Wednesday, November 20, 2013

{12 Days of Christmas Traditions} Day Two: Elf on the Shelf

I know it's technically the same day because I didn't finish my day one post until 12:30 am here in Edinburgh, so the date is the same for day one and day two, but I slept between the two posts, so that's two separate days in my mind.  Yes I am tired and this post may or may not make any sense...


Here we go! Elf on the Shelf - should we do this?  Everyone else is, it's really cute, it promises to ensure great memories of your children's childhoods, and not to mention it's a helpful threat reminder when kids are pouting and crying etc.  But do I want my kids to behave well to please Santa? So that they can get more presents?  Um, the answer is an emphatic NO.  Does having Buddy the Elf (we're really original at the Ince Household) show up at our house day after day in creative places promote thoughts of Jesus' birth, the advent of Christ becoming a human so he could save the world and forgive us when we're naughty?  No it actually promotes the controversial D.C. bus slogan of years past, "Why believe in God?  Just be good for goodness sake!" Actually just be good for increasing possessions sake.

Ok, hold the hate mail!  Just stirring the pot a bit.  It's good for us to think about these things before we do them.  Implication is education (not me, Chesterton).

So if you're wondering if we do Elf on the Shelf, the answer is yes.  We started it last year because everybody else is doing it (even my sister-in-law who is not afraid to be counter-cultural though she refused to pay 30 bucks for the elf and bought a reindeer at Michaels instead and calls it Rodney - love her!  I had a coupon...)! I knew I wasn't totally convinced that it was sending the right message, but I figured for a 2.5 year old and 8 month old it wasn't a big deal and that I could really decide the next Christmas (now!) if we'd stick with it since Buddy the Elf is not yet in their retrievable memories.

As I contemplated if Buddy should become a permanent Christmas tradition, I would try to brainstorm how I could be intentional about Jesus and still keep Buddy around, but nothing was coming to me.  I was reluctantly leaning toward dropping the whole thing until I came across this really creative idea from Andrea: the North Pole Breakfast.

I love her idea of having Buddy put on a breakfast for the kids to remind them of how this whole Elf on the Shelf thing works.  Now you're probably asking yourself what does this have to do with Jesus? And the answer is nothing.  But after seeing what Andrea did with the letters and gifts, it dawned on me that I can have Buddy tell them whatever I want. I think it's beneficial to show them that Santa and Jesus aren't at odds.  Every day Buddy shows up at our house, we'll have more opportunities to talk about why we choose to obey Mommy and Daddy, be kind to our siblings, tell the truth etc instead of the majority of those conversations happening at times when we're correcting our kids behavior.

So Buddy gets to stay, and Taylor and I can't wait to have a morning off of breakfast duty on the 29th! :)


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