Thursday, December 5, 2013

Elf on the shelf, Santa lies, and everything else that is "magical" about Christmas--- oh the controversy of it all.

We live in a world where parents are criticized for everything that they do. There are articles {millions} out there geared specifically to telling others how to raise their own children. Articles on nourishment for a baby. Articles on co-sleeping. Articles on discipline. How to raise a child that doesn't nag. Really? Those exist? How to raise a child that is fearless. Because every child out there is one in the same. How to speak to your children, not use the word "no," and never yell. Because certainly our children will be scarred for life if we ever said NO to them. And even how to do Christmas. Because apparently there is a right and wrong way.

The wrong way?

Telling your children about Santa. Liar.
Being "busy" during the holidays.
Giving them presents {insert spoiled children}.
And, last, but not least, is doing Elf on the shelf. The horror.

Here is my take on each and every one of those listed above:


Wait. I'm not clever or anything here right? I know I'm not the first to say such words. And the funny thing is {or not so funny}, is that those six little words can be applied to all articles related to parenthood. Especially the ones that criticize certain methods of parenthood.

Look, I don't want you abusing your children, neglecting them for selfish reasons, leaving them home alone while you go out to party, or calling them every name in the book to make them feel very low and worthless.

No, that kind of stuff I don't think anyone should be doing. But can we just sit here and agree that that is pretty understood? That there is no rocket science behind parenthood. There is no need to dissect it into books upon books, and articles upon articles, websites upon websites, merely to come down to one conclusion:


Why? Because everyone just contradicts one another. Even people with all these fancy credentials cannot seem to agree with one another. One is passionate and throws research at you about using the cry it out method, the other swears against it. Endless amounts of articles to read, and endless amounts of books to dissect, and yet at the end of the day---who do you then trust? Here's a hint: yourself. So?


If you want to tell them about Santa? Do! If you want to tell them the truth when they ask? Do! We do everything related to Santa: go visit him, read books on him, tell the kids about him coming down the chimney and all. If they ask us if he is real one day will we tell him yes? Probably not. But in the meantime, we are going to pretend away and make the most of it. Will they know what Christmas is truly all about and that Jesus is the center {and always will be} of this holiday? Absolutely. But will we savor these magical moments of our children's childhood in the meantime? Yes, yes we will. Can it still be magical without believing in Santa? Yes. But does it matter whether you are on one side of the fence or the other? I don't think it should.

If you want to have a busy month full of holiday traditions, crafts, baking, and everything else under the sun and moon? DO! Why? Because you can. Because you are in control of how busy you are. Because you know what is important to you and your children. Because you enjoy this. Maybe it's what you look forward to all year. Maybe this is the "art" in you coming out. Maybe, just maybe, the joy on your kids' faces when they realize that they get to do something new everyday is all it takes to get you going. Isn't that why we do it after all---for the children.

If you want to buy them gifts, and buy tons of them. DO! I promise you this, that if you teach your children the power of giving, and more importantly giving to those in need, that no amount of presents is going to "ruin them." I promise if you teach them about being grateful for what they have, and to always have family and the needs of others in mind, no amount of presents is going to "ruin them." I promise that if you shower them with love and memories more than anything else, no amount of presents is going to "ruin them." And if you don't have presents to give, and if you don't have the money for more, just remember that they only need us and our love more than anything else. No amount of presents will "ruin" a child. Period.

And lastly, if you wish to do elf on the shelf, or any other magical thing out there... DO! If you use it as a bribing mechanism to get your kids to listen? Then so be it. If you use it so that your kids get a good laugh everyday when they find the kind of mess that their little elf has created {that you worked so hard on and end up having to clean up}? Then so be it. Or if you're anything like us, you simply have him fly around from one spot to the other {because we aren't creative enough for anything else}, and deliver special surprises from to time. Gosh, I cannot tell you how many times my daughter's mouth has dropped open when she saw that her "Happy" was in a different spot. She lights up at the thought of this magical creature, and we light up just seeing how innocent the mind of a child is. We as adults could learn a thing or two. So elf on the shelf? You don't have to love him, you don't have to do it, just please don't judge those that do {love and do it}. They do it, because they live for the "magic" of Christmas, and I cannot imagine that this is hurting anyone.

So, in conclusion--if you do all of these things, some of these things, or non of those things above, I simply just want to say I'm proud of you. Why? Because you are doing what is best for your children. Just as I am doing what is best for my children. You know what is important to you and your family, and I know what is important to mine. I promise you our children will grow up not knowing any different, and I promise neither child, yours or mine, will come out of this scarred.

At the end of the day, no amount of elf hating, santa hating, present hating, and craft hating out there is going to take away from the happiness and joy found within our home during this time of year {and all year}. I hope to never live in a world where we lose the magic and imagination of a child. This place is already full of enough hate and ugliness, and a little santa and a small little elf shouldn't be part of it.

May I just say it one last time...

DO WHAT'S BEST FOR YOUR CHILDREN during this holiday season. And every season of life.
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  1. I love this. I think people are so quick to critique the holiday parenting of everyone else that isn't doing it "right." Let the kids be kids and the parents be parents.

    I don't have kids yet, but I'm looking forward to the magic of the holidays for children. It has to be so much fun to be a part of!

  2. Awesome post. I had a friend who posted on fb that Xmas should be about Jesus not about Santa and the elf. Basically she said that those that did the elf weren't teaching their kids the meaning of the season. Then she got mad when people commented and said she was going to be going on a friend dleleting spree. Ugh. Right now my kids are too young to get the whole majesty's thing and the elf concepts but I still teach talk to them about both. Jesus will be the reason of the season always in our home but the elf and Santa are just fun things to make the season especially memorable. I don't use the elf as a behavior tactic, the elf just brings little crafts and he did bring a nativity set. I think at the end of the day Christmas to everyone means something different. I feel that Santa can represent love and giving and isn't that what Christmas is really all about. Aside from Jesus of course. I am sick of the cinstant judging over everything these days. Christmas should be fun and magical for kids. I could write a book on this topic. Again great post

  3. This. I love it when somebody else says everything I wish I had! I wrote a similar post after Easter this year { } -- I just cannot believe the comparison-monsters that motherhood creates. Thanks for sharing, Becky :).

  4. Me and my husband were so happy to read this this morning! We both love Christmas (and think Jesus is the center of it) but we have not been able to believe how negative and judgmental people have been lately towards the elf and santa lol

  5. When I first saw the title of your blog (not gonna lie) I was like "oh hell no she is not talking "crap" about the elf on the shelf" and then I read your post and all was right in the world again lol :) I completely agree with you 100%. I believe everyone should do what is best for their own family. I try to never compare my parenting with others parenting and so far so good my little girl is growing happy and healthy. I love Christmas and making this time special for my little girl is what I live for :) Thank you for your post :)

  6. AMEN. Andrew and I have discussed peoples issue with Elf on the Shelf and how it's 'terrible' because "your child shouldn't need a made up elf to tell them to be good". But really, if we're doing all we can as parents to raise kind, respectful and well behaved children then isn't it all in good fun?

  7. Great post! When I hear the negativity about the Elf of the Shelf from other moms on Facebook it really bothers me. If you don't want to do the tradition then don't. Since when was it okay to criticize other's traditions? Make your own traditions with your family rather than spending time criticizing other's.

    I just recently saw a post about how you're lying to your kids by telling them there is Santa. So ridiculous!

  8. Love this!! I'm tired of being told to do the "right" thing.

  9. Yes!!! There are so many to do lists about everytning these days.


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