Have we hit the week of Thanksgiving already?! Yikes. It’s really time to start getting serious about prepping for Christmas isn’t it? Since I’ve been jotting down gift ideas as I go the last few weeks, what is actually topping my list of Things To Do for Christmas is make up my Elf List for the year.
Are you in on the Elf on the Shelf trend? I actually ran across the idea a year or two before they made the official kits and everything (awesome right? I’m a trend-setter! ha!) and we have had elves visit our house every December since then. I’ve found it to be a fun tradition and one the kids really look forward to but I also know that it’s a lot of work and I have found myself popping awake at 5AM thinking “oh no! I didn’t move the elves!” Thus the Elf List. I collect elf ideas whenever I run across them (yes even in July!) so I have quite a few on my Elf Pinterest Board – feel free to check them out if you need inspiration.
December is a chaotic time of the year with a lot of time spent trying to simplify without missing out on the magic of the season. Over the years I have developed a few tricks to make this Elf thing as easy as possible and thought I would share them with you.
1. Plan ahead. Collect ideas then make a list. I usually sit down a couple weeks before December starts with a paper numbered 1 through 24 and a calendar. Then I pencil in things I KNOW I want the elves to do on specific days. Our elves arrive on the first of December, always with a Hello letter and a few new stamps on their passports. The 24th is also a given as they need to bid the kiddos good-bye for the year. My son’s birthday is on the 5th so I always plan something related to that on that day.
Life is changeable so while I do schedule certain days, I don’t schedule something on all of them. I make a secondary list at the bottom of my paper with quick and easy ideas if I need to change something at the last minute.
2. Set a reminder on your phone. You DO NOT want to be scrambling to move the elves at 3AM when you wake up and remember you didn’t do it before you went to bed, or to have to try to come up with a reason they didn’t move when the kids discover it in the morning. So set that alarm on your phone and never forget the elves again. I usually set mine for about half an hour after we put the kids to bed so they have enough time to fall asleep but it’s still early enough that I am not too tired to make the effort.
3. Enlist help. Sometimes it’s as simple as telling the husband it’s his turn to move the elves. Or it could be that you have a friend that also has elves at their house and you coordinate a night or two with them. A couple years ago our elves had a Skype session with their friends at a neighbor’s house – we simply did a screen shot of them on Skype and emailed it to each other then it was a simple matter to put the photo on the screen and set the elves up in front of it.
And never underestimate the power of a brainstorming session with someone. If you don’t have a buddy doing Elf on the Shelf I do have a Facebook group set up for exchanging ideas.
4. Free printables. Love them! Elf on the Shelf is very popular and there are so many great blogs out there with ideas and even some with printables. I used THIS one and THIS one last year and am figuring out how to incorporate THESE this year.
5. Buy things when you see them. I always try to have a couple of things on hand that the elves can “give” the kids – a mini Christmas tree, a tiny craft kit, a puzzle, a new game. This is one of those cases where the fact that the stores start setting out Christmas stuff before Halloween works in our favor. I have found it’s easier to run across something cool and fun than to get an idea and then try to head out searching for it. So hit that dollar section in Target or the craft store or the dollar store itself and grab a couple of items.
6. Work with what you have. Our houses are stuffed with inspiration, we just have to be open to it. And the kids get a bigger kick out of personal things. So grab your daughter’s favorite doll and let the elf have a tea party. Pull out the Lego sets and have the elf build a Lego christmas tree. Have a pair of hand weights gathering dust in the closet? Maybe the elves need a workout.
7. HAVE FUN! This is supposed to be an enjoyable thing for you and your family so allow yourself to get carried away with it.
All right, everyone even more enthused for their elf visits this year? I know I am! I will be using the rest of this week to post some of my Elf Antics from Christmases past and will like those posts here soon! In the meantime, do you have some favorite Elf ideas you would like to share?!