As we were decluttering yesterday (and I use “we” lightly for it was only me), I went back and forth on whether or not to give our Elf on the Shelf to Goodwill along with the two big boxes of toys our girls have outgrown (whether they know it or not).
He’s been in his box on a shelf in our playroom for the past five years, ever since we received him as a gift. We don’t use him in his traditional capacity (I don’t believe in his message), but I hate to give anything away unused.
Instead, he’s been repurposed (how very green of me!) and given a promotion.
Our Elf has been assigned the enlightened and highly regarded task of holding all of our family’s mean, critical or self-limiting thoughts. Or at least mine. If my husband and kids don’t want the Elf’s help, I’ll keep him on as my personal assistant. A consultant of sorts. (Talk about job security!)
While I don’t believe in the Elf on the Shelf in his usual holiday context, I’ve decided he can believe in us and serve our family’s needs throughout the year. When a self-defeating thought or belief enters my consciousness, I’ll give it to the Elf and let him hold it for me on his shelf. Here’s how he works:
Me: sitting at my computer to write: “I don’t have any ideas. I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t deserve to be a writer – I have it too easy, too good, what do I know about life and writing? Who do I think I am? I’m a ‘wanna be.’ And a crappy mother too.”
Me: “Here you go, Elf. Hold these shitty thoughts for me so I can enjoy my day and my writing time. Thanks.”
For me, putting these beliefs into words and turning them over to someone can help free me to enjoy and create. Elf is an always available someone, and he’s perfectly suited to the job. I mean, he’s been underutilized (but not overpaid) for years! Let’s give the kid a real job, a worthy position suited to his strengths.
I’ll load him up with all the self-defeating, critical messages that sprout in my head. And maybe I’ll offer his services to others. For a fee. He can become a profit center … Ah, the possibilities are endless!
My kids can use him too. When they feel scared or angry, they can leave the Elf a note explaining their fears. Or, more likely, their complaints (his job responsibilities are flexible). They can kvetch to the Elf all they want. He’s up to the task.
Ava: “I hate my sister and don’t want her touching my stuff. I’d rather be an only child.”
Me: “I hear you, honey. But my job responsibilities have changed. The Elf is now in charge of the Complaint Department. Why don’t you tell it to the Elf?”
Elf will smile. Rather than his traditional role as cajoler and threatener, Elf will become a source of love and comfort.
Ava (our 9 yo) thinks it’s mean to load up our Elf with all our mean thoughts. But is it better for us to keep them inside? I think not. And our Elf seems to have adjusted well to his new role. Of course, he’s probably happy to finally be out of his box after all these years.
With Elf’s help, I’m betting 2013 will be our year! Yay, us!
And, yes, I’m well aware I had too much time on my hands this morning!