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December 1, 2013

Last year we subjected ourselves to the popular craze that is Elf on the Shelf and proceeded to move the little guy dressed in red with the pointed hat from one random place to another throughout the month of December.  Madison would wake every morning eager to discover his new location and/or any mischief he may have encountered in the process of moving around our home while dreams of sugarplums danced in her head.

I’ve seen numerous pictures of elves breaking eggs in the middle of the night and dusting the kitchen with layers of powdered sugar and marshmallows or taking all the ornaments off the tree and replacing the stockings on the mantle with underwear.  Fortunately for us, our chosen Elf isn’t as destructive or rebellious.  We approached this Elf with the understanding that destroying our dwelling would find him a one way ticket back to the North Pole; that being said, creativity is welcomed and encouraged as long as it doesn’t require the adults of the house (i.e. Allison and I) to redecorate an entire tree mid-season or break out a broom or mop in his wake.

With two years of Christmas under her toddler belt, Madison is sure to enjoy this one most of all.  As an only child and, currently, the only grandchild on both sides of the family we’ve realized she may be a little spoiled so we want to make sure she doesn’t lose focus of the holiday.  We want to make sure she knows and understands the reason for the season.  While nativity scenes and Christmas carols help initiate conversations about the birth of Jesus, it would be a disservice to her childhood if we didn’t address Santa Claus… enter Elf on the Shelf.  With this Elf, we're able to illustrate that good behavior is acknowledged (and rewarded) even when it appears no one notices in the moment.

This year, Elf came with a letter in effort to help us help Madison understand it’s important to give back especially during this time of year.  While we want her to have things from her wish list, we also want to nurture her benevolent nature and inspire her to inspire others; a lesson we hope she continues to learn year after year.  The letter read:

Both Allison and I have started helping her sort through her toys (and clothes) deciding which to keep and which to donate to other children for the holidays.  I’m sure every parent notices certain toys their children favor while other toys sit idly by waiting for a turn that rarely, if ever, comes.  Those infrequently used toys are often in good, if not new, condition covered in the infectious joy every child hopes to unwrap Christmas morning.  If we can help spread a smile to at least one child this season, other than our own, then the box Madison fills will be worth its weight in gold.

Our intentions are to continue this tradition every year going forward. 

Our intentions are to help our child transition into a beautiful person from the inside out.

A gift far greater than any molded piece of plastic or touch screen electronic.


  1. What a great letter! I love that you can teach her to give this holiday season. Never too young to instill gratitude and giving in children.

    1. Surprisingly, she seemed really excited about it. As an only child, it's imperative that we teach her about sharing and giving... lessons I still struggle with from time to time.


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