To elf or not to elf…

So it’s Christmas time and the festive ‘elf on a shelf’ that’s so huge in America is taking the U.K by storm.
Last year I attempted it but found it so difficult. Two small children, a very busy business period for Jajo, back to the day job after maternity and then the usual day to day family life.
Jasmine opted to keep the elf at all times which meant I struggled to find it and quickly ran out of ideas that I could do quickly and easily where the resources were to hand.
Soon the elf fell by the wayside most days as the least important thing to do. I felt bad seeing all the fabulous ideas on my Facebook feed – how hard could it be? Another patently ‘failure’?
I was determined to try again this year and decided that the kids wouldn’t touch the elves 😩 but on day one the elf would bring a special friend for each of them to look after and play with – guilt gone!
I decided to look on Pinterest and see what quick, easy and relatively mess free ideas I could utilise and set up a board, after about 15 minutes I had more than enough ideas to get started.
Then I got (kind of) creative…
1. I spent 10 minutes max with a scrap of paper and noted the dates and days of the week. I work Wednesday to Friday as needed things those days that the kids would enjoy and see but wouldn’t fuss over. They also needed to be easy to set up.
2. I raided the pound shop and bought crafts, activities, Christmas plates etc and a gingerbread house pack from ikea (around £2.50)
3. Using the ideas and cheap resources I noted down an idea for each day so I would know what I was doing. This honestly took no longer than about 10 minutes. I spread the ‘doing’ things over be weekends so that Jasmine and Joseph could enjoy them while we got ready or did housework etc.
4. I noted activities we had planned so the elves could bring tickets, leave party clothes out etc.
5. Finally I made some quick notes and letters explaining the activities and what was happening which went alongside the pack of info we got with it elves and made it really personalised.

I’d say the planning took no more than an hour and I felt fully ready to start this year more confidently.

Day 1 ended with a cross for both Jasmine and Joseph on the behaviour chart which I worry about… I chatted with some fellow elf mums… What if they get all crosses? Do we cancel Christmas? Just more things for us parents to worry about! Take away one problem and gain another. Behaviour has picked up and they seem to understand the advent calendars, finding the elves and getting a tick at the end of the day (fingers crossed).

And if if doesn’t make them super well behaved…? Well they’re excited, small only once and deserve all the magic I can throw their way. The pleasure Jasmine has from her elves visiting is just lovely. She’s told everyone who is willing to listen and for me that makes the preparation time worth even more lack of sleep – sleep is overrated anyway.

The elf of the shelf brings with is more parental dilemmas. Join in or not? Well it’s up to you and whatever you decide your guilt for either not doing it when it seems everyone else is or the time you sacrifice other important things at such a hectic time causing you stress will both burden you. The joys of being a parent in such a pressured society.

For the Gilchrist’s? Well we are thoroughly enjoying it, even daddy has copied the pictures I have given him, and the short time planning has made this easy so far and I feel prepared for the rest of advent. I think!

Here’s what Sparkle and Noel have been up to so far!