The Challenges Of Having An Elf On The Shelf


Ho, ho, NO! While the Elf on the Shelf seems like a fun holiday tradition, it’s a lot of work!

The little Elf dressed in red might seem like an easy aid to keeping your kids in line while the overly-busy parents get ready for the holidays, but im afraid it takes a little more than a sprinkling of reindeer food and the reward of Christmas presents to get my girls to focus on true “good” behavior all year long.

Do you really think I could deny my three year old with her big blue eyes her new Barbie wedding set just because Ellie the Elf saw her give some of her dinner to the dog?

Once our Elf leaves his shelf to hibernate in his box with our Thanksgiving décor, my little one’s find little reason not to color on the furniture or put toys in the dogs food. Again.

So it’s time to start another tradition, or system perhaps?

Don’t get me wrong, I love that the Elf makes an appearance during the holidays. He’s part of a fun story that can add a little more magic to Christmas. But as I’ve experienced, letting kids know the bottom line that good behavior is expected will require a little more than rewards and presents to get it.

We recently created “house rules” allowing the girls to choose what type of behavior is expected, which we are still refining the boundaries and system but I’m confident we’ll have it by New Years.

I’m currently trying to slow down the holiday season, taking time to enjoy the season through my four little girl’s eyes.

I figure if I can spend quality one-on-one time with them, they can count on my full attention, and hopefully won’t feel as big of a pull to act up t get it. What better gift is there than getting into your child’s world, especially with St. Nick on his way?

This season, while I’m searching for the new spot each night to prop Ellie, I’m also hoping to take the pressure off the Elf and instill ways to keep my girls on the “nice” list all year long.

Christine Bachman

About Christine Bachman

Christine Bachman is founder and president of Plan It PR, a public relations and marketing firm. The mother of five shares tips and survival stories in “Play Dates and Power Lunches.” Ms. Bachman started working public relations after a long career in broadcast journalism, which included work as a television anchor, reporter and producer.