The holidays bring a host of traditions. From the process of getting real trees to decorating fake ones, from putting up lights, buying the right gift, and who to visit when, there is no shortage of ways to be busy in December. However, the most recent tradition is the ever popular Elf On the Shelf. Starting only a few years ago, this toy and book is now ranked one of the leading children’s toys of the season.
If you have one you know the drill. If you don’t it goes like this: The Elf has been sent from the North Pole to supervise children. Every night he wanders back to Santa to report on naughty and nice behavior. When he returns in the morning he is in a different place in the house, or is engaging in suspicious, silly or reckless behavior. With this new holiday tradition comes a Social Media flurry of photos showing the Elf assuming a multitude of positions and behaviors.
So while I am personally “traditioned-out” this time of year and have yet to buy an Elf for our home, I think there are some valuable life lessons we can take from this crafty creature:
Don’t stop having fun. If buying an Elf forces you to be silly, fun, spontaneous, and goofy, go for it. We should never take ourselves too seriously.
Childhood is short, keep it exciting. If having an Elf helps kids to start each day with a smile, an adventurous love for getting out of bed to see where the Elf has landed, or to react for several mornings like they do on those special days of Christmas, Easter, or after losing a tooth, it is all good. After all, in the early years that is their one purpose in life – to be curious, interested in the world, and excited to explore new things.
It’s okay to observe. Sometimes we need to sit back, watch, listen, and take it all in. Whether we are reporting back to Santa, or just soothing the interior of our own soul, reflect, pause and just “be” sometimes.
Each day is new. Celebrate it. If we could all awake with vigor and excitement, and like the Elf use our day to engage in new and challenging situations, to think outside the box, and to gain a new perspective, life could be much more exciting. Assume a different position sometimes, look at your world upside down, take a new stance and see what happens. Maybe moving around a little and trying new things is just the perspective you need to head in a new direction or to better the path you are on.
Don’t stop being creative. Whether your Elf is fishing for Goldfish, doing icing sugar snow angels, or almost falling into the toilet bowl, creativity is a spark of life. In the book “Brainstorm” it talks about how important creativity is for developing minds and how this declines in adulthood. This decline in creativity has become a theory to explain middle-age unhappiness. So, use the Elf as a model for how to stop each day from being repetitive and mundane and find ways to creativity explore and express yourself.
If you have an Elf, enjoy. Or, if you are like me, you have enough to do this season. Either way, take these lessons inspired by the Elf on the Shelf and have an awesome December.