Today was baking day.  Spent the whole afternoon in the kitchen baking away, with 3 successes and only 1 disaster, so all in all, a pretty good day.  Although, my disaster redo is in the oven now and I am praying to the cooking gods that it will turn out, because my holiday get-up-and-go has got-up-and-went!  My back is aching, my brain is fried and my kitchen floor is more or less covered in flour and sugar.  In the midst of my holiday baking-fatigued-anxiety, I thought I would distract myself with a good ol’ holiday blog on…Elf on the Shelf Mishaps.

Almost every family I know with young children now has an Elf on their Shelf.  For those unfamiliar, these Christmas elves appear on the shelves of little children, in order to report back to Santa every night on the children’s naughtiness or niceness.  They appear on different days, some at Thanksgiving, some lazier ones later in December.  Some leave gifts, some don’t.  They appear with a book that gives some vague information, which often leaves parents and kids having to fill in some gaps along the way. 

Our elf showed up several years ago and was given the name Buster; I’m already pretty sure that at least one of my future grandchildren will also have said name.  Buster’s arrival is anticipated as soon as the leaves start to change color, sometimes earlier.  Buster is a major celebrity at our house.  He is honestly approaching Santa status at this point, and I hope Santa doesn’t end up in rehab, or on a bad reality show, feeling like a has-been! 

Buster usually arrives in mid-December, after my kids are convinced that he will not show up because ALL of their friends’ elves have already come.  My 10-year-old still amazingly loves Buster as much, if not more, than my 5-year-old.  They leave him food, candy, and letters; they talk to him more than they talk to me.  It is a trip.  And if their behavior gets out of line, a mere mention of Buster’s reports to Santa will have them acting like little cherubs in no time.  I’m starting to wonder if we need a year round Buster…

Speaking of, one June afternoon a couple of years ago, my son found Buster under the bed.  I heard him screaming, “Mommy, Mommy, come quick!”  I thought he might be hurt, but soon found him on hands and knees, holding up the bed skirt.  “Buster’s here!  He’s really here!” he gleefully exclaimed. 

“Well, that’s strange, isn’t it?” I wondered.  Yet he was right, there was Buster, on his side, covered in dust bunnies, under my bed.  Then it came to me.  “I’ll bet he knew you were acting up last week and he came to check in on you.”

“Oh, yeah, you’re right, Mommy.  I’m going to go write him a note and tell him how sorry I am,” my son said, scrambling to get a pen and paper.  Buster, apparently satisfied with the apology, was gone the next day.

There have been other elf mishaps.  One morning, we awoke to find Buster slouched in a heap on our computer desk.  He looked like he had gotten into the egg nog the night before and was feeling a bit hung over.  The children found him and started worrying over him, because one of the rules is that you can NOT touch him or he will lose his magic.  “What happened to Buster?  What is wrong with him?  Why is he laying down?  But we can’t pick him up!” they fretted.  I thought about getting the kitchen tongs.  Instead, since he looked so peaked, I suggested we put the Children’s Tylenol by him to take later.  And when they returned from school, he was sitting upright and looking much better, thanks to that Tylenol.

Another friend’s elf had fallen down once, and their mother went to help him and he WINKED at her, which let her know she could pick him up.  And so far, his magic is still there.  Good to know!

Yet another friend told me that their neighbor came over and saw their elf and didn’t know that you couldn’t touch him.  The neighbor picked their elf up and started running around with him, while her children were freaking out, tears in their eyes, begging their mother to stop her!  The mother was able to rescue the elf, and assured the kids that as long as a family member did not touch them, his magic was still safe.  Also, good to know. 

My friends and I all seem to have elves that sometimes don’t move every day; it’s always a little disconcerting when Buster hasn’t moved or hasn’t brought the daily treat.  Of course, sometimes the Tooth Fairy forgets to stop by our house, too.  But I guess even elves and Tooth Fairies need a break every now and then, and it never seems to happen 2 times in a row.

Maybe you have an Elf on the Shelf mishap you’d like to share?  Please feel free to comment, I’d love to hear more stories.  Buster may have caused some concern from time to time, but is definitely a big part of our Christmas.  I can’t imagine the holiday without him; he has touched us all (while we take care not to touch him!)  May his magic live on forever… 

The Elf on the Shelf

*A special thanks to all the friends who shared their stories with me- you know who you are!