The kid has been asking for weeks about when our own Elf on the Shelf would be showing up at our house. The answer that screams in my head whenever he asks is, "NEVER will one of those creepy-ass, crazy-eyed things come in my house!!!!!!!!!!!". The one that comes out of my mouth is slightly more child-friendly than that. But the kid hasn't been buying it. Apparently there's one in his classroom at school. And several friends have them. So he assumes everyone has (or should have) one.
And I was getting sick of finding new (nice) ways to explain why there would be no pointy-eared creeper in our house. So, the following letter was born. And delivered to his just hung up stocking on Friday night.
December 13, 2013
I hear you've been asking about whether an Elf will be showing up at your house this year. Your Momma and I chatted about it, and we don’t think you and baby E need an Elf to watch and make sure you’re behaving as you should. We believe you have it in your heart to treat others with kindness and love whether anyone is watching you or not. And, in fact, this is my expectation of you all year round, not just at Christmas time.
However, because this is a time of year we try even more than usual to think about and care for others, I have a few challenges for you. First, your Momma told me that she and Poppa have chosen a couple of families who need some extra love and support this year. I’d like you to help her choose gifts for the families. I bet you and baby E can even come up with something extra to do for them to make their Christmas even more special – because you are creative and loving boys.
Second, I’d like you to think of, and then do, at least 1 or 2 acts of kindness for others before Christmas. Some ideas I have are: baking cookies for firemen, making Christmas cards for neighbors, and offering to help your Gram with something. But I know you will have some great ideas, too. I can’t wait to hear about what you come up with and how it goes!
I can’t wait to hear about the loving things you’re doing for others!
So, it went over great. He came running in to tell me about the letter Saturday morning, asking to go shopping with me. And he was even (mostly) patient and helpful at the store. He (sort of) helped me wrap them up. But, and what's most exciting to me, he's been brainstorming ideas of things to do for others, and trying to pin us down on when he can do them. We'll be delivering the gifts to the families in the next week, the boys going with us. And the boys and hubby are going to do some acts of kindness the end of this week (as they're off school starting Wednesday). I'll make sure to let you know what the kid decides to do and how it goes.
Today's Lesson: Sometimes we forget to focus on the big picture (the people we want our kids to ultimately be) and get stuck on the small details we find irritating (burping at the dinner table). Also, the only elves welcome in my house are the kind who clean house for free.