Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Waiting on...our Elf on the Shelf, Waldo!!!

DISCLAIMER:  I LOVE Elf on the Shelf!  If you are one of those people that think this is the dumbest idea ever, you can go ahead and stop reading!  Cause right now - I'm waiting on the return of our elf, Waldo!  We started our elf tradition in 2010.  The kids were 9, 5, and we had a 3 month old (I was already awake at random hours of the night - why not add a little elf magic to the mix!).
If you don't have an elf, are considering one, or maybe you are just dreading that little guy or gal coming back, I've got some simple tips and suggestions for you.

1.  Do not do Elf on the Shelf if you do not want to.  It's a commitment and if you aren't up to it, it just won't be any fun for anyone - you or your kiddos.

2.  Set the bar low and work up from there.  Don't go all out at the beginning and then have your elf sitting in your tree for the week that leads up till Christmas.  Start small and add little surprises here and there.

3.  Pre-planning works for me.  A couple of weeks before our elf makes his appearance, I make a list of possible ideas and pick up any supplies I might need (marshmallows always top the list!).  I also look at our calendar and pair up ideas with what we have going on (birthdays, performances, etc.).
4.  Listen to your kiddos.  When they say, "I wonder if our elf will..." try to make it happen!  They love when it seems like their elf is really listening!

5.  Understand that some parents really do love Elf on the Shelf.  If you don't, that's completely ok - just don't suck the joy out of it for the rest of us!  

But, the main reason I LOVE Elf on the Shelf is because our middlest and the now four-year old, absolutely love him.  The oldest outgrew him years ago but he still enjoys seeing where and what Waldo is up to.  The middlest writes him letters (and he, of course, writes her back!) and it truly is fun and magical to watch.  One day soon they won't believe in Santa or the Elf on the Shelf - it's a part of childhood that you can't get back - so I choose to enjoy it while they still believe!

Below are some of my most favorite Elf on the Shelf memories from Christmases past!

Waldo always appears on our mantle the first day that he's back.  See - set the bar low!

Holden loves to send notes with Waldo - my favorite was when she ratted out her brother to Santa when he (accidentally!) knocked out her tooth!

If you decide to use a dry erase marker - be prepared that it could upset your children!  The middlest was rather upset with Waldo for drawing on her chalk painting!

Use items around your house to actually "hide" your elf - or just use items as props!  
We were getting ready for a California Christmas road trip.  Holden was upset because, "how would Waldo come with us?!"  After a note left for Santa, Waldo arrived in a magic capsule that allowed him to make the road trip with us!
this one small thing made the middlest SO happy!!  can you even stand the sweetness?!
Holden asked Santa for her very own elf - that she could have all year - and he delivered!
First day back - 2012 - same spot just added blocks spelling out Waldo's name
never underestimate the power of using what you have on hand - let your elf get into the Christmas candy
bonus that candy canes make cute hearts when put together!
We found Waldo in our play room all ready for a Heisman watch party!  Go, Johnny, Go!
My son's birthday is the 13th of December so Waldo always finds a way to acknowledge it!
Always one of my favorites - can't forget the reason for the season!
I can't stress enough the importance of using things around your house - just need to think outside the box a little!
I mustache you a question - isn't this one of the easiest ways to disguise your elf?!
This is how we found Waldo on the final morning of 2012.
We found Waldo waiting on us when we got home from Thanksgiving at my parents house last year.  We had just watched the Aggies play football on tv and love that Waldo is a fan too! 
And this is why I do it!  Her letter reads:
"Dear Waldo, Welcome back home!  We missed you so much.  We love it when you hide somewhere each day.  It's like an adventure everyday.  We missed you so much.  Nobody could love you more!  Love, Holden"
Waldo crepe papered their doors!
Waldo came dressed in a tutu to wish Hope luck at her first dance performance and he brought canned foods for Holden to donate to the food drive at her Candy Cane Fun Run.
We caught Waldo relaxing in a marshmallow bubble bath with a tasty beverage nearby (play doh accessories make GREAT props for your elf!).
an example of using your calendar - our oldest was leaving for a soccer tournament, so Waldo wished him good luck
Probably the best hiding place.EVER!  Hiding in the laundry!  And, since you aren't supposed to touch your elf, it just meant one more day that the laundry wouldn't get put away.  Well played, Waldo.  Well played!
This wasn't on my list but it came as a result of something Holden said.  She had won a ball at school for Hope but was really disappointed when it popped.  She left it by Waldo and was convinced that he could fix it.  Unfortunately, he couldn't and got stuck to the wall in the process!
Waldo showed up on the morning of the last day of school before Christmas break with a note that said, "You guys have been busy lately!  I feel like I don't get to see you that much.  I was talking with Santa and he sent this magic capsule that I could ride in.  Can I PLEASE spend the day with you?!  Take me everywhere that you guys go so that I can be a part of your day!  I miss you guys when you are gone!"  The middlest was beyond excited!
DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS!!!  Waldo created a winter wonderland in our bathroom - it took over an hour to clean up!  
Reading the story of Jesus' birth to a few of the girls' favorite stuffed animals.
Happy Birthday, Jesus!  Waldo brought cupcakes for the kids to celebrate.  He also brought Holden something she had been asking for - one of Rudolph's sleigh bells!  :)
My friend, Shelly, and I had a fabulous idea to "Un-shelf Yo Elf" - it never materialized but we still LOVE the title!  So, get ready to Un-Shelf Yo Elf!
Tag your elf pictures on Instagram with the hashtag #unshelfyoelf2014 so we can see what other elves are up to.  Let's help each other with fun ideas!

In the meantime, we eagerly aWAIT Waldo's appearance!

Gig 'em and God bless!


  1. I love it....I seriously think Unshelf Yo Elf is the best name e-va! Funny to me I just realized I must have been feeling super creative that week...must have been my week away for your bday..because this and Queen in Between were all born at the same time! Note to self...vacation time means creative time for this girl. Can't wait to see what you come up with this year!

    1. Let me know when your creativity needs a re-charge. Happy to go for a road trip to get those ideas rolling again! Seriously, everytime I think "un-shelf yo elf" I giggle!

  2. We love our elves!! With my little ones, we have the elves you can touch! The non-plush one scared them :( Our elves bring us lots of family fun nights, ways to serve others, teach us about Jesus, and of course just some silly fun! I should send you pics from previous years!

    1. I definitely would love to see some pics! Waldo is running out of places to hide! :)


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