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Past mistakes | Future promises

Christmas Elves

Love the idea, we don't do Elf on the Shelf because I also found it expensive, and already had a tradition based on the elves that visited us when I lived in Denmark.  They are mischievous and hide all our Christmas movies, books, nativity scenes.  I'm a bit of a Christmas freak, so I have so much I thought it would be overwhelming for my son when he was small.  This way he got a little each day.

I love the ideas, and may incorporate some.  However, we have Thanksgiving here, and since that has become a day we just gorge ourselves, we turned the month of November into a giving month.  We try to focus on how lucky we are, spend as little money as possible, and donate to various charities from the money we save (and the leftovers in our pantry right before Thanksgiving).  My son just turned eight, and this is the first year we have really made him participate.  He had a budget each week and had to figure out how to pay for his school lunches and his rice milk, anything that is for him only (and not the family).  He helped me plan menus from our pantry, and now we have a “clean” month that we are going to work on a budget from.  We sold his outgrown clothes, and he uses that money for his Christmas budget (anything they don’t buy we donate).

When he got frustrated with Mom making homemade pancakes, and not getting store bought pancakes we talked about it, and why we did this each year.  It was hard, but it actually made for many different kinds of learning experiences (although trying to get him to grasp why a large bag of X was cheaper overall than the smaller bag, was unsuccessful), both emotional (giving, sharing, making-do) and mathematical (money management, addition, etc.).

I hope to expand this each year as he grows, and as we have more time.  I’m going through chemo right now and between how tired I am, and the fact that it takes 5 hours, and so I have to make up work time, etc. and my son’s general busy schedule—the science fair was also done during this time—we didn’t have as much time to do projects like the ones in the article.  We won’t in December for the same reasons.  Hopefully next year!

I can’t decide if the kindness elves could come early (will my son even believe any more next year?), or if I could re-theme them to Thanksgiving colors (my husband forbids Christmas to come out until after Thanksgiving!).  I had hoped to do a giving jar this year, where each day (or week) we drew an activity like these to do each day—but life gets in the way, and that did not happen (and he is very tired of finding my hair in everything...yesterday it was on his candy cane!  I know he wants it to be over even more than I do.).

My son does have to be good, but we try to incorporate giving “gifts to Jesus” as part of being good, and that can be any kindness done to another person (I'll admit it, when I was a kid, I counted giving another kid a piece of paper!).  Sadly, my son has been diagnosed with Asperger’s (I believe it is a disease, I just don’t believe he has it, but that is a different rant), and he does have some behavioral issues (so would you if you were bullied) so we really try to use all the tools we can to get him to be good, including the elves!

He is the weird kid, but we made him that way, all his weirdness can be traced back directly to his parents (Hello?  Geeks here!  We instilled in him that we loved a good imagination from day one!)!  And I don't always think they are bad traits!!  But, he does lose his temper when the kids tease him, and that is what we have a problem with, and we try to rope in the elves to help motivate him in December.  Since Santa only brings him one gift (and fills his stocking), it's not such a big deal as you might imagine (if I let him stop to think about that!).