Elf on the Shelf

The Elf on the Shelf, Sweetie, at the Hansen house stays out of mischief, as she sits politely on a shelf.

By Kim Jansen

News Report Staff

She is back!

She comes back every year.

It all started when my son, Nicholas, was 5 years old, and my daughter, Nora, was 6 months old.

I guess she came because Santa felt like two children were harder for a mom to manage than just the one. Or, perhaps, it was because Santa was aware that our daughter was a bit on the ornery side.

But, for whatever the reason, Sweetie the Elf on the Shelf was sent to monitor the activity at the Jansen house for the Christmas season.

She arrived at our house that year — and every year since — the day after our Christmas tree went up.

Then what happened?

Well, nothing really.

She just sat and stared at us. Day in and day out, every day leading up to December 25, she just sat and stared at us.

Sure, just like her elf friends, she flew back to Santa each night to tell the good and bad of what was happening at the Jansen household, then she would return early the next morning to find a new place to sit and watch us again for the day.

At first, I thought it was a bit unusual.

And honestly, a little creepy.

But, I have to admit that I have come around, and now, I look forward to her coming to our house. It is amazing how that little elf can keep my children in line with just a look.

Our family has grown to a family of six during her time with us, as we welcomed Reuben in 2011 and Hannah in 2014. And every year, Sweetie continues her visits.

I am not sure how she does it — probably magic — but this little elf can make things happen around my house.

If one of the kid’s actions are leaning toward the “naughty” side, the other kids are quick to remind the potential naughty offender that Sweetie is watching and she WILL tell Santa if they are bad.

And, just like that, everyone is back to “nice” behavior, without any need for time outs or reprimands.

If you ask me, she is kind of a tattletale, but the kiddos do not seem to notice … or mind.

She sits around, waits for bad behavior, and then runs off to rat them out to Santa.

Now, I am sure everyone has heard stories about these high-spirited elves that create mischief during their visits.

My friends have elves that visit their houses (one friend even has two elves) and do everything from wrapping the toilet in gift wrap to making snow angels in flour on counter tops to hosting card parties with dolls and stuffed animals.

But not our Sweetie. She is actually very well behaved. In fact, she is a bit square.

She just perches nicely on a shelf or hangs politely from the ceiling fan, as she does her job and takes mental notes of the children’s behavior each day.

She never gets into any trouble. She must take her job pretty serious.

The kids hear stories from their friends at school about how other elves do these crazy things, and they sometimes complain because our Sweetie is just that – sweet.

And, I simply explain to them that our Elf on a Shelf is a rule follower and takes her Santa reporting duties very seriously. She doesn’t have time for mischief and games. Then I tell them she probably doesn’t have time for fun, since she has four children to keep track of.

Having an elf in your home does come with certain rules and responsibilities.

For instance, no one is allowed to touch the elf!!! This is a very important rule to follow because if she is touched, she may lose the magic that allows her to fly to the North Pole and to change her spot in the house.

This has happened in our house — or so we suspect.

One day when I was out of town and my husband was home with the kids, someone must have touched the elf because she was in the same spot the following day.

My 7-year-old daughter spent the day interrogating her 3-year-old sister to see if, and when, she touched the elf, causing her to lose her powers.

Luckily, it must have been just a minor violation because the next day, when I had returned from my trip, Sweetie seemed to be back to her old self.

It was a close call!

As for what Sweetie will see and report from this year’s visit to our home, only time will tell.

When we wake up on Christmas morning, we will know who in our home made the nice list and who was on the naughty list.

One thing is for sure. This Mom is certainly on her best behavior when Sweetie is watching from one of her many perches because I am hoping Santa will bring me a comfy heated throw to enjoy this winter season.