The “Grace-Filled” Elf on the Shelf

04
Dec
2013
Written by:   |  Found in: Grace, Other, Parenting  |   no Comments

The “Grace-Filled” Elf on the Shelf

  Last year, a friend of mine chronicled the mischievous adventures of her family’s Elf on the Shelf on Facebook. Her darling girls giggled and grinned as they awoke each morning to find their elf watching a movie or taking a drive with Barbie in her pink Corvette.   The whole thing seemed pretty innocent and fun so I decided to purchase an Elf on the Shelf for our family. A few weeks prior to Thanksgiving, I found the little guy at a local toy store. Upon bringing him home, I didn’t really bother to open the box- I knew there was an elf doll and a book inside but I figured I’d inspect it all after Thanksgiving.   I started pinning ideas for our elf on Pinterest and was sort of amazed by all the work parents put into this whole thing. There are menus of potential names, endless lists elfin activities, and even a North Pole breakfast celebration to welcome the guy to your home. I started feeling like maybe the whole thing was a little over-blown but since that’s true of just about everything on Pinterest, I didn’t really think too much of it.   Last week, I had a (rare) phone conversation with a far- off family member about her Christmas preparations and the elf came up. She shared some of her more creative “elf antics” when all of a sudden, she lowered her voice and nearly whispered into the phone, “plus, it totally works.”   “Works?” I was super confused (special thanks to this family member for removing my naiveté on the subject). After our conversation, I ran upstairs and practically tore open the box containing our pointy-eared visitor. To be honest, I was a little more than horrified as I flipped through the book meant to introduce kids to their Elf on the Shelf. I could attempt to describe the book’s characterization of this red-suited fellow to you but my best descriptions include some “not-so-sensitive” phrases.   In short, he’s basically the morality equivalent of a CIA informant. His “job” is to pretty much rat your kids out to Santa if they aren’t being nice.   This chapped me because I kind of feel like the whole “naughty or nice” concept spoils what we’re trying to build our grace-based home upon (but that’s for another blog). So while I’ve been working to ensure our kids have a grace-filled Christmas experience, I’ve unwittingly invited Santa’s Snitch into our home to undermine the whole thing.   But then I got to thinking- perhaps the elf would be another fun way to teach our kids what Christmas is all about. Before we get too far down the rabbit-hole, let me be clear that I’m not suggesting that the elf should take the place of biblical teaching or more traditional methods. However, I do believe that using a variety of creative solutions can help kids grasp some of the more complex concepts that take a life-time to instill.   Bonus Upside: I don’t have to get stuck in the trap of pretending an inanimate object is real or has magical powers.   For starters, I re-wrote the elf’s story. In our version, we emphasize the fact that God loves His children, whether they’re naughty OR nice. Like our kids, our elf works hard to be good but knows that God loves him no matter what. Because of what he’s learned, this elf is so excited to help our family get ready to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. The story is called “The Elf Game” so our kids realize that the elf thing is something fun they get to do with mommy and daddy- no false pretenses here. You can read the full version at: http://the-salvaged.blogspot.com/2013/12/twenty-four-grace-filled-days-of-elf-on.html   I also created a list of activities for our elf designed to help our kids understand what preparing for Christmas includes. You can find “Twenty- Four (Grace- Filled) Days of Elf on the Shelf” at the link above as well.   However you choose to prepare for the celebration of Christmas in your home, I pray that God will fill your home with love, grace, and joy! I’d love to know- what joy-filled traditions have you instituted to help your family prepare for the celebration of the Savior’s birth? Share a comment below!    

Michelle Donnelly is a homeschooling single mother of three
and the founder of Agape Moms, an outreach ministry for single mothers. She’s
also the author of a powerful Bible study resource for single moms called Seen:
Hope and Healing for Single Moms
. You can learn more about Agape Moms by
visiting http://www.agapemoms.com

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