1.) I am too cheap to spend $30 on what boils down to a stuffed toy that will see the light of day for 25 days each month.
2.) After 5 children, I don't have enough of a memory left to actually remember to do the elf antics each night, nor do I trust that I won't be lazy enough to come up with something funny every day. And, I don't want to clean up after the "elf". Let's be honest.
3.) Two of my 5 children are now old enough to have figured out the whole Santa thing, and I still wanted something that motivate them to step up it up this month.
4.) As super cute as Elf on the Shelf is, if I'm going to start a new tradition for my kids, I want it to be something more meaningful for the Christmas season.
And so, "Snowball in the Box", a collaboration between my 8 1/2 year old daughter and I, was born.
Basically, we took a Pooki Scentsy Buddy (which was FREE because I had hostess credits from a Scentsy party I did with this girl: Mandy Lowry) - although any stuffed animal or doll would work- which comes in a handy box, and turned him into a Santa's Helper. We used some scrapbook supplies to cover up the Scentsy logo and gussy up his winter castle. Total time: 30 minutes. So, we are now into this zero dollars and 30 minutes. I can live with that.
Snowball's mission is two-fold: 1.) He watches the kids during the day to report to Santa at night on their helpfulness and good deeds (which will sometimes result in notes from Santa or little treats...Hershey's kisses for everyone making their bed before school? Yes, please!) and 2.) If he gets back early enough from his visit to Santa, he might do a good deed for one of US.
Basically, I took Elf on the Shelf and turned him away from the dark side. Jedi bear? You betcha.
And, because its me, and I never miss an opportunity to trick my children into learning an important life lesson, there is indeed a mighty catch. The 8 year old is really Snowball's eyes, ears and hands. SHE is the only kid in on the secret (the 10 year old might be brought in later...but I have other plans for her this month...), and will be the one watching for good deeds (to report to Mom), and actually DOING the good deeds at night most of the time. She might fold someone's laundry and set Snowball on top, or fix her little sister's book and prop it up in the chair with Snowball, etc, etc. She is ridiculously excited to be part of the "Christmas magic"...and I am ridiculously excited for her to serve others at home without expecting anything back. Happily.
I get to motivate the younger ones to behave and motivate the older ones to look for ways to serve others...I'm basically calling this one a win-win before the month even begins!
What traditions do you have for your kids to help them remember to behave during a busy, stressful time of year and do service in your home?
And, by the way, to my Elf on the Shelf friends -- I will be checking facebook daily to see what your elves are up to :)