Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I used to go all out decorating. I LOVE seeing all the Christmas decorations around town, in the stores, other people's houses, and in my own house. Over the years, I slowly stopped decorating as much though, and it pretty much got down to zero decorations in the years before Ayden and Rylee came along. When we first got married, Tony and I made it a tradition to always go out and find the perfect Christmas tree to cut down. Somewhere along the line, we stopped doing that and found a pre-cut tree from a lot instead. Eventually, we stopped putting up a Christmas tree altogether. It just got to be too much work. Getting out all the decorations and then having to put them allllllll away just a few short weeks later just wasn't worth it anymore. Let's be honest, I got lazy and lost some of the spirit of Christmas. I still enjoyed seeing all the decorations everywhere, but I didn't take the time to do anything myself.
Having kids has changed all that! The magic and spirit of Christmas is back. There is nothing like experiencing the joy of the holiday season through a toddler's eyes. They get so excited about seeing Santa, Christmas trees, all the lights, listening to Christmas music, and now for the second year, we have also introduced Elf on the Shelf.
We did Elf on the Shelf last year for the first time. They were only just turning two, so they really didn't quite understand it (they still don't), but they did enjoy trying to find him every morning. I should say that Rylee enjoyed looking for him. Ayden was rather impartial once he got over the fact that we wouldn't let him play with the Elf. We didn't do anything fancy, just sticking to moving him to a new place every day.
We still aren't doing anything too creative and mostly just keep it simple. I have stolen a few ideas from some friends and Pinterest, but mostly... who has time for that? lol
|Elf came in swinging for the first day. Ayden and Rylee both commented on how he was swinging.|
|Elf brought a friend and some goodies for the kids.|
Other than the above two times, we've just barely remembered to move the elf and we've kept it simple. No matter how creative or simple it is though, the kids are just as excited to find the elf each morning. As they get older, I'm sure we will get more extravagant in what we do, but for now, simple is good!
|Who knew the elf would be heavy enough to make the picture sit crooked?|
The picture on the right, he's sitting on top of our back door.
Bottom left, he's on the light fixtures in the bathroom.
Last year, Rylee named him, Baby Elf. We thought they might actually come up with a real name this year for him, but every time we've asked what the elf's name is, we get told his name is "Momma." Ugh. We'd rather stick with Baby Elf! I just can't get behind saying, "where's Momma this morning?" "Have you found Momma?" Nope. Not going to name him Momma. Soooo, Baby Elf it still is! Maybe next year he'll get an actual name. Or maybe he'll always be Baby Elf. I suppose that's okay too.
I know some people think the whole Elf on the Shelf thing is stupid and/or creepy. I've seen posts on Facebook saying how kids shouldn't need a silly little elf to motivate them to behave. I have to be honest, I don't understand how he's creepy. I guess if you look at it in the context of he's "watching" you, in a Chucky sort of way. But then again, some people are afraid of clowns, too. I don't really understand that fear, but I know it's real for some. As for using him to motivate kids to be on their best behavior, how is that any different than Santa Claus?
"He sees you when you're sleeping.
He knows when you're awake.
He knows when you've been bad or good,
so be good for goodness sake."
I don't know that we'll ever use the elf to report back to Santa or not. We might. His story might evolve as the kids get older. I know I don't want him to really become a naughty elf and be a trouble maker. I just want it to be fun. I want our elf to be just another way to bring the magic of Christmas alive in our house, for our kids.
I still don't go all out in decorating. In fact, I've barely gotten any decorations out at all. I have pulled out a few things though, and the kids are in love.
|This Santa has fiber optic lights that change color. They think he's pretty cool. |
Rylee even had to give him a kiss this morning.
|This singing/dancing reindeer (or Moose as they call him) is back for his third Christmas with the kids, and they think he's just as special as they did the first year! In fact, Moose has not really left Ayden's side.|
I've always loved Christmas, but it is ten times better with kids. We can't help but feel extra blessed and in awe that we get to make our own traditions and memories with our very own kids.
What are some ways that YOU experience the magic of Christmas with your kids? Please share!