Christmas. It’s a time to appreciate what you have and reflect on the important things in life. It’s a time for giving and a time to enjoy the most important people in your life. That is unless your have kids. Then it’s about winning. It’s literally about winning Christmas (obviously winning is about being the best present giving “parent” since Santa is the best overall).
Setting aside all the magical gifts that Santa delivers down the chimney and under your barely standing, brown five week old Christmas tree, parents often both agree on an amount to spend on their children, or at least decide together what gifts will be bought for the kids. The thing is… if your anything like us it’s not just about the season of giving. It’s about the season of “who got the best gifts.” You want to try to take it easy… you know, just get little Susie an Easy Bake Oven, but it’s easy to want to go overboard and become the favorite parent. It’s amazing how fast that Easy Bake Oven turns into a live unicorn.
Although, the other side of this… Just understand you may wind up sleeping on the couch once your partner catches wind of your plan. Steph and I haven’t gotten to that point yet, as long as the kids are happy on Christmas morning… that magic of the holiday twinkling in their eyes… that’s the real gift.
Buying for the little one is easy. Oliver would go nuts over a toilet paper roll, or a box of tissue paper. Put a few random legos in a coffee can and you have created the greatest gift of all time. You can’t measure happiness in money or gift amounts, but you can however measure happiness in laughs and smiles. We all want to make Christmas morning as magical as possible, so it’s best to take advantage of how easy it is to please the little ones now.
We try to take it easy. We (Santa) buys lots of books and puzzles. This year we are going to have Jackson pick a few old toys to donate to someone in need, as he replaces those he donates with new ones Santa brings him. We aren’t naive to think that Christmas isn’t about presents, but I think this mom and dad also relish in the little things as well… a healthy and happy family. Two little boys who love each other and most importantly the fact that we got them to sit long enough with each other to get a decent Christmas card! It’s a Christmas miracle.
Boys night watching #Elf 🌲🎅🏼
Half and hour in and my four year-old has already made approximately 187 references to Elfie (his #ElfonTheShelf). Check out @thedadexperience on Thursday, December 20th for a hilarious look at how that damn Elf has ruined parents everywhere. There’s also an in-depth look at the #Hanukkah equivalent of the Elf called #MoistureOnAMat
What breakfast, lunch and dinner looks like with two children
“The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.”
Beautifully placed garland on a Christmas tree
I share a lot on here, but one thing I refuse to do is to share pictures of our Elf on the Shelf. We’re not a Pinterest family (well Steph tries to be, but her projects usually look like the after on a failed Pinterest page… but the effort is there).
Our elf doesn’t recreate movie elaborate Christmas movie scenes depicting himself dressed up as the main character. He doesn’t tend to use props and for the most part he sits in the same place he was when everyone went to bed (usually until someone panics first thing in the morning because we realized we forgot).
Tonight, however, I watched my wife, the mother of our children, help Elfie (yes our Elf’s name is Elfie) toilet paper the Christmas tree… if you could call it that. Now I don’t know what kind of childhood this woman lived… wether it was under a rock or simply spent in a bubble, but the fact that she didn’t know how to toilet paper something is telling.
I walked down stairs to multiple rolls of toilet paper carefully patterned and intricately placed like lacy garland on the ensues of the tree branches. I watched as Elfie sat, embarrassed perched high atop the Douglas Fir. Embarrassingly realizing that he would have to take credit for this “prank”.
What toilet papering should look like:
What Stephanie’s idea of toilet papering looks like:
Luckily there was someone in the house with a bit more knowledge and experiences when it comes to toilet papering. I won’t say who he is for confidentiality reasons… but I know Elfie appreciated the more random and vandalized look of his prank now that an expert lent his expertise.
Jackson really enjoys finding him each morning and this year is Ollie’s first time being interested…even with that though, it’s a good thing we don’t do the social media thing with our elf… he would have been embarrassed by this who situation. Sorry Elfie. Sorry.
Every toy has been unwrapped, opened, put together, had batteries installed and played with. Now to shove them in a corner so the boys can play with the toys Jackson got for his first birthday three years ago. Matching outfits are packed away never to be seen again until the above picture comes out at some holiday get together 20 years from now.
Elfie has returned to the North Pole… (thank god)!!! Santa has come and gone and in his wake is enough cardboard and wrapping paper to pollute the Mississippi River (I still can’t spell without that little tune we learned in third grade). Only one wine glass was broken yet somehow 30 more boxes of decorations than we owned last year seem to have made their way into the attic.
I’ve written about this before, but I still contend that the day after Christmas (especially for someone with OCD) is the worst “day after holiday” of the year. Yea, I know what I’m saying… I was up all night and celebrated a Packers Super Bowl win just a few years ago and had to get up early the next day for work, but that was a joyous wake up… my team won the Super Bowl, so who cares about that day after… I get it… but for me the day after XMAS has always been a disaster.
However, this year… I tried to let it go as best as I could. I let stuff stay out, I didn’t pack up ornaments or the garland on the mantle. the leftovers weren’t nearly packed in separate Tupperware (yup… that’s right, I just covered them with tinfoil). I allows my children to play with their toys and didn’t even make them put one away before playing with another. I sat comfortably while a fire burned warmly in the fireplace, and enjoyed watching my two little boys play together with all the new toys Santa left them the day before.
This Christmas was about them… not me… not anyone… just them… and I enjoyed that much more than a day of OCD controlled cleaning and organizing like I usually do on December 26th… (at least for today).
“Just one Christmas tree bite…” Let’s do this Santa! Enjoy the cookies. Jax really enjoyed making/eating them!!!
PS: When you try to get at least one good picture of all three cousins on their first XMAS Eve together:
I think it’s safe to say Jax is going to pretty high maintenance like his dad… but this Oliver kid? Not him… he’s a keep it simple and get straight to the point kind of kid.
Case in point: Oliver’s first letter to Santa (circa Dec. 2017):
I guess it’s time this Elf on a Shelf thing happens. He’s here… And I can’t say anything to change that. Santa has a lot going on. I know that. You know that… we all know that. So of course he has little helpers everywhere and this house is no different.
Elfie is here to check things out. He’s just going to be a silent observer of sorts as Santa described. Bottom line… when Santa asks you for a favor… well, he’s not the type of person you can deny.
When your kid won’t eat breakfast… but your elf will. #Christmas2017 #Elfie
Great way to motivate your kid to start piano lessons. (PS Elfie is no Beethoven). #Christmas2017 #Elfie #PianoLessons #NiceHairJax
This has been the most elaborate Elfie appearance so far and will probably be the most elaborate one of the season…
PS: Is this a Flour Angel or crime scene body outline?
I’ve resorted to this. #Elfie #Christmas2017
And this effectively ended Elfie’s life… you don’t sit near, let alone in, Buster and Max’s food bowl and expect to live to tell the story. Thanks for a fun run Elfie… sorry your hat and leg were gnawed off.
I’m not sure how or why Elfie makes such a difference in some households… maybe it’s because here we don’t spend six hours suspending him and props from the ceiling with elaborate decorations… but our kid could care less about this thing, who he reports to and what the repercussions may be from misbehaving.
Case in point… RULE NUMBER ONE of fight club… don’t talk about fight club… RULE NUMBER ONE of Elf on a Shelf… don’t touch the Elf on a Shelf. To Jax this means… literally not only touch the Elf, but take him and body slam him repeatedly and then launch him into orbit. We’re screwed with this kid… Santa I hope you packed enough coal.