Last year, after much hinting, suggestion, and blatant asking by the child, we gave in and jumped on The Elf on the Shelf train. Not a literal train, though I'm sure that is an accessory that can be purchased. My son had seen elves on videos from Netflix and on YouTube (thanks Ryan) and he felt he needed his own elf. Last Christmas season COVID was a concern in our area and our family was firmly on team social distance. I told the small man that we weren't going to see Santa so we could help keep him safe. My guy was understandably disappointed, but he quickly got over it when I said I had requested a scout elf. Enter Radio the elf and his little reindeer buddy Journey. I won't deny that I have a lot of elf suggestions pinned on my boards, but in reality Radio has not done much of anything I've seen shared. I may have helped with some minor elf surgery to install magnets in his hands (I seriously recommend this alteration if you haven't done it already) but that is about it. I don't use props other than occasionally using a toy or something we already have in the house. I don't have a detailed story for every setup. For the most part the elf just travels around the house and the boy gets excited to look for him each day.
I definitely do not have a naughty elf. So many of the suggestions on social media have elves making a mess, causing disruption with other toys, or bring in potty humor (elf pee lemonade and chocolate poop?!?!?) I have one friend that has an amazingly detailed account of their family elves evading the law, which I love following but will not be putting that much effort in. I'm not even sure why the naughty elve thing got started. It didn't really feel like a theme in the book. I don't get how a misbehaving elf is supposed to encourage a child to be on their best behavior. I also do not have a gift giving elf. From craft or baking kits to extra rewards daily, I've seen a lot of variations on this theme. The first year our elf arrived with a letter from Santa. This weekend Radio may deliver a holiday themed coloring book so I get a little extra sleep, but that is more a gift for me. My son loves to give gifts to Radio to be delivered to the North Pole. As we were preparing to go to an event that advertised a place to drop letters to Santa I asked my guy if he wanted to write one. "No thanks," he said, "I'll just give one to Radio. He actually pretty close with Santa, since he is an elf." So what does an elf do in my home? Usually the day will start off with Radio being somewhere random in the house that is pretty easy to find before breakfast. Sometime around midday he manages to sneak himself into the living room. This has resulted in catching the boy whispering secrets to Radio singing to him, showing him various toys and things, even drawing pictures or writing letters to him. We don't do a big guilt trip with a whole the elf is watching you" threat, it's more of a simple holiday thing that happens along with a Christmas tree and stockings.
On December 1st of this year Radio and Journey appeared in the dining room with a simple sign saying "We're back!" The joy on my son's face when he saw them was definitely the highlight of my week. I'm pretty sure Radio won't get into any elaborate shenanigans, but he will move at least once a day. He will stay high off the ground since we have a new puppy. And he will bring joy to my son for the entire Christmas Season. I won't be terribly sad to see him go on Christmas Eve...oh crud, I'd better go make sure he moved before I go to bed.