Friday, December 21, 2012

10 Ways to Prepare for your Elf on the Shelf's Departure!

First, let me start by saying, NO...I’m not joking.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m already feeling pangs of separation anxiety at the mere thought of saying goodbye to our Elves on Christmas Eve. 

Elves have invaded thousands (if not millions) of homes around the world.  Along the way they’ve even stolen a few hearts. It was over for me a long time ago...really...I never stood a chance. I look forward to the time our Elves spend with us ALL year long. I plot and plan and eagerly await their return each year with an unreasonable amount of excitement. 

I know that not everyone feels this way. Maybe you’re one of those who will actually be happy to send your Elf packin’. The pressure of hosting an Elf over the holidays really gets to some people. It’s a BIG responsibility…trust me, I know. I get it.

 I totally understand that my personal attachment to these magical creatures borders on, shall we say, unhealthy. However, I have also come to the realization that I’m NOT alone! There are plenty of other people out there Elf-in it up over the holidays and that knowledge gives me immense comfort. I feel like a little less of a lunatic knowing that others share this crazy ELF OBSESSION!

Regardless of whether you have grown to love or despise your Elf, chances are your kiddos are going to be sad to see them go. Last year, actual tears were shed when mine realized that our Elves were really (REALLY) gone on Christmas afternoon.  I have to admit, it even took me a few days to get over their departure….and by “a few days” I really mean 330 days, until we were reunited again. 

 Making magic is fun. Going back to folding laundry and washing dishes during naptime just doesn’t bring me the same amount of joy.

I am curious to see if things are different this year. My 4 year old has really been testing the Elves and questioning the depths of their magical abilities. He’s also mentioned a couple of times that even though he loves our Elves, it isn’t nice to tattle. So who knows, maybe the kids will be relieved when the pressure of all those tiny eyes watching their every move has been lifted.

For now, I’m going to move forward by emotionally preparing my family (i.e. myself) for our Elves’ inevitable desertion. If you’ve been fostering a borderline obsessive attachment toward the Elves in your life, this compilation of coping mechanisms might help.

{10 Ideas to Help you Prepare for your Elf on the Shelf's Departure}

1.       Help your Elf prepare for his journey home.  Last year we gave Mack his own tiny little suitcase (made out of a vintage jewelry box with a pipe cleaner added as a handle). It was packed with a few goodies and treats to comfort him and help him get back to the North Pole safely. The kids liked doing something nice for their Elf, and it was a gentle reminder that he wasn’t going to be around the next day.

2.       Write your Elf a goodbye letter. Let the kiddos dictate exactly what they’d like to say and then leave it out overnight. We did this a couple of days early last year, that way our Elf posse had time to respond before they left for the North Pole. If you want to write your own…just from you…that’s okay too. Clearly, I’m not here to judge.

3.       Start planning for next year! See a cute Elf idea, PIN IT! Find a perfect mini-sized whatever, stash it away! I have an entire box of Elf props that I add to throughout the year. Then, when our Elves come home for the holidays we have our own bag of tricks to entertain them with!

4.       Have your Elf make a surprise visit once or twice throughout the year! Last summer our Elves visited us twice. Each time, Santa sent a letter along excusing them from their duties at the North Pole and giving them permission to take the day off. The kids were BEYOND excited! Oh and…it’s also the PERFECT way to keep the kids on their toes. Nothing like a little reminder that Santa is watching….always, always…watching.

Elf-sized popsicles made out of Mike & Ikes...the perfect poolside treat!

5.       Ask your Elf to be your family’s Pen-pal while they are away! Our Elves have been known to send an occasional email or even a teeny-tiny handwritten letter. It’s nice to stay in touch J This is also another great opportunity to remind your kids to walk the line.

We've had TONS of fun with this! It's The World's Smallest Post Service and comes with everything you need to write teeny-tiny letters and make itsy-bitsy packages!
6.       Make some special mini-sized treats, or an entire meal, for your Elf and leave them out with Santa’s cookies on Christmas Eve. The kids have SO much fun with this. It’s a sweet way for them to say goodbye and thank-you at the same time.
This is the meal we created to welcome our Elves home on Thanksgiving. The "turkey" was made using small bone-shaped sprinkles, topped with a piece of caramel. "Green bean" sprinkles and tiny rolls finished off the plates.
7.       Have your Elf leave a special present, just from him, for the kiddos to unwrap on Christmas Day. Last year Mack wrote a very sweet goodbye letter to the kids and sent them on a hunt through the house to find the gift he left! 

8.       Throw your Elf a Going Away Party! You could use any of the ideas from our Elf Party…but really, it doesn’t have to be elaborate. Make a few elf-sized treats and a farewell card and call it good. The kids will love spending a little time creating something for their Elf to enjoy!

 9.       Go BIG or go HOME! If you have been waiting all month to execute the cutest little Elf scheme…NOW is the time! Just do it…who cares if it seems over-the-top or silly. It might be extra work, and require you to do a little cleaning up (or whatev)…but it could also be one of the best memories you make this year! Going all out can be as much fun for you as the kiddos. My son still talks about some of the shenanigans our Elves got into LAST Christmas…and it just melts my Elf-lovin’ heart!

10.   This one is gonna rock your world: let the kids TOUCH the ELF! Wh-What!?!? I know this goes against the number one rule of hosting an Elf…no touching! Well…we’re gonna go rogue this year and try something new. The kids are going to receive a letter from Santa that gives them permission to give each of our Elves ONE goodbye hug on Christmas Eve, before they go to bed for the night. I think this will be a huge hit, and very special…we’ll see ;)
Want to make a letter from Santa super legit? Pop on over to Three Little Monkeys Studio to snag this adorable Santa letterhead for FREE!

I really could go on and on with this list…that’s how DEEP my Elf-love runs. This time is SO short and the window of opportunity doesn’t stay open long. I’m going to keep making this magic for as long as my kids go along with it. Maybe at some point they’ll be doing it for me instead.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go spend some quality time with the Elves in my life…while I still can!

If you want to keep up (or catch-up) with our Elf Family check these links:
~ Details from our Magical Elf Party HERE!
~ 2011 Highlights HERE.
~ 2012 Highlights HERE.
~ My Elf Idea Pinboard HERE.
~ My facebook page HERE.
~ Feature at HERE.
That's it...feel free to stalk them...what goes around comes around right!??!?

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  1. Great ideas! Thanks so much for participating in the Elf on the Shelf Party. I've pinned this!

  2. OMGoodness... Such CUTE ideas!!! Definitely pinning this for next year! Thank you so much!! :)

  3. I am so happy to read this! I am not alone!!! I am so tired of other Mom's who are flat out MEAN about the Elf and the parents who participate. I can tell you that we are VERY attached to our Elf. We had to start a countdown on my phone THIS SUMMER. There are random tears about missing Ninky. Last year we DID let our son give him a hug and it was the most wonderful thing to see! Our elf comes back for a birthday visit and brings one special gift. Thank you for sharing!

  4. These are amazing!!! I'm tearing up and getting so sad every day thinking of our Elf, Wink leaving on Christmas Eve, because I know our 2.5 year old son is gonna be so so sad and miss him so much! These ideas are PERFECT and I am so grateful to have found post! THANK YOU :) and Merry Christmas!

  5. Hi Audrey, I love these ideas!!! This year was the first one we had an Elf come to our house, and our three-year-old daughter just loves getting up in the morning to find her elf. We wrote a letter/poem from the Elf to the child that will hopefully ease the separation anxiety a bit. Check it out in our Etsy site, Thanks!!!