As an avid pinner, I kept seeing pins for Elf on a Shelf ideas. They looked like a lot of fun, and I am all about celebrating, so I decided to start a new tradition. Last night we adopted "Jokey" the Elf, as E decided to name him. I read the book but he didn't seem interested - until I explained the Elf was somewhere in our house and he'd have to find him. And so the hunt began...
He was guessing aloud all the places Jokey might be until he finally spotted him atop the Christmas tree. "There he is! Hey, wait a minute...he's not a real Elf. He's a toy!"
I guess I should have started this tradition when he was 2 and not too smart for my own good. I explained that Jokey was a special Christmas Elf and while he looked like a toy, we had to obey the rules and not touch him and make sure we made good decisions since he was watching.
This morning the hunt began again to see where Jokey might have landed after his overnight trip to the North Pole. This time he was hanging from the ceiling fan and E began inspecting him intently.
"Hey mom, Jokey doesn't have a little ball on his hat. You know like Santa has?"
Sure enough, the little white fuzzy pom pom was missing from Jokey's hat. A quick google image search on my phone (what would I do without my smart phone?!) revealed this was how they came - sans white fuzzy ball. But before I could respond, my son was ready to offer up the explanation.
"Maybe that's how God made him, right mom? He IS a special elf."
And then it donned on me. While I love the idea of the little elf hiding in different places, what I don't want to happen is for me to remove the real reason we celebrate.
"You're right E. He is a special Elf because God made him, not Santa. And you are a special boy because God made you just the way you are. And you know what else? Finding the Elf is a fun game we can play at Christmas but did you know God is always with you and He's always watching you?"
He was quiet for a moment before he answered. "Yeah, God is watching Jokey too because he wants to make sure he makes good decisions."
Valid point. And with that I've decided to change the tradition - and the lesson - a bit. Instead of the Elf watching my son's every move and reporting back to Santa, I've decided we'll see what mischief & fun the Elf can have in this game of hide & seek. I think E was right to give him the name "Jokey" because this little Elf might be playing practical jokes all the way up until Christmas. At least until we make a birthday cake for Jesus...and I'm pretty sure Jokey will find a place near the manger where even he can worship Jesus!
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