The Elf on the Dusty Shelf

It’s that time of the year again, that time that has every parent on high alert. December 1 marks official Elf Season, the time when all of the Elves on the Shelves are freed from their polar caves and released into the world to spy on their chosen family.

I’m miffed as to what these guys have been doing all year, but I am absolutely not going to speculate in case I get it wrong. I have a little pack of rule lovers here, and it all comes from me. Actually, they don’t mind breaking the rules, they just don’t like anyone else to break the rules. When it comes to our Elf on the Shelf, we follow the rule book every step of the way.

We were gifted our Elf, Ziggy, from a beautiful family when we were going through a really challenging time. We were in isolation before our son’s open heart surgery (read that story here), and I had three kids under 5 ABSOLUTELY CLIMBING THE WALLS.

They were nuts, I was nuts, it was nuts.


The early days of Ziggy. Not a toilet roll in sight. 

So Ziggy was a breath of fresh Christmas air. We were careful to open the box without touching this magical creature, we read the story and we named him after only the smallest of debates. It was like a picture from an American commercial, a little bit of bliss in all the crazy.

We were blessed when Ziggy came into our lives, not just because it was a beautiful act of human kindness from someone, but because we were gifted with one of the rare non-tricking Elves. These rare elves existed before the craze of doing naughty elf acts was born, so we dodged a massive bullet there.

Ziggy prefers just to sit or hang, usually from the dustiest ornaments he can find. He still has some staining from the great light pendant tragedy of 2014, but the boys just assumed he’d travelled rough one night.

At the risk of sounding tremendously dramatic, I find the task of remembering to relocate Ziggy quite exhausting. The thought of it raises my heart rate. Nothing wakes you from a deep sleep at 3am like remembering that you forgot to “send the elf home”. Then you have to wake your partner, because those eyes look extra creepy in the wee hours of the morning.

We only have so many spots for an elf to sit and tally behaviour points, and I’m guessing this is where the trend of mischievous elves came in. But as I said, our Ziggy just sits and points out the dust. Sometimes he falls in love with a dusty spot so much that he stays there for two days instead of the standard one.


We were a bit Christmas CRAZY that year

And I can assure you that Ziggy has just as much magic today as the day we found him on our doorstep. Anyone with one of these delightful elves knows that if you touch your elf, it will lose it’s magic. My children are terrified of inflicting this burden onto one of Santa’s magical helpers. Even my nine year old will NOT touch that elf.

I had a very traumatic/hysterically funny incident with an elf a few years ago with a student in my class. We were doing our morning reading and a child had come to school late and was unpacking his bag outside. Another child went to their bag to get something, seconds later I heard the most blood curdling squeal I’ve ever heard, and I ran to find a terrifying act unfolding before my eyes.

One of the children was swinging an elf around by his hat, you could practically see the magic splattering out of Elf all over the place. The offender happily announced that his Mum had told him he could bring it to school, and immediately the rest of the class followed out to see what the kerfuffle was about.

Children cried.

It was intense.

They were devastated, so I quickly went into elf first aid. I used tissues, obviously to lesson the magic-draining touching, and carefully picked him up from the bench where he’d landed when this child went into shock from the response of his classmates to his very innocent act. He just wanted to share his elf with his friends, oblivious to the trauma he would cause a bunch of five year olds.

We took deep breaths and we got through it. But these little people knew the rules, and they were so invested in the magic of this elf that they had no choice but to save him, to mourn the loss of his magic and to believe. We agreed that only a little bit of magic was lost that day, and from then on Elves were to be kept at home. Phew.

The magic that surrounds these elves is just amazing to see, it’s what Christmas is about. Well it’s about Jesus being born, but after that, this is what it’s about.

This morning my son declared that it was only four more sleeps until Ziggy would be here. They cheered, and I panicked as I remembered packing up a lot of “stuff” and shipping it to my parents house. Fingers crossed he can find us. I immediately warned them that he wouldn’t be coming if bedrooms were messy and the toilet floor was covered in wee. Their rooms are now clean.


Dusting my lights and babysitting, thanks Zig. 

I’m sure there are parenting experts that detest this form of bribery, and I welcome those experts into my home to offer alternatives. In the meantime, I’ll cling to the peace and joy that Ziggy brings. And I will use him to bribe my children.

Ziggy came into our lives when we really needed some magic, and bribery. Every time he appears I’m reminded of that special time, and how lucky we are to have such amazing people in our lives who carried us through such a rubbish time.

The magic is beautiful, and the threat of Ziggy reporting back to Santa is even better.

May your elf game be strong this Christmas.




2 thoughts on “The Elf on the Dusty Shelf

  1. hbsuefred says:

    Love the new look, name, everything of your blog! Elf on the Shelf seems not to have made it out to the West Coast of the US, or at least I never encountered it there. However, I have discovered that the character and story were created by a local resident where I live now in “The Secret City” of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. If I ever encounter or connect with this lady, I will try to remember to convey your story, which is probably a little out of the usual, to her.

    Liked by 1 person

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