That Time I Lost Our Elf on the Shelf

“Mom, where is Wyatt?” my 6 year old asked as he started combing our home.  “He’s not in my room, maybe he is hiding in the kitchen!”

“He must be hiding really, really well….. maybe take a break and finish watching the movie we stopped Friday night and we can look more later.”

Crap crap crap crap crap.  I had been putting off bringing our elf out this year far later than our usual date of Thanksgiving night and suddenly my 6 year old was convinced he was already hiding.  Simple fix though, my tactic to distract he and his brother with a movie worked.  I snuck into my office and typed up a note in my fancy machine (worth every penny and then some so far!) then let it write it in pen using a much more legible script than my own.

After it was finished I rolled it into a scroll and silently walked by the kids into my room.  I knew he was in my closet… but where?  He was hidden in a bag of some sort, that I was sure.

My closet is a mess.  I stepped over a dusty sewing machine, huge bag of clothes waiting to be dropped at the dry cleaner (they’ve been sitting in that bag for 4 months at least), the pile on shoes of the floor, and leaned over the overflowing hamper to examine the bags on the shelf hidden by hanging clothes.  Parting the dresses I pull out each bag.  Nope.  Nothing!

That’s when panic strikes…. I knew I had put him in a bag on that shelf.  Where is my Elf on the Shelf?  The movie distraction would only last for so long.  I went back to make an appearance before they came looking and the littlest needed cuddles.  Then, the oldest fell asleep on the couch.  I had hoped the movie would lull him into a nap since he so desperately needed one after a night of partying until midnight at our Christmas party.  Minutes later the little dude was asleep on my chest.  DRAT!  I was trapped and wasting precious time I could be clawing through my closet.  I slowly rolled and Everett stayed asleep, took pictures for good measure because they were adorable, then went back to searching.

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Every stone was turned, every empty shoe box opened, every bag handled.  Eureka!  He was there, tucked behind some vintage hats in a tightly wrapped Target plastic bag and very well hidden in a deep corner of the closet.  Hello Wyatt old friend, time to hide.

Wyatt was placed on a shelf (really, nothing fancy this time, just our mantle over the fireplace) and tucked in his arms was our letter excuse for being so tardy.  The children didn’t spot him until bed time.   The note read:

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The note worked! My oldest made a face of understanding about traffic and my youngest started in on the questions. As I tucked my oldest son into bed for the second time he asked “How did he write that note without moving?”  I let him know that he can move at night when we are asleep, and that he used a tiny pen.  “Mom, he  can write better than you…”  Sigh… “I know son.”  At least the perfect script threw him off my trail… for now.

We’ve gone all in all these years but as they’ve aged I have been feeling a tinge of guilt regarding the lying about Santa and Elf on the Shelf.  As a family and a parent it just isn’t our style.  I’ve previously told the kids that magic isn’t real, ghosts are only in cartoons or movies, and had to explain what a church is to a child who has never been in one and a basic version of why people go.  We teach the children tangible things, so while it seemed like a good idea to embrace a little magic around Christmas it is hard for me to justify it to a 6 year old capable of using logic and reason.  It might be our last year but I haven’t decided yet.  I wanted the kids to have the magic of Christmas even though we celebrate it in a secular way but juggling two lies- Santa is real and the stuffed doll with wires inserted for maximum effect is spying on you- is wearing on my soul.  This morning Fletcher asked why Santa didn’t wake us up falling through the chimney and the first thing that escaped was “because he is magic” which goes against every other thing as a parent we’ve told them.  Dammit Christmas, you are making this parenting thing really hard for me.

Today Wyatt is staring in the mirror from our coat rack… tomorrow….. he might be on another shelf. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

Signed,

A Former Elf on the Shelf Overachiever
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  • BoiseFamily

    Maybe when Wyatt is done this year you can put a note on your phone’s calendar for Thanksgiving 2015 reminding you where Wyatt was vacationing during the off season?

  • Stephanie

    Maybe you could change how you explain it? Magic is real, it can be subterfuge. I totally get the wanting to teach your child logic and tangible things, but then how do you explain love? Love is a type of magic (at least for our family it is). Maybe a different perspective helps.