Real Life Mama: Elf season in full swing


By Sarah Shrader - Guest columnist



Elf shenanigans bring simple joy.

Elf shenanigans bring simple joy.


Well, I did it. I finally caved. Susie is back.

I am not sure who came up with this whole Elf on the Shelf idea but seriously, why? Wasn’t it enough to just threaten the kids with, “Santa’s watching,” all through December? Why did we have to add in a magical little elf that must fly from room to room doing all kinds of different silly things?

The first year or two, it wasn’t so bad. Trying new ideas and planning nightly mischief for that elf was kind of exciting. Plus, if I happened to forget a night or two, neither kid was old enough to really remember and I could get away with it pretty easily.

Oh, but not these days. In fact before Susie came back, it took a few days of Miss Maylie waking up in the morning storming the house before I realized that she was looking for Susie. You know, since she had heard from her friends that their elf came back. But see, what she didn’t know is I was also looking for Susie.

Funny thing about these elves. At the end of the Christmas season, it is important to hide them away, but separate from the Christmas decorations in case the kids dive in. What I didn’t realize was I am an excellent hider of the elf. Ultimately, I had to put out a search warrant for that darn thing so I could stop seeing the sad look on Maylie’s face in the morning.

Wrapped in a blue bag to seal its secrecy and shoved into a corner of basement junk, I finally found it. At last, I thought the hard part was over. Boy, was I wrong.

Susie was already days late, and she had to make a grand entrance. Gone are the days when the elf could jump from curtain rod to curtain rod around the house. Oh no, these elf antics are big time now. Kids talk about what their elf did — toilet paper the house, write with toothpaste on the mirror or bring high-dollar presents. It’s like a big competition.

And I wish it was only between the kids. Unfortunately, social media reminds me just how much creativity all the other parents in the world have and just how little I do. I do not have time to put together a 20-minute idea for an imaginary elf nightly. Sure, I can do a flour angel, shove a straw in a K-cup showing Susie’s need for caffeine (like Mommy), or spell out “I’m Back” with M&Ms, but that is about it.

Yes, I am fully aware that the internet is full of fast and easy Elf of the Shelf ideas. I have resorted to that on numerous occasions. To my surprise, many of the witty ideas include two elves. Oh, and new this year, your elf now can have babies! Because it wasn’t enough to think of some amusing scene with one elf. Now it’s a family affair.

I have trouble remembering to move one elf every night, even with the reminder on my phone. Do you really think I am going to have any better luck moving a whole clan? I don’t think so.

So, our Susie flies solo again this year. But thankfully, she seems to be enough for my girls. Regardless of all the headaches, nonsense, time and effort put into the nightly shenanigans of Susie, there really is nothing that beats the race from the bed in the morning to find out what adventure Susie went on throughout the night. Plus, if I am being honest, it does help with getting the girls out of bed.

But seriously, the joy in their eyes as they see her most recent debacle, the stories of what must have happened in their opinion, and the magic of it all truly makes me hate it a little less. Whether I like it or not, Susie is now a part of our preparation for Christmas. She is a tradition now and one that can’t help but spread the smile on my kid’s faces right on over to mine.

While I may not be a true fan of all the headaches and extra work, I must admit that I kind of do like reminding my girls to behave because Susie is watching. And honestly, the glee and awe in my babies eyes every single morning of December before Christmas is totally worth it.

So, I guess, “Welcome back, Susie.” Now, let’s hope I don’t forget to move her.

https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/12/web1_Shrader-Sarah-CMYK.jpg
Elf shenanigans bring simple joy.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/12/web1_elf.jpgElf shenanigans bring simple joy.

By Sarah Shrader

Guest columnist

Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.

Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.

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