Our First Year with an Elf on the Shelf | Toddling Through the Silicon Valley | Cheryl Bac | Palo Alto Online |

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By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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Our First Year with an Elf on the Shelf

Uploaded: Nov 30, 2020
Like many extended families, the last time many of us were together was last Christmas. Since then my grandfather passed away and we have talked with our kids about all of the memories they have of him. Many of their memories were during our Christmas vacations. Our kids loved showing him their Lego creations and drawings whenever we visited.

This year our kids were very excited to start unpacking our Christmas decorations. It reminded them of all the fun traditions they can look forward to this season- singing Christmas songs, reading Christmas stories, making gingerbread houses, baking Christmas cookies, and, of course, opening presents.

However, it is hard to not focus on everything we are missing out on this year. We are not flying to the Midwest to celebrate with relatives. Great grandpa is no longer alive to celebrate with us and create new memories. We won’t play in the snow And we won’t go to museums, zoos and other attractions that we usually enjoy this time of year.

I don’t want our kids to be too focused on what they are missing this year. I want them to focus on all of the ways we can still happily celebrate this holiday season. So I decided to add some new family traditions to the mix.

Every year I consider doing elf on the shelf, but I always end up skipping it. Our kids don’t usually have a lot of time in the morning before school. I didn’t want our kids to worry about being watched all of the time. And I didn’t want to start a tradition that would just add more stress for me.

However, with more free time this year, elf on the shelf sounded like the perfect tradition to try when we are all stuck at home. This year we are going to do a modified version of elf on the shelf. Our elf is just going to be a fun Christmas stuffy that does silly things in our home. Our kids will be able to play with it. Our elf won’t tell Santa anything about the kids’ behavior. And it will continue to do silly tricks even if they are misbehaving. I want our modified elf on the shelf acitivity to be a very positive experience this holiday season.

Thankfully the internet is filled with tons of elf on the shelf ideas so I think I already have 24 that will be fun yet simple enough to easily pull off. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that our kids enjoy our elf’s snow angel made out of flour tomorrow morning.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Dec 2, 2020 at 4:31 pm

Parent is a registered user.

Hi Cheryl,
Are you familiar with Makey Makey? It's a little board that lets you turn anything into a computer keyboard input. Okay, that may sound like nothing, but what that allows you to do is, for example, turn a bunch of flowers into a keyboard to play a tune, or a bunch of forks, or some fruit, or even a drawing (they have special pens). It might take the grownups a few minutes to figure out how it works, but then once you show the kids, their creativity will take over. Web Link
(I am not associated with this company, but found it endlesslessly creative -- and yes, we used orchids to play a tune for mother's day with one.)

What about connecting it to some decorations and playing a seasonal tune as a new tradition?

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Dec 4, 2020 at 8:50 am

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Parent - Thanks for the idea! I’ll check it out. What a fun Mother’s Day gift.

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