There’s a New Elf in Town

Jingle bells, send the elves! There’s a new elf in town, and he won’t wreak havoc in your household. Kids and pets already provide enough of that. Instead, this new elf encourages good behavior. This is how I changed the elf on the shelf story to fit my family’s needs.

You might be familiar with the traditional elf on the shelf – a Christmas season tradition. The unruly little elf typically arrives right after Thanksgiving, and appears on a shelf (or hanging from a chandelier, nbd) and every day it behaves mischievously in its chosen home by playing pranks and reporting back to Santa on the child’s behavior. There’s only one catch – the elf cannot be touched by the children or it loses its magic.

For most kids, this isn’t a big deal. They wake up in the morning, find the elf hanging from the ceiling or streaming toilet paper across the house, they giggle, and move on with their day. For other children, specifically those with ADD, ADHD, ODD, autism, etc. the level of wonder might be overwhelming. It might linger and infest their thoughts all day long. A feeling that doesn’t just “settle” as it may for other children. As a mother of a child with ADHD, this was my case.

My son expressed an insistent, desperate desire to hug and snuggle the elf. I explained that he just can’t do that, and the first week or so, he tried to understand. Until he couldn’t take it any longer and another tearful discussion left this mama just as desperate for options.

I knew I needed to come up with a plan, so I “called Santa” and sent the elf away for the night. The next morning, Santa emailed me with a new and improved version of the same elf, and an explanation. Introducing: the do-good elf.

The do-good elf is an elf that does not play tricks, rather, he observes good deeds and that’s where he gets his magic. Therefore, in order for the elf to have magic and stick around, his chosen child must do at least one good deed a day for others. BONUS: the do-good elf doesn’t lose his magic if you touch him. In fact, he enjoys being snuggled & dragged along to all of the activities of the day.

Mamas (dads, grandparents, and caretakers, too), all kids aren’t wired the same. If you think this snuggly do-good elf is for your kid, give it a go! I encourage everyone to find something that fits their child’s needs, while respecting the original idea of the elf & not ruining it for anyone else along the way. Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

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