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Why There’s No Elf On My Shelf…

As per every year, I am in complete denial of Christmas, until we’re least into double digits at least. I doubt I’ve ever even bought an advent calendar until at least the 5th…

Not because I’m a Scrooge. I love Christmas. What I don’t love is panic-inducing ‘Black Friday’ sales and general over-the-topness that usually comes with it.

And one element of Christmas I’ve never partaken in is Elf On The Shelf. 
I totally get that for the vast majority of families who have one, they are just lots of fun and don’t get taken too seriously at all. I’d probably join in too if I wasn’t so likely to forget all about it.

But something in me also can’t embrace this notion of having a kind of spy in the house.
Whether the Elf reports back to Santa that our children have or haven’t been ‘good’, or whether Santa comes (or not) because they’re ‘naughty or nice’, it’s all just two one dimensional for me.

What does ‘good’ mean anyway? Obedient and compliant? Easy for the adults to be around?

I’m not suggesting we should be raising little anarchists, but equally, I’d like to think we’re bringing up this generation of kids to think more for themselves, and behave accordingly, even if that means challenging; a person, a belief, a system, a custom, a ‘this is how it’s always been done’ kind of thing.

Don’t get me wrong; plenty of times I just want a kid who’s easy to live with, and I subsequently fall foul of bribing mine more than I would like. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a quiet life.

But like most of us, overall, I don’t want to cultivate a ‘What’s in it for me?’ attitude in him. Doing the ‘right thing’ should be determined by his moral compass – his values – not reward.

Kids’ ‘success’ is already largely defined by school, so outside of that, I think that our children should be defining their own, rather than it being measured by how impressed their grown-ups; or Santa, or elves are; with their pliability and complacency.

I think, as parents, we’re also increasingly mindful of the disparities between what Christmas means for different kids, especially those who aren’t as fortunate as ours.

I personally worked out as a little kid that Santa wasn’t real simply because Christmas wasn’t much cop.
While I grew to resent how the meagre offerings in our house compared unfavourably to some of my friends’; who were showered with gifts; I worked out -thankfully – that it wasn’t because I wasn’t ‘good’.

‘Self-other’ comparisons are toxic in any situation, but ‘So-and-so’s go so much better stuff than me’ AND ‘S/he must be SO much better/gooder/nicer than me’ is a double whammy of negativity!

I really don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to do Santa, but it does feel much more comfortable to me that, these days, parents tend to be much more creative in how they pitch his ‘job’ to their kids than maybe their own were.

Santa comes to our house on the proviso that I send Santa some money.
It’s not the most enchanting version of reality but, while I don’t want to ever guilt-trip my child for being a lucky kid; I do want him to understand the value of things.

Anyone else find that “We’ll just buy a new one” is a major bug-bearer of mine when possessions are needlessly broken or carelessly discarded? 🙋‍♀️

It’s a fine balance, isn’t it, keeping the magic of Christmas alive, whilst also teaching our kids that value of their belongings, that he or she with the biggest and best presents are actually not merely the ‘nicest’ child, but the more fortunate ones?

Where should the fairytale of Christmas meet the truth about Santa?… 🎅

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