Last night, I had one more indicator that I totally do NOT have it together at all these days – not even close. I don’t know what reminded me as I was crawling into bed at 11pm, but I suddenly thought, “Elf!” and then went on a mad hunt for Scoutie (our Elf on the Shelf). Scoutie was not to be found. He was not where I usually put him every year. He was not where I thought I saw him just a couple of months ago. He was not anywhere I normally hide stuff. Scoutie is completely MIA. Our Lego Star Wars advent calendar and Finding Dory movie were still delivered, despite Scoutie’s disappearance, and a ransom note was left, demanding homemade snickerdoodles. Guess we’re baking this afternoon.
I had to ask why we do this to ourselves. I could have skipped the dang elf tradition when it first became a thing years ago. I was desperate to buy one more year of all three kids believing in Santa. Bringing Scoutie into the picture did buy us that year, and, even though the older two have known for a few years now, they still love the tradition and look forward to Scoutie’s return each year. Last year, they even aided in remembering to move him, as well as actually moving him. We still aren’t sure if Little Man believes. We did tell him about Santa (a post for another day), but didn’t know if he understood that carried over to Scoutie, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy as well. That’s another conversation for another day. Even if we knew he knew, Scoutie would still make his December appearance – he’s now a tradition for our family.
If you haven’t guessed, traditions are pretty big for me. Every family has their story. Scoutie is part of ours. But why do we tack things onto our already-loaded to-do lists? Why do we do this to ourselves? For the last seven years, I’ve spent the month of December setting reminders to move the dang elf every night, woken in a panic at 2am and trundled down the stairs to move the elf, made up stories at 7am as to why Scoutie didn’t move (the typical answer being, “Scoutie didn’t want to tell Santa how poorly you behaved yesterday so he stayed and is giving you another chance.”). And our elf doesn’t get into much mischief – I did draw the line at making messes I would have to clean up (I clean up enough messes already), as well as going all out with Pinterested Elf ideas as it’s hard enough for me to remember to move the dang thing.
But making the magic for my children is important to me. So, yes, I make more work for myself this time of year. And yes, I will be hitting the store at some point today to get a replacement Scoutie. And yes, we will be making snickerdoodles this afternoon to ransom Scoutie. And yes, by December 10th, I will be silently praying for Christmas to get here so I can put our elf away for another year (and make a note in my phone where I put him) and not have to remember every night to move him.