Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Herbert the Elf... a farewell story

We fell into the “Elf on the Shelf” trap this year. The evening we dedicated to setting up our Christmas tree was interrupted by a little elf sitting at our doorstep. Santa's note told us the elf goes by the name Herbert. He’s the plushy elf not the vintage style. Although the vintage one is pretty cool, Santa felt he would scare our kids. 

The kids were quite excited to see this elf. They had no idea what an “Elf on the Shelf” was so we had some explaining to do. We told the kids how he watches over them and reports naughty behavior to Santa. Boy1 fell hard for Herbert. He woke up early the next several mornings and would race down the steps in a mad search for the elf. Boy2 and Boy3 really couldn’t have cared less. Shucks! 

Herbert had some good adventures with us. Early on, he went to school in Boy1’s backpack. I smiled to myself throughout the day imagining the look on his face when he noticed Herbert. I was disappointed to learn Boy1 never even saw him in his backpack. How the heck?!? The kid had to get stuff in and out of his backpack. Later that evening, Boy1 took a bathroom break while doing his homework… mind you, he pulled the assignment out of his backpack and still didn’t notice Herbert. Guess we need to work on him being more observant. While he was in the bathroom I placed Herbert closer to the top of the backpack and made it appear he was peeking out. Finally! Herbert was spotted. Boy1 was incredibly relieved to know Herbert was safe and found it hilarious that he probably went to school with him. 

We had other fun moments. Herbert tipped our Christmas tree over one evening. He opened a bag of M&M’s and dumped them all over the counter. He hung above the boys’ heads at night and starred at them until they woke up. We had a lot of fun with this elf. 

Christmas Eve approached and we knew we’d be saying goodbye to Herbert. Throughout the day we spent quality time with Herbert. We watched a movie together. We had a crazy photo shoot that included Herbert riding our chocolate lab and photo bombing pictures he wasn't supposed to be included in. Before bed we prepared to say goodbye. Boy1 and Boy2 were in tears giving him hugs and kisses. I was shocked at Boy2’s attachment. He really loved Herbert too. My heart was breaking as they expressed their sadness over having to say farewell to this plush elf that had joined our family only a month prior. 

We placed Herbert by Santa’s cookies and milk. This would make it easier for Santa to take him once he arrived to fill our stockings. (Cool Whip Lemon Cookies recipe)

Christmas morning we woke to find a note in place of Herbert. Herbert had officially jumped ship and rejoined his elf family. Here’s the letter he left:

Darling sobbed as she read the letter aloud, knowing full well the truth behind Herbert. I was really moved by my kids and how attached they had become. We fell head over heels into this hot trend, but this will become a permanent family tradition. Not to make my children behave (because honestly, that didn't work), but because we bonded over this silly little elf and made some great memories. 

He is a good elf. My kids love him and very much look forward to his return. Which reminds me, I’ve only got about 10 ½ months to come up with Herbert’s totally kick ass grand entrance. 

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