I really resisted the Elf on the Shelf. I really, really didn't want to do it. I couldn't wrap my head around spending $29.95 on a little doll & then telling the kids that the doll was watching them to report back to Santa like a vindictive little spy, and oh, yes, if you touch it you ruin its magic. What a terrible, horrible tradition. I was having none of it.
Then, the kids started going to a friend's house two mornings a week and they had a elf. If we didn't get an elf, my kids would somehow feel rejected. Much as I didn't want them being spied on by a little doll, being rejected by one seemed worse. That's how Snowflake came into our lives last year.
I didn't do anything terribly creative with it last year, but we had our fun. Snowflake read a tiny book one day & hung from a few ornaments on the tree. She wrapped tinsel around the stairs. The kids loved her. I was indifferent but did my mom-duty and moved her around every evening until it was time for her to return to the North Pole on December 24th.
After we celebrated Thanksgiving this year, I knew we had to get ready for Snowflake's return. One more thing to do in the evening, right? Great. Then something happened that changed my perspective.
The news of November 29th felt like a gut punch. On a global scale, our standoff with North Korea freaked me out. One of my students asked, "We're kind of in a Cold War now, aren't we?," and it became my job to have that conversation with her. Then, the news about Matt Lauer really, really got to me. I've been thinking about it, and I think it's because I welcomed him into my home every morning I was around. I watched him every day on both of my maternity leaves. I watched he and Katie Couric try to do their jobs through their own devastation as the Towers fell. The news made me feel angry, betrayed, and scared. (See a great article about this in Scary Mommy-- the link is below.)
This is a hard time to be a high school teacher. The issues the kids are seeing every day in the news are really hard to navigate. They're trying to figure out who and what to trust and what a good adult looks like. As an educator, I do the best I can to help them as they enter adulthood, but I wish it wasn't such an ugly time. I'm grateful that my husband and I have been able to shelter our little ones from most of the vitriol and ugly stories in the news right now.
That brings me back to the Elf on the Shelf, because this year, I am freaking EMBRACING that Elf. We need a little holiday magic. We need something to look forward to every morning. I need something to look forward to every morning, and the kids' faces as they race around looking for Snowflake are pretty magical. I'm going to ask Snowflake to ignore when my kids are being unpleasant, not report back to Santa, and just join me in basking in their innocence. Adulthood and adult issues will come soon enough. In the meantime, I'll do everything in my power to give my kids a little magic this holiday season.
I'm an English teacher, a wife, a dog lover, a bibliophile, & a wanna-be fashionable mom. Well, I'm already a mom. Just trying to get the "fashionable" part going...