Last year I decided my kids are now old enough to really appreciate and enjoy a few things around Christmas. Before this time I knew any effort I put into anything cute & creative would, in all likelihood, be all for not. They just wanted their presents. End of story. But now, with my oldest son verging on 12 years old, the second son coming up on 10 and a soon-to-be 6 year old daughter who is allll about the details in life, I decided to step up my "Christmas game" as it were.
So, the "Assigned Elf" tradition was born (I just made that title up, btw). This is an elf who was assigned to our house and comes to visit each night (starting about a week before Christmas....I WISH I could get it together enough to do a full 12 days of Christmas but I've learned to accept my limitations). He/she then leaves a little something for the kids to find in the morning. This helps with the "longest week of the year" (as my son calls it) to stave off the boredom of being out of school but going out of their mind with anticipation. These are not big things. As a matter of fact, these are usually things we are going to do anyway, so why not have the elf deliver them, right? It's much more fun that way.
Last year, it was Clarence the Elf. This year it will be Elmer the Elf (Clarence got promoted). Elmer will leave a little note along with a little sumpin-sumpin for the kids to enjoy.
Here is what the kids will be greeted with in the morning... the first letter from Elmer!! He's a bit of a smart aleck.
I write each letter the night before, as opposed to writing them ALL right now to have ready. Why? Because plans change, things get deleted from the best laid plans and things get added. It's best (for me) to figure out what I'm in the mood for the night before and then get it all set.
Here is a list of ideas for your elf to leave:
- supplies for this craft
- "Snowman Poop" (a bag of powdered donut holes)
- Gingerbread house kit (this year we are doing foam ones... I'm interested to see what the kids think).
- This fun cookie thing (my 5 yo is going to freak!).
- "Tickets" to go to JumpStreet (I got a good Groupon deal).
- "Tickets" to go see a movie as a family
- A new board game to play as a family.
- A Christmas movie to add to your collection (last year Clarence brought us the classic Frosty the Snowman/Rudolph ones).
- Hot chocolate mix and a bag of fun shaped marshmallows (I got some snowman shaped french vanilla ones... I might be more excited about this one than the kids :).
- A big puzzle (like, 1000 pieces) we can all work on at the dining room table over the holidays (this was a HUGE hit last year!)
- Some of THIS on Christmas Eve.
- A bunch of paper and scissors to make snowflakes (fun snowflake templates here!) to stick on a large window (also a huge hit and the kids worked on them all day).
- Marshmallow guns (remember, this isn't about you--ha!). I saw them at Michaels over in the dollar section. Might be a huge mistake but who knows??
- Sprinkles and frosting with instructions to bake sugar cookies and then invite a family over to decorate them with you.
- These adorable reindeer noses.
(if you can think of any more or have seen anything else that would be fun to do please share in the comments! I'm always trying to think of stuff... Pinterest will help me more in the future, I'm sure!)
All of Elmer's letters will be written on this template I created below. You can right click and save it if you'd like. I also made one with two on one page in case you want to conserve paper. Open in Photoshop and add your text layer and print! You can also print it off and then hand write a note. I backed mine with black cardstock, set it up on an easel and done!