Pandemic: Elf on the Shelf is my favorite holiday tradition

Pandemic: Elf on the Shelf is my favorite holiday tradition

  • I’m a mom working with four sons under seven. 
  • For years, I refused to be an Elf on a Shelf. I had enough to do during holidays. 
  • COVID-19 has caused many of our traditions to disappear, such as Santa’s visit. I decided to go with the Elf. 

It’s now 10 p.m. I am making a miniature fishing line out of a kebab bone, some string, and an ornament hook.

Tonight’s Elf on Shelf will be catching a Goldfish cracker. I am astonished at the cuteness of the scene and imagine my boys’ reactions the next morning. 

A few weeks prior, I had been determined to never receive an Elf from the Shelf. With four young boys, I was a working mom and had plenty of things to do. Because my generation wasn’t raised with Christmas traditions, I didn’t feel any pressure to make it happen for my children. 

Carol Aebersold, Chandra Bell and Chandra Bell tell a story about an elf who watches children and reports back to Santa. The imp returns each morning from the North Pole to find a new perch. Parents must then move the elf each night. Pinterest allows children to wake up and create intricate scenes. 

My children learned Elf on the Shelf from school. Their friends were elf-friendly and they shared their stories about their antics. My kindergartener related how the Elf on Shelf gave his father a pedicure while my classmate slept.

After seeing my four-year old daughter laugh and fall to the ground, I thought about changing my anti-elf stance. 

Many of our holiday traditions were destroyed by the pandemic

My family was unable to spend the holidays in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of seeing Santa in person, we saw him online.


. It was small consolation to me that I would be missing some of my traditions compared to the suffering others endured during the pandemic. I want my boys happy holiday memories, and I wanted those experiences to be shared with them. I was worried that there would not be enough family fun memories to fill the year.

After my heartfelt change, I found out that the elves had been sold and I purchased a knockoff. My six-year old son was shocked when he saw him on the mantle. My boys, who usually fall asleep for school, were able to jump out of bed that night to see the elf. “Christmas Max.” 

Just a few days after Max was born, I realized that he was a great source of much-needed excitement.

Although each day was the same, his little actions made every day different. Our mornings began with a joyful note as we searched for Max. Two-year-old twins ran after their brothers, searching for Max. When Max was found, they all high-fived. 

When I realized he was making our family’s spirit brighter, I did everything I could to make it happen. I also became more adventurous in the ways that my children found him. Max used M&Ms to spell out messages from Santa. Max had a mini marshmallow snowball battle with the Spiderman action figure. He also used a Sharpie for minion faces to be added to our bananas. 

I heard the boys talk from their bunk beds that night, and I wondered aloud where Max was tomorrow. I knew he would return next Christmas. 

The best thing about the Elf is that it was ours. We don’t follow every rule. “rules”Max is not a Santa’s spy, but a chance for joy. I try to keep his activities simple and only use items that I have at home. He moves easily from one place to another, without making silly antics. My children still love him. 

We’ll be seeing family and Santa this year, but Christmas Max will still be there. 

Jessica Wozinsky Fleming (writer, mom to four young sons) is an author. You can find her online at jessica-fleming.comOder @JessicaKFleming

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