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EVANS: Holiday traditions continue even in rough years

Like most of you, the past few weeks have been filled with holiday preparations for my family.

From decorating the tree to planning meals, buying gifts and wrapping them, we have all been as busy as Santa’s elves themselves.

For most of us, family traditions bring back warm memories and help us to pass on things to our children and future generations.

A family tradition that is fairly new to us, and probably fairly new to most of you, is the Elf on the Shelf.

For several years now, in early December, a friendly little elf is dropped off by Santa himself and left to supervise our children.

When we first began our Elf on the Shelf, we also began something called the Santa Cam. Now, why one house would need both methods for Santa to watch you, when all of the songs tell us he knows when we are sleeping and when we are good or bad, I cannot tell you.

I can, however, tell you that both of these methods have assisted us quite frequently in reminding our kids to behave.

A couple of years ago, our elf cam was somehow mysteriously broken. At the time, I don’t think anyone owned up to how exactly it happened. We simply reminded them that Santa would still know if they were bad or good.

This year, as we began decorating the tree and sorting through our ornaments filled with so many memories, my 5 year old said, “What about that one ornament? The one that Santa watches us with.” He quickly, and quite suspiciously follows that statement with, “Oh yeah. I broke it.” Hmmm…. And now we know who the culprit was.

The funny thing is that when he broke this ornament, he was only 2 years old, and did not seem too concerned with whether or not Santa watched him. Obviously, he was more concerned than what we realized.

This week, our elves, Zippy and Frank, arrived with new pajamas in tow.

Leading up to their arrival my kids had both started discussing how excited they were about the elves coming. They discussed how the elves sometimes leave little prizes for them, and how the elves play with their toys. I would have assumed that the gifts were their favorite part, but was corrected. Sam said, “I like it when Zippy and Frank play downstairs. Daddy says they mess up all of his cleaning.”

For those of you who do not know about the mysteries of Elf on the Shelf, each year Santa drops off a little elf to supervise boys and girls. The elves, however, really like to get into trouble. Our elves have been imprisoned by Chewbacca, flew in underwear around the ceiling fan and fought in nerf gun wars from the Christmas tree.

Every year, these little elves come in and bring with them excitement and new memories.

Looking back, I know one day my boys are going to laugh when they realize that mommy and daddy intentionally messed up the play room they had cleaned and hung the newly put away underwear up on the ceiling fan.

But for now I will enjoy their laughter and watch as they sleepily make their way to the living room much earlier than usual just so they can be the first one to see what the elves have gotten into.