Like everyone else who enters a Target I have been bombarded with the super cute Elf on the Shelf boxes. Now while I think those little Elves are too adorable there is no way I want to pay $29.99 for one, and I also questioned how much I wanted to add one more thing to my plate.
If you google Elf on the Shelf, you will come across dozens of blogs devoted to this little guy and all his "antics". Which is one thing I don't understand. Originally I thought the whole point of the Elf was to tell your kids he is watching them and will report their bad behavior to Santa. Then when I clicked on a couple of blogs devoted to all the things the Elf does, such as marshmallow fights, I thought "doesn't that defeat the purpose of the Elf. Not to mention, I sure as heck don't want to clean up messes I created for the sake of this magic Elf.
I, for one, have no interest in creating loads of extra work for myself during an already busy holiday season. So I decided if I was going to do this Elf tradition I wanted to keep it simple, no messes, tricks, gifts, and I wanted to do it less expensive than $29.99.
I did what I always do, I googled "elf on shelf" and searched for homemade versions. None of them really struck my fancy so I decided to look for other bendable Elf ornaments. I found this website. They were a fairly reasonable price at $7.99 and since I had already shopped around the stores near me finding nothing, this was my last hope. I figured around $15 (after shipping and handling) was still better than $30. Plus I thought it might be better if everything was a little different from the store bought and homemade. Cuz I'm just cool like that, or cheap like that, whichever way you want to take it. I ordered mine late on a Friday night and it arrived Monday morning, so they were really quick about it, which I loved since I didn't decide to do the Elf on the Shelf until kinda last minute.
I found this blog that had made a Shutterfly book instead of having the book that comes with the store bought Elf on the Shelf. I considered doing this, then realized I didn't have the time and after shipping costs I would end up spending more with the book and elf than if I had bought the official version. So instead I used some of the wording from this book, and improvised the rest creating a unique and one of a kind book for Grant and his elf.
I found pcitures online for the pages. I wasn't completely satisfied with them but I did my best and convinced myself Grant wouldn't care. I printed them onto white cardstock. I have tons of this and it can be found in 100 page packages at Walmart for around $5.88. After punching holes in the side I ran some ribbon through to hold the pages together.
I searched all over the web for ideas on adoption certificates, arrival letters, goodbye letters, and everything in between. I decided to once again make my own in Microsoft Works Word document.
I made an adoption certificate:
And an arrival letter from Santa:
Since I wanted to forgo the "antics" that some elves do, and I didn't want the Elf to be associated with bringing gifts, I thought our elf would bring some little notes to Grant and occasionally a piece of his favorite candy, Smarties, for very good behavior. The biggest thing I didn't want to happen with the elf was for it to be associated with bringing lots of gifts or other treasures. The Christmas season is already so geared toward receiving gifts, I didn't want this to be as well. Kids enjoy simplicity and that's what I'm going for with mine.
I went back and forth on how the Elf should arrive. I thought about putting him in a postage box and placing him on the doorstep, telling Grant he had been sent by Santa. Then I decided to put him in a box, wrap him up, and place him under the tree before any other gifts were put under it. Inside the box is the elf on red felt, an adoption certificate for after he is named (rolled up and tied with ribbon, placed beside the elf in the box), and a book explaining the Elf and his special magic.
On the outside of the box, was a tag with Grant's name and a letter from Santa rolled up and attached with ribbon.
I was weary of how the elf would go over, if Grant would actually understand how it all works. I couldn't get him to stop touching the elf, even after he was named and I told him he would lose his Christmas magic. I don't think a 3 year old understands that concept, at least mine doesn't. We decided to name him Eli the elf. When I asked Grant what he wanted his name to be he said Santa Claus so I had to persuade him that there already was a Santa and our elf needed his own name.
I actually could have left out the book I made all together because he was so interested in holding and flinging the elf around he had no interest in me reading to him. However maybe later when the elf starts moving he will want to know more about him. I'm hoping once we start moving the elf at night and he sends little notes maybe Grant will start to understand why the elf is here. I guess time will tell on that but I'll keep you informed. I'm excited to start this tradition and see how it goes.