HarvardHomemaker

By HarvardHomemaker

I'm a Harvard graduate and homemaker who blogs about living (and loving!) the domestic life with my husband and four young daughters. My blog now permanently resides at www.harvardhomemaker.com. Please visit me there!

Posted on Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 04:23:00 PM in Holidays
Tags: parenting,  tradtion,  fun,  kids,  gift ideas,  holidays,  christmas eve,  tradition,  family,  making memories,  elf on the shelf,  christmas photos,  christmas,  mom tips

Elf on the Shelf Winter Wonderland and Photo Gift

I must admit that I love the Elf on the Shelf tradition.  It's so fun to see our girls jump out of bed each morning, starting with Thanksgiving, to look for "Tom", our beloved elf.  But I'll also admit that making sure that little guy moves each night can be a lot of work!  My husband and I finally got smart and added an alert on our phones so we get a reminder each night.  I'm proud to say that for the first holiday season in five years, Tom has shown up in a different hiding place each morning!  (insert fist bump)

HOW TO COVER WHEN YOUR ELF DOESN'T MOVE

When you do have those panicked moments, and you realize your elf never moved, this is how we cover for ourselves:  "Tom must have seen you misbehaving.  I bet he loves you so much that he didn't have the heart to tell Santa about that.  I think he decided to stay here for another day before he reports back..."  Our daughters are always more than satisfied with that explanation, and we typically find them whispering "thank you" to Tom throughout that day.  :)  Crisis averted!  Whew!

A CHRISTMAS EVE BIG FINISH

When Tom does move, we are not very creative.  He moves from the mantle to the Christmas tree to a stocking...to...well, to a shelf.  I admire all the people out there who do something awesomely clever with their elf each and every night; but we are not those people.  We don't want to peak too early.  :)

Our elf usually has a big finish of some kind, though, on Christmas Eve.  Our kids adore him so much, and even though they are beyond thrilled that Christmas has finally arrived, they are honestly pretty emotional that their days of racing around to find Tom each morning have come to an end.  They consider him to be part of our family (seriously--they say they are glad Dad has Tom so he's not the only boy!), and they sincerely miss him the rest of the year. 

So last year, Tom created a winter wonderland by gathering all the Christmas decorations in the house and bringing them to the dining room table.  He lined the table with wrapping paper and got into the marshmallows, candy canes, and even brought some Little Debbie Christmas tree cakes with him to line his path.  He dug up a doll chair in the playroom, and Tom took a picture of himself in his "throne" while holding a snapshot of his four favorite girls.  And then off he went to the North Pole until next year!

When our girls came downstairs on Christmas morning, they were beyond thrilled to find the winter wonderland, complete with a framed picture of Tom sitting in that very spot before saying goodbye.  They treasured that picture he left all year long!  I know it helped them to miss Tom just a little less!   

Here's Tom posing for his photo shoot!  He taped the little note to the picture to make it easier to hold.

Here's a close-up of the picture he left for his four favorite girls.  He left the wallet-sized photo and the note behind.  They couldn't believe he'd been holding that!

That sneaky guy got into the pantry and used what he could find to make a winter wonderland!

Here's a shot of the path to his throne (the doll chair)!

He even collected the decorations all over the house and brought them into the dining room.  This is the scene the girls discovered on Christmas morning.  

Their reaction was worth every bit of the effort!

Organize-It Your Storage and Organization Resource

Enjoy the magic of the season, everybody!  I hope you create some memories that will stay with you for a lifetime!  

What's the best exit your Elf on the Shelf has had?  I'd love to know!

Until next time,

~ HH

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