For us, and with Landon's age (he'll be 3 in February), I knew I didn't want to go all out with the official Elf on a Shelf "program" for lack of better word. As I do with most things, I knew I wanted to make it my own and adapt it to fit our family and Landon.
So as an almost 3 year old, we're in the stage of being scared by things. The Yoda pictures in Target scare him. The sweet neighbor boy dressed up as a Ninja Turtle on Halloween scared him. I knew the small Elf with special North Pole Magic would FREAK HIM OUT. (And for what it's worth, I can't blame him....that little Elf is creepy looking!) I should also tell you Landon comes by it honestly. As a young girl, when I lost my first tooth, I was deathly afraid of the tooth fairy. So much so that my parents had to put my first tooth in an envelope in our mailbox. The idea of a fairy coming into my room while I slept and getting my tooth under my pillow was enough to put me over the edge. :) So I can't blame Landon. Ha!
Anyways, last Christmas I bought the bigger plush Elf that kids can sleep with and play with since you're not supposed to touch the Elf because he'll lose his magic. I'd put him in fun places a couple times and make Landon giggle, but that was the extent of it last year. I knew this year, I wanted to incorporate him a bit more because Landon would love finding him each time and seeing what he was up to.
I introduced Landon to Elf on December 1 by having him sitting in the Christmas tree. I didn't tell him anything about magic, or North Pole, or Santa.....simply "look, you have a surprise! It's an Elf to play with during Christmas!" He liked him at first and then got kind of weirded out by him. He doesn't really play with Elf during the day or talk much about him unless we see the Elf on the Shelf stuff in a store and then he says "Hey, Elf! I have Elf at home!" My plans for Elf, this year, are to have him do funny and exciting things 2 days a week that will make Landon laugh. As Landon gets older (and as we add Allie to the mix) we'll figure out how Elf changes. I don't know how I'll incorporate Santa into it, or if I will at all. We'll just take it a year at a time. I've read lots of great ideas on incorporating both Santa as well as Jesus with the Elf......but in the meantime, I'm enjoying the simplicity of our Elf this year.
Here's a quick rundown of what Elf will be up to this month. Maybe you need a few ideas or have some to share! Let me know in the comments!!
Elf arrives in the Christmas tree (December 1)
Elf puts wrapping bows on Landon's sleep buddies' heads
Elf is found riding on the back of Landon's giraffe
Elf is found after nap time with items to decorate Christmas cookies as a family
Elf is buckled in Landon's car seat
Elf introduces the Donkey in the Living Room Nativity Set & Book*
Elf makes a toilet paper snowman
Elf is reading the Bearenstein Bear's Christmas Story book to Landon's sleep buddies
Elf is wrapped in a towel in the fridge
Elf is sitting at the Nativity Set (Christmas morning)
*The Donkey in the Living Room Nativity Set comes with a book and 10 wooden nativity characters. 10 days leading up to Christmas (or whenever you want to do it during the month) you wrap each character individually and have your child open one each morning. You read the page in the book dedicated to that character that teaches your child about that character's role in the Christmas story.
Remember, I just do 2 things a week (every day is just too much at this season of life for me) and I make it SIMPLE. :) I also make myself a recurring reminder on my phone to get Elf set up.
Do you do Elf on a Shelf? How do you make it fit your family? Do you incorporate Santa and Jesus? Share in the comments!!