12/21/2013 05:43 EST | Updated 02/20/2014 05:59 EST

Why 'Elf on the Shelf' Has a Place in My Heart

At first, I was a skeptic. I'd read the blogs, the warnings and the curses that were written about Elf on the Shelf. I could feel the hate. This elf would leave terror and anarchy in his wake. He'd behave badly. In short, he'd be a pain in the...

We are in the 21st day of living life E.O.T.S. That is, Elf on the Shelf. And I thought I might weigh in on what that has been like for our family (seeing as no one cares about it anymore and I always come to the debating table 21 days late...).

Alphonzo came to our house well after Christmas last year. He was a clearance baby, scooped up by a loving auntie who wanted to spread the joy to her Canadian nieces and nephews. Alphie is American. I don't think he has an opinion formed, as of yet, about the recent Duck Dynasty controversy, but I will be sure to post it if he does (and long after the controversy has died a slow and painful reality-show death).

Alphie almost didn't make it up from the dungeon/cellar as he was the Elf on the Cellar Shelf for about six months prior to his sudden entry into the real world. At first, I was a skeptic. I'd read the blogs, the warnings and the curses that were written about him. I could feel the hate. He would leave terror and anarchy in his wake. He'd behave badly. In short, he'd be a pain in the...

So then. It wasn't love at first sight between Alphie and me. Our love story has been 21 days in the making. And that love story started with my first reading of Alphie's story. That is, his entry into the world of Christmas traditions thanks to Carol Aebersold. Aebersold writes in the forward to her book, Elf on the Shelf:

"His sole responsibility was to watch the children's behaviour and report to Santa each night. The next morning after the children awoke, they discovered the elf had returned from the North Pole and was now resting in a new and different place. My children would race each other out of bed to try and be the first to spy him in his new position."

If that was truly Alphie's job, to sit and watch and move once every 24 hours, I thought to myself "How hard can this be?"

Turns out, the hardest thing about Alphie is the moving. But other than that, I have to say that after almost a month of sharing space with him, he is starting to grow on me. Here are the top ten reasons that I found it in my heart to extend peace, love and brotherhood to dear ol' Alphonzo:

*he's a cheap tenant (in fact, he was free) #cantbeatthat

*he's completely well behaved (nowhere in that manual-of-sorts for living life E.O.T.S. have I ever read that these elves are to behave badly. So then...ours doesn't either)

*he's way easier than a dog (no pee, no poop, no food, no water, no shedding. I could go on and on...)

*he's a great form of entertainment. Plus, Husband has joined the fun now making Alphie the joint responsibility of Pa and Ma. #bonus #makesmaglad #pacanhavehim

*he makes the kids happy too. And for the little effort it takes to remember to move him, that makes for one happy little family. All around.

*he is always smiling at us with those sparkling, knowing eyes. I can't say the same for myself 75% of the time.

*he's made us smile. In this stressful time of Christmas preparations and holiday rush, a little smiling and a little laughter never hurt anyone.

*he's not as tricky as I thought he'd be. In other words, no hijinks here, folks.

* he's brought back my Christmas spirit several times over. There were days/nights that I just didn't feel the love/joy/peace. Then, "when I remembered to move" (key phrase) Alphie from one shelf to the next, I also remembered that this move was just one step closer to a happier kid in the morning.

*Alphie brought a renewed sense of tradition into my Christmas spirit. No easy feat. Because mid-November, this Mama felt like Scrooge's second cousin.

We have only a few days left with dear ole' Alphonzo. Then he'll return to his spot in the cellar. Spiders, earwigs and mice will be his friends until next year when we release him into the world of shelves and children's laughter. And for all the trouble it will be to move him from one spot to the next night after night, I have decided after all: he's worth it.


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