Real Life Mama: Searching for the most epic Elfscapades

Well, it’s that time again. The time that I have dreaded over and over the past 8 years. The nightly expectations, the nightly creativity, the nightly remembering; It is time that the darn Elf comes back.

Only this year, it is different. Like, so different. You see, this is Maylie’s second year helping with the Elf, which is so much fun to have a sidekick. But that also means that Reagan is now at the age where Maylie found out about all the things – and I just cannot fathom that this could possibly be my last year of having a full-time believer in the house.

And while many Decembers I longed for the year when I would not have to do that stupid Elf anymore, to think that this may be my last year ever doing it for Reagan, just makes me want to cry. How could it have gone so fast?

I swear it was just the first year that the Elf arrived, and Maylie and I named her Susie (Reagan was too young for an opinion at that time). The magic in Maylie’s eyes when Susie arrived is a memory I will never forget. Even though, in that first year, I often forgot to move Susie. But, Maylie didn’t always remember so I was in the clear!

Ha! I remember my sister, Nikki, calling me one night before my niece, Brandy, came over to make sure I moved Susie from the ceiling fan because that’s where she was the last time Brandy was there and well, Brandy remembered.

Oh, those first couple of years were pretty simple, Susie seemed to just ride the top of the curtain rods – any place high enough to keep her out of reach so the kiddos were not tempted to touch her. Recently, I went down memory lane and looked up some of my epic pics of the past. I found a pic from when Reagan was 4 years-old and the caption read “Day 2 – Reagan touches Elf,” along with a note from Susie advising the girl to sprinkle her with cinnamon so she could fly again.

Maylie was SO mad at Reagan for touching her. She was certain that Susie had lost her magic. Yet, somehow, I ran through a lot of cinnamon in December over the next couple of years…. hmmm.

Every year I do the classic “undies on the tree” where Susie hangs the girls’ underwear like ornaments, and they always get a kick out of it. It’s like a must-do in my house – along with toilet papering the dining room (although I am pretty sure I skipped that in 2020 when TP was a hot commodity.

One December, Reagan was sick, so Susie got a cold as well. My baby girl left the sweetest note for Susie apologizing for getting her sick. Often times, I took the easy way out and just had Susie bring them cocoa balls or new jammies or even hide a bunch of candy canes for them to find. Something quick and easy for Susie’s mover.

However, once Lee got in on the game 2 years ago, Susie seemed to get way more creative. One night, she even stole my car and took it to Walmart to get sugar and syrup and then wrecked it into my trash cans when she got back. That one was definitely the most memorable one for all the kids. I absolutely love hearing Reagan tell the story of how Susie stole my car – the seriousness in her voice to prove that it happened yet the laughter in between words and the belief in her tone.

Ugh. The belief.

Why can’t they just believe forever? Seriously, knowing that this could be my last year makes me regret all of those December nights where I dreaded coming up with an idea. Gladly, I will get out of bed if and when I forget to move the Elf every single December if I can just hold on to the magic a little longer.

I know, I know. That’s not the way it works. And I know that Christmas will still be magic when she does find out (and hopefully I have more than just this year).

But just in case, this year I am going to bring it! Susie is about to go on the greatest adventures ever. I have been saving ideas and will continue to search for the most epic Elfscapades.

So, bring on December and welcoming Susie – no longer that darn Elf – but rather, my darling Elf. This year, there is no dread – just endurance and excitement – and soaking up every single second of smiles that Susie brings in this season.

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 daughters and writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.