Christy Heins never wanted to do this whole Elf on the Shelf thing. But when her best friend gifted one of her kids with the toy, she decided to give the holiday trend a try.
“I don’t think I was doing it right,” Heins tells Babble. For those unfamiliar with the concept of the toy, the Elf on the Shelf is supposed to function as a second set of eyes for Santa; he spies on your kids to make sure they’re good, but it’s up to you to hide him in a new spot every day until Christmas. “I always forgot to use him to my advantage and at night when I’d finally climb into bed, I’d find myself grumbling as I climbed back out, because I’d forgotten to move him! It got to the point where I was actually a little bit worried that I would ruin the magic of Christmas, because I was always forgetting about George the Elf.”
Some parents live for Elf on the Shelf. But acutely aware it was messing with their ability to be holly and jolly, Heins and her husband decided to retire their Elf. Literally. And their strategy totally kept the Christmas magic alive for their kids.
“George Elf has been our elf on the shelf for the past three years, but after a short career, we are congratulating him on his retirement,” Heins writes on Facebook. “I crafted this letter keeping in mind that I wanted to keep the Christmas magic alive, and also keeping in mind that many of my kids’ friends will be talking about their elves still hiding and doing funny things. I’ll post a text version in the comments in case anyone wants to copy and paste it and adapt it for their own use.”
What follows is a letter from the desk of Santa Claus.
“Greetings from the North Pole!” the letter begins. “I am very busy preparing for Christmas, but I did want to take the time to write you an important letter about your scout elf, George Elf. I think you will be pleased as peppermint to learn that George Elf had a very, very special Christmas wish this year. He has enjoyed you three girls so much over the years that his only wish for Christmas this year was to be a REAL toy in your house.”
What follows is an explanation of how George wants to be played with even though being touched will take away his Elfin magic (and take away mom and dad’s need to hide him every night). But that’s okay; “That’s what he really wants!” Besides, as Santa says, “I will still keep watch on you, just like I alway shave, to see if you’re on the Nice list or the Naughty list this year.”
Props to these parents for gracefully bowing out of a holiday tradition that didn’t make sense for them. After all, making Christmas feel special is stressful enough.