So I mentioned in my post yesterday that I couldn’t find my elves, Schoonzen (the boy) and Snowflake (the girl) for our family’s Elf on the Shelf tradition. I didn’t think it was a big deal. I would just go out and buy a couple of new elves. I’ve had to do it in the past; possibly more than once. Okay, definitely more than once. Our elves always come to visit us on December 1st so it was important that they be here on time. I just needed to run out to the store and pick some up.
What I didn’t realize is that apparently back in 2018 they gave the Elf on the Shelf a total makeover. Like our little friend got a face lift, fillers, the works. The boy elf has a whole new face! He is unrecognizable. This caused me to start panic texting my husband from Barnes and Noble. What do I do? Should I buy the elves? What do we tell our youngest if she notices that the elves don’t look the same?
David is the calm, rational one in our relationship, so he said to go ahead and get them and that she probably won’t notice. How different could they be? Honestly, Snowflake looks pretty much the same. She’s maybe had a slight glow-up (I think her lipstick looks better), but she doesn’t look like a completely different elf. Schoonzen, however, was giving me some major anxiety. I sent David some pictures so he could see just how different they looked. After seeing the difference, he suggested that, just to be safe, I should maybe put Schoonzen up high so our daughter couldn’t get a really good look at his face. I wasn’t so sure, but I decided to just go with it. If I’m being honest, the new Schoonzen is less creepy looking than the old Schoonzen.
We have been doing the Elf on the shelf since 2008. I actually bought our first elf at a little children’s boutique in Beverly Hills in 2007, but our oldest was still a little too young. The next year, when we started, our son came up with the name Schoonzen on his own. We thought he would forget the name in a day or two and our elf would become “Buddy” or “Tinsel.” The name stuck though and I can’t imagine that anyone else has an elf with the moniker Schoonzen. Snowflake joined the family several years later around the time our younger son was in kindergarten and he pointed out that it was totally unfair that his brother got to adopt and name an elf and he didn’t. In a weak moment, I gave in and we had two elves do deal with.
In the beginning, our elves moved around to a different spot every day. The boys favorite thing to do was to run downstairs each morning and see where the elves were. Unlike their friends elves, Schoonzen and Snowflake never did anything fun or mischievous like fishing for goldfish crackers in the toilet (um… gross), leaving secret messages spelled out in candy or making snow angels in the flour on the kitchen counter. They just sort moved around from place to place and hung out. Clearly I am not the person to go to for advice on fun things to do with the elf on the shelf. I don’t have time for Christmas movie marathons AND coming up with creative elf pranks.
As the years went on, we became a little more lax about moving the elves around. By the time our daughter was old enough to notice the elves, they basically just staked out a spot on the tree or on a high shelf where they rested from December 1st-24th (when they go back to the North Pole). They’re honestly just a decoration at this point, but they’re a tradition and they would be missed if we didn’t put them out.
Anyway, I put the elves high up in our living room Christmas tree and prayed that my daughter wouldn’t notice a difference when the kids went to open their yearly advent calendars. She noticed (and was excited) that the elves were there, but didn’t say anything about Schoonzen looking different (crisis averted – yay! ). Another crisis arose when the kids got into their advent calendars.
Every year I do two advent calendars for each of the kids: 1 candy and 1 fun calendar. There were no issues with the fun calendars (this year each kid got a Lego one – Star Wars and Marvel for the boys and Lego Friends for our daughter). Then I got them each a chocolate calendar from Trader Joes. Now, I love Trader Joe’s. Like, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them. But these calendars are just not ok. I bought them right before Thanksgiving, so they are definitely new. The chocolate inside is stale. Like really, stale. Inedible stale. Our daughter took one bite of hers and declared, “Oh dad, this chocolate is rotten.” The boys concurred that it was not ok. David thought they were being overly dramatic, so he tasted a piece and confirmed that they were right. It was some of the worst chocolate he had ever tasted. I feel awful, but what can I do? I said I was sorry and they can eat a piece of leftover Halloween candy every day until Christmas. Then I reminded them that Mikulás will be here in a few days and we will have plenty of European chocolates to get us through the holidays. This seemed to appease them.
A far more successful advent calendar is the one my mom got me this year as an early Christmas present. I am a huge Bonne Maman fan so when she stumbled on their 2021 advent calendar (sold out on their website but you can still find it here on Amazon), she got it for me. It has 24 mini 1 ounce jars of fruit spreads and honeys. My daughter and I tried the first one last night and it was delicious! She told me that she would rather have jelly on toast than chocolate anyway. I’ll take that as a win.
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