Why I Defend the Elf on the Shelf

elf on a shelf in a christmas tree

Every year on the day after Thanksgiving, our Elf on the Shelf diligently shows up and entertains my children every morning. I get that the very mention of the little guy (or girl) in red is enough to evoke panic, fear, and anger in some of our readers. In the last few years, I have noticed a trend of moms blasting the Elf because its one more thing to add to their to-do lists. On one hand, I can see your argument but on the other hand, I hope you will patiently hear me out as I do my best to defend the Elf on the Shelf.

Here’s a little preface because it needs to be said: I believe in creating fun memorial childhoods. Have you noticed how fast time goes by? Our babies are growing older and wiser every day. I believe in preserving every ounce of their childhood, their innocence, and their imagination as long as possible. I believe in allowing children to believe in fairy-tales, Santa, and magic. They have their whole adulthood to be skeptical and cynical.

When our Elf on the Shelf came to our house six years ago, I had a daughter in Kindergarten and a one- year old.

My kindergartner aptly named our elf, Holly. Year after year, they impatiently waited for Holly’s return and every year, they fell more in love with her. Their excitement on Holly’s arrival and their sadness on Christmas Eve when it was time for her to leave and they finally get to give her a hug, it touches my heart. I started to notice they might even love Holly even more than Santa and… presents! For this reason: I happily stay up late, set alarms to wake up early, prep, plan, and create elf props all to create memories for my kids. This is the number one and only reason I need to have an Elf on the Shelf… but if you need more reasons:

  • Except for the occasional kid with irrational fears, most kids love the Elf on the Shelf! What kid wouldn’t love one of Santa’s little helpers coming to spend the holidays with them?! My children love waking up to see what elf shenanigans went on during the night.
  • The Elf on the Shelf encourages good behavior. What parent hasn’t threatened to call Santa a time or two during December? Having a magic Elf who hears every word, can see through walls, and will report back to Santa each night seems to work in my house!
  • It’s 32 days IF you start the day after Thanksgiving… Who doesn’t have 32 nights to give to your kids? If that is too much… Starting on December 1st gives you 24 nights of holiday fun!

And, this is where you argue that you are not creative and you don’t have enough time to plan out nightly Elf activities. Let me help you with some inspiration!

I’ve been doing this for a while now and I’m going to make it really easy for you by sharing all of my ideas. Follow Tampa Bay Moms on Instagram to see our Elf shenanigans this month!



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Kim McNeely
Kim grew up in a small town in northeast Alabama. She majored in journalism in college at Faulkner University. There she met baseball-playing Florida boy named David who swept her off her feet and then married her. David went right into a teaching/coaching career and Kim lost her desire to write. Before kids, she worked in insurance and as an office administrator. In 2008, they started a family and Kim fell in love with motherhood. She has been working as a stay at home mom for almost 10 years, occasionally, letting the laundry pile up and devoting her time to raising three children. Her kids have grown up on the ball field cheering on their daddy's baseball teams. They moved to Brandon just over a year ago and have enjoyed exploring Tampa. Kim likes being creative and crafty. She is a list-maker, scheduler, and planner. She loves planning play dates, parties, and budget-friendly family activities. Kim spends her days convincing her nine year old, Emerson, to wash her hair; teaching her kindergartener, Everly, sight words; and making sure her curious two year old and only son, Easton, isn't playing in the toilets. She loves children's books and reading bedtime stories. If she finds some free time, she writes her blog, catches up on her favorite TV shows, scrolls social media, and folds massive piles of laundry. Her desire to write returned when she realized that her children were an endless source of inspiration. You can follow Kim as she documents and finds ways to soak in every ounce of her children's childhood on Facebook, Instagram, and on her blog as The Sentimental Mom.