This year is the first year I’ve thought much about doing the Elf on the Shelf. I’m not thinking about it for the reason of conning my kids into behaving rather for building a new tradition and adding some more magic to the holiday season. I love traditions and that magical feeling I remember associated with Christmas. I remember the excitement building once December 1st arrived and I knew it was only weeks before the BIG day was here. ย As the days and weeks went by, my excitement grew until it was barely contained Christmas Eve.

Growing up, we didn’t have a whole lot in the way of traditions. The few I remember mostly revolved around the actual Christmas Eve and Day. Very little tradition included the days building up to the holiday. In general, beside my internal excitement, my parents did very little to build-up to this momentous holiday. I can’t help but to wonder how much more special the holiday would’ve been if there were traditions that occur throughout the holiday season.

Now as I raise my own children, I want to have traditions built into their memories. I want those traditions specifically to revolve around holidays. Most importantly, I want them to add to the excitement of the holiday. I want them to have positive memories that make them feel nostalgic when they’re in their 30’s and raising their own kids.

Current traditions in our house: Thanksgiving we stay at home and have our own dinner. I shop Black Friday sales starting at Midnight then the day after Thanksgiving we travel to my husband’s family. We stay one night and return on Saturday. Our Christmas tree goes up either on Saturday or Sunday. This year we are returning to the Festival of Lights on Sunday (I’m planning this to be an annual event again). The month of December mostly just includes taking the kids Christmas shopping, watching every Christmas special we can, and seeing Santa at the zoo. For actual Christmas, we go to Christmas Eve services and the kids can open 1 present Christmas Eve, Santa comes, and we open the presents in the morning. Stockings have an orange and apple in the bottom for breakfast. Then we will go visit my mom on Christmas Day. Of course, both Christmas and Thanksgiving includes a huge meal.

So, Elf on the Shelf, or no? Do you do it and if so, do your kids get into it? What other traditions make your holidays special?