visit. And boy have those elves garnered some serious nay-saying!

Why there's an elf in our home during Christmas.

Our elf Christopher does “pop” in quite frequently during the day and he moves from place to place, but he never appears in any really crazy or zany set-ups. Sometimes he does a few tricky things like hang upside down or he sits in Barbie cars, but otherwise, he is quite the mellow guy. Anyway, over the years I have found it interesting that these little elves have racked up such a staunch group of “anti-elvers”.

In order to add a little love to the “pro-elving” side,  I would like to share a few reasons why we continue this tradition amid all the naysaying, and why we probably always will. Even when our kids are grown and gone.

Why there's an elf in our home during Christmas.

1. I believe in magic. Sometimes you can manufacture it, and sometimes it is in the simple things that just happen to come your way. For our family Christopher is a part of that magic. Even today I love watching my older kiddos happily take part in hiding Christopher so that their younger siblings can find him. Seeing teens do that is a magic unto itself. And someday those same teens might return home as a much older version of themselves and help hide Christopher for their own children to find.

2. I am a Christian, and no I do not think that having an elf in our home during the holidays will make my children stop believing in Christ. Quite often, our elf can be found hanging out in our nativity set. For our family, it is just an added element to make the holidays more special.

3. I really like having a low-key guy like him hang around who’s sole purpose is to help encourage good behavior. During the month of December, we use his presence quite a bit to staunch bad behavior. And no, I do not feel not even one ounce of guilt for this either, because parents need to be allowed the opportunity to use whatever bribes, I mean parenting tactics we can employ to get our children to behave. Especially during the holidays when the sugar can be at peak levels and so is the energy.

4. Lastly, I am a firm believer in “You do You.” If the whole elf thing doesn’t work for your family, great. Please just give the same courtesy back to my family, and let us continue this tradition without you feeling the need to add your 2 cents.



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  1. We also started doing the Elf in our home actually before the craze originally set in. See my husband’s mother got us our Elf from a local Christmas store here. But our Elf isn’t the original Elf on the Shelf, but a bit larger in size (more of a medium size) and is more a stuffed animal looking elf. Like you though, we are Christian and actually Catholic, but don’t think the Elf takes away from that. It is just fun for my girls and that is why I do it in all honesty myself around here, too.
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  2. YES!!! Oh Jenn I LOVE this post. We were also very early on the Elf bandwagon. Not quite as early as you, but ours came a couple of years before things got crazy. We also got our elf before they made them look less creepy, lololol. Anyways I love everything you had to say about this. I have been struggling a bit with the whole thing this year, but this really helped.
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  3. I love that your elf hangs out in the nativity set :). I’m so with you on the “you do you” concept, my friend. We are living in such a period of judgement and worry of what everyone else is saying and doing. It’s crazy. I think the elf invention is hilarious and Pinterest serves it so well. I wish he was around when my kids were little. We would have definitely had one.
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  4. I was recently introduced to Elf on the Self from one of my friends that is a Nanny, she said it actually works with some kids. I know I’ll be adopting some kind of elf tradition when I’m blessed to have a family of my own. Christopher Popinkin is adorable. I believe in magic also! :) Nothing wrong with manufacturing it. OMG a elf in the nativity set??? I love it.

  5. I am a naysayer.. mostly because when I started this elf craze with my kids when my oldest was in Kindergarten I had no idea I was in it for life. My kids are firm believers in all the magic of Christmas and I am often waking in a panic attack around 1 am knowing I forgot to move the elf. So I have to sneak downstairs and do that; my kids truly believe that NO ONE can tough the elf EVER and so I have had times where the elf has fallen or flopped and I am trying to sneak around behind their backs while they’re awake to fix him without their knowing it’s me. They are at the age where they are staying up as late as I am and hiding him after they are asleep is proving to be impossible. I do love our elf but I hate all the pressure that having him in our house has put on me. But I do and will continue to do this for as long as my kids would like and I’m sure once they are beyond believing in his magic I will come up with truly fun and zany things for him to do (Or enjoy watching them come up with ideas); after all Christmas is for the kid in all of us.

  6. Also, your elf is adorable.
    Your reasons are awesome. I can’t understand the long posts about why a family doesn’t have one. Who cares? As long as every family is happy with what they do. We don’t do an elf, only because my kids don’t even know about them. We have a Switch Witch – which is a Halloween fairy that takes Halloween candy and leaves a gift.
    So yeah.. We believe in magic too!
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  7. Hi Jen, I first heard of the Elf On The Shelf a couple of years ago (the joy of living on an island means we’re alittle behind). As much as I believe in magic I’m not sure it’s something I would take part in this tradition, not for any other reason than the fact that it sounds very exhausting! Believe me had my ways of keeping my two in check on the build up to Christmas. Did you ever read a book by Tolkien? Letters From Father Christmas? It’s a beautiful book and I will admit to taking the idea and using it for my own gains. So there was a time when the children would get letters throughout the year from Father Christmas and I know my daughter still has hers…. I agree that everyone should be allowed to do what suits them at anytime of the year. Can you imagine a world where we are all the same?… *shudder*

    Long live the magic!

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    1. Author

      That is a sweet idea. I like the letters that children can then keep and share with their own children.

      I try to keep my guy very mellow. He moves once a day and just kind of sits there, but man if I had to set-up an elaborate scene every might like some other do I think that would be exhausting!
      Jen recently posted…Easy Snow Globe Sugar Cookies With A FREE Letter To SantaMy Profile

  8. As much as I believe in magic I am not sure it’s something I would take part in this tradition also, not for any other reason than the fact that it sounds very exhausting for me. If it works for you good, do it. If not, don’t do it, please. I have never gotten to any experience the whole elf on the shelf experience. I haven’t heard it but now I will use it more now. and Happy Holidays.

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