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Why I Hate the Elf on the Shelf

I hate the Elf on the Shelf. There, I said it. Every year it makes me feel like a horrible parent. It makes me feel grinchy and ragey. It makes me feel like a bad Christian. It makes me feel disgusted. But this year, I’m not letting that little, weird-looking thing get to me. And you shouldn’t let it get to you either. Why? Because we are better than this. Let’s join forces, come together, and rise up against this Elf on the Shelf nonsense!

This year I decided not to take the elves out the day after Thanksgiving. Yes, we have two elves because my loving mother and grandmother to my children decided a couple of years ago that my two kiddos needed their own elves. (Mom, if you are reading this, now that we have added child #3 into the mix, please don’t buy a third elf!). I didn’t take the elves out because I thought the whole idea was stupid, and I didn’t want to become another victim of the Elf on the Shelf hype once again. But yesterday morning as I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, I noticed something that reminded me of why I really hate the whole elf thing. And in a fit of rage and passion, I marched down my basement stairs and dug out Mongonk and Stella. I wrote a couple of notes to my kiddos, and I hid those little elfers. You see, I don’t really hate the Elf on the Shelf. What I hate is the ugliness it brings out in us.

Every year it’s the same thing. The arguments start. Judgements are made. And all of a sudden you have parents feeling guilty for not having an elf, parents arguing with each other over the true meaning of Christmas and the proper way to teach kindness, and parents judging each other for not having enough Christmas spirit, or for buying into a messed up idea like hiding an elf around the house that creeps on little kids. Oh, and then you have the people who don’t have kids yet or kids old enough to know about the elf putting their own two cents in about how they know what’s better for our kids. You know what’s messed up? All. Of. This. This is messed up. It’s disgusting what shows up in my newsfeed sometimes. It’s sad to see people say and write such horrible things about each other and their parenting styles (because apparently having an elf or not having an elf reveals all of your shortcomings as a parent). And it’s especially disappointing to see that people feel like they can freely treat each other so unkindly on social media. What the elf???

When I read the comments about the elves that appeared in a story on my newsfeed, I couldn’t believe some of the judgements people were making about each other. In fact, I was really angry about it all day. But then I asked myself, “Why do I give a flying elf?” Why do any of us give a flying elf?

If there is anything I have learned from being a parent, it’s that I am in no way a perfect parent. I mess up every day. The other day I accidentally said the f-word in front of my first grader when I dropped and broke a dish in the kitchen. I was waiting all day for a phone call from the principal saying that my daughter decided to teach her friends that word. So far I think I dodged a bullet there. I make mistakes every day as a parent, and I know I am not the only one. We are human. We are imperfect, which means there is no way any of us are perfect parents. While there certainly are exceptions, I believe that all of us love our children, and because we love our children, we are all doing our best to raise our children right. But my way of raising my children is different from yours. And your way of raising your children is different from mine. That is the beauty of parenthood –our experiences are similar, yet also very unique. And perhaps we can learn a few things about parenting from each other along the way. After all, we are a village.

So, if you want to put that elf on your shelf, go for it. Nobody should be stopping you or judging you for it. I’ll admit, I enjoy seeing my kids get excited about looking for their elves in the morning. I also discovered that they have no problem getting out of bed on school days now, so I may just keep the elves around until June. If you think the elf is stupid, well, I get it! But that doesn’t give you a right to judge other parents who think it’s fun and magical. Some parents might think that dying Easter eggs, dressing up for Halloween, and sitting on a strange bearded man’s lap are weird traditions too. If you are confused like me about how you feel about the elf because you care too much about what other people think of you while also having a desire to go against the grain, don’t worry, you’ll figure it out. And if you do something different with a reindeer, Kindness Elf, or Snoop on the Stoop (just google it), that’s totally cool too.

I decided this year that Mongonk and Stella can stay in our home on a few conditions. First, I’m not going to move them to new spots every day. Second, I’m not even going to try to use them as a tool to get my kids to behave better because it hasn’t worked yet. Third, our elves don’t report to Santa or get into mischief. Instead, my kids are getting notes from their elves that highlight their accomplishments and good qualities. That’s it. It’s simple enough for me, and exciting enough for my kiddos. And I don’t give a flying elf about what you decide to do or not do with the elf because I trust that your decision is based on what you think is best for you and your kiddos this holiday season.

So here’s to rising up against the Elf on the Shelf nonsense and coming together to focus on spreading kindness instead of ugliness on the Internet this holiday season! Cheers!

 

Sawdust Savvy: DIY Kits for the Busy but Crafty Mama

Sawdust Savvy DIY Kits

{I received a complimentary DIY wood sign kit from Sawdust Savvy as well as a code for readers to use to receive $5.00 off an online purchase. All opinions about Sawdust Savvy are 100% my own. Thank you for letting me share my experiences with you!}

This October marks three years in our little brick house. We spent a majority of this time making our home our own by remodeling the attic, bathroom, and improving the landscaping. To be honest, we still have a few boxes in the basement that we have yet to unpack. And I have been saying that I am going to paint my middle child’s room for two years now. The projects will never end, and I suppose that is all part of the adventure of owning a home. But I am beyond thrilled to be at a point where we can take a break from major improvements for the time being. Our house is cozy and comfortable, and it’s been refreshing to enjoy more quality time as a family on the weekends.

We have settled in nicely here. The kids’ rooms are filled with toys, books, and their own artwork. Each family member has their “designated” seat at the dining room table. The bathtub is adorned with colorful bath toys. Our backyard produces fruits, veggies, and beautiful blooms. The kids have some amazing neighborhood friends that they can spend hours outside with on quiet Sundays like today. While we have settled in here, I have to admit that I am a little embarrassed that I have yet to hang anything on our walls. I have a Pinterest board filled with ideas for decorating the walls in my home, but I can never seem to pull the trigger and go for it. It’s overwhelming, and the last thing I want to do is put a hole in the wall. It seems like such a commitment! But, I finally found a solution to my problem: Sawdust Savvy.

Sawdust Savvy is located in Stillwater and offers instructor-led wood craft workshops, made-to-order wood signs, and to-go DIY crafting kits that can be shipped to you. I’ve been wanting to add more personal touches to our home, and while the thought of making a cute wood sign has crossed my mind many times, I simply don’t have the time these days to plan ahead for these types of projects. However, the wonderful thing about Sawdust Savvy is that you can make that cute sign you pinned on Pinterest years ago without all of the effort of getting the materials and tools together. The delightful ladies at the local shop do all of the prep work for you so you can enjoy the best part of making something beautiful for your home. The only prep work I had to do was to make the difficult decision on which sign to choose. Taxing, I know.

I couldn’t help but pick something for the Christmas season. How endeering is this “Noel” sign???

{Sawdust Savvy NOEL DIY Wood Sign Kit}

I stopped by Sawdust Savvy to pick up my sign instead of having it shipped to me. I was so curious to see what their workshop looked like. It’s a cozy space in the heart of lovely downtown Stillwater. The walls were full of inspirational projects, the employees were friendly and helpful, and the workshop was bustling.

Once I had my sign kit in hand, it took a few weeks to get the courage to make it. I didn’t want to mess it up, because in all honesty, I kind of suck at following instructions. Luckily, Sawdust Savvy has tutorials available to watch on YouTube that make it super easy to follow along and know exactly what to do when assembling the project.

 

If I didn’t spend so much time taking pictures of the fun process, I probably could have finished my sign in less than 30 minutes. Really, it was that simple!

While I do hope to attend one of the workshops at the studio in the near future, I love that I was able to order a project that I could complete on my own time at home. I’m a busy mama, so I was really excited about accomplishing a crafty project during the little one’s naptime! Now I just need to find the perfect spot to hang my new sign…

Sawdust Savvy is a local, women-owned business. The workshops are great opportunities for getting together with friends or celebrating special occasions. But for the mamas who don’t always have the time to get out on their own, DIY kits are great options for getting one’s craft fix in too. Check out upcoming workshops and the online shop here!

See something you like? I have a special code for you to receive $5 off of your purchase! When you checkout at Sawdust Savvy, be sure to use the code “blogger5”. Happy crafting, mama!

Scary Mommy
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