So the elf thing.
I held out for a long time. A $30 book and stuffed toy seemed extravagant. Also, from what I gathered on Facebook and social media, the whole operation seemed, well, complicated. There was a backstory. And rules. And nightly repositioning of the doll in all sorts of inspired and fun ways.
My middle son, Jack, requested one for years. In a fit of desperation last December, Jack even crafted his own version, aptly named "The Elf I Made Myself."
While I found his adaptation noble and creative, Jack hung his head in sad defeat and muttered something along the lines of "it's just not the same."
And wouldn't you know? After years of protest and disdain for the whole wretched concept, I am now having an absolute blast with our Elf on the Shelf. My husband has even gotten into the act as we gleefully debate where little "Kane" should go each evening.
That is "Kane" as in Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks, by the way. Not candy cane. With three boys, my chances of securing a festive moniker like Peppermint or Kringle were about the same as my ever buying a cute pink dress with bows. Or walking into the bathroom and actually finding the seat down.
Part of the fun Joe and I are having with Kane is giving him a new vice each night. Our backstory involves him spending time at Betty Ford and quite possibly Joliet Penitentiary. Why have a boring old elf when you can have one with a sordid past?
Doesn't every family need at least one black sheep in time for the holidays?
Or rather, one Blackhawks-inspired drinking and gambling elf?
Traditions all start somewhere. And I cannot wait to hear my kids revisit this one in about 20 years or so:
"Hey fellas, remember when mom and dad gave our elf a hangover?"
This is going to be AWESOME.
I hope the kids enjoy it, too.
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.