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Expressing love through elf insanity

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

December 12, 2018

Mother of the year moment: I contemplated having a niece or nephew ruin the Christmas magic for my son, just so I wouldn’t have to keep staging the Elf on a Shelf in ridiculous scenes.

For the uninitiated, Elf on the Shelf originated with a book that was released in 2005. The book explains that an elf comes to your home, watches your child(ren) and flies back to the North Pole every night to give Santa an update on child behavior. Then, the elf flies back to your home and hides in a new spot.

The book comes with a small elf with a plastic head and a stuffed felt body, ready to be named and report for duty.

It sounds simple, but in many homes, Elf on a Shelf has taken on a life of its own. There are numerous blog posts, Pinterest pins and websites devoted to showing the crazy and fun ways the elf can be staged. Elves roll down stairs inside rolls of toilet paper. Elves take bubble baths in sinks filled with marshmallows. Elves have festive parties with Barbie dolls. It’s elf insanity!

Five years ago, when my son acquired an Elf on the Shelf book and elf, I made the mistake of going wild with elf fun. I had no idea I was sentencing myself to five (maybe more) years of staying up late and developing elaborate scenes using my son’s toys, purchased props and craft projects (I once sewed a tiny pair of underwear for the elf to imitate a book character my son loved at the time; I’m not sure that’s what my grandmother intended when she taught my sisters and I to sew, claiming it was an important life skill).

I’m 100 percent sick of the elf, and I regret ever bringing it into my home. But my son, Jake, loves the elf. He loves its antics. He loves the anticipation, wondering what it’ll do next. He loves that I dramatically complain about its messes.

That elf brings amazing joy to my little big man.

The elf has become a reminder that the best gifts of the season aren’t the ones purchased from a store. The best gifts are the sacrifices we make for others – the gifts of self, the gifts of love.

Afterall, isn’t it the ultimate gift of love – God becoming man to save us – that we’re celebrating this time of year?

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