Thursday, November 15, 2012

To Elf Or Not To Elf...That Is the Question

Every year about this time, a certain little fellow appears on the shelves at my Happy Place (hint: there's red. Lots and lots of red). I linger nearby, pretending to peruse the Legos while he watches me from his endcap. To tell you the truth, I find the whole concept a little freaky. An elf that spies and reports back to Santa? C'mon.
Then I see entire boards on Pinterest devoted to elf "placement". It's hysterical. And I start to wonder if maybe we aren't missing out on a fun tradition. The boys would love it. On the other hand,  I don't like to emphasize naughty versus nice during the Christmas season. We don't connect gift giving with good or bad behavior, because that's not the true meaning of Christmas.
I was surfing the internet for any further discussion about the wee little man when I found this article in the Sacramento newspaper. It seems I'm not the only one feeling conflicted. Sarah Cunningham, blogger, author and mother of two, has written a book that addresses this modern day dilemma. How to celebrate Jesus as the reason for the season in a way that builds excitement and establishes tradition, without getting caught up in the commercialism that blankets us this time of year. Based on her own experience as a child, Sarah Cunningham created The Donkey in the Living Room as a way for families to celebrate the advent season from a Christ-centered perspective. Incidentally, it is available as a 99 cent Kindle download through Friday if you would like to check it out.
I haven't made up my mind yet. Last year we tried something like this with an advent countdown. The boys took turns opening a tiny matchbox every night. When there wasn't a "gift" involved, there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth. I nearly tore my hair out by the 21st of the month. It wasn't about the baby Jesus at all. We missed the mark entirely. I vow to be different this year.
What about you? How do you count down to the birth of our Savior? Are you pro or anti-elf?

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