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The time had finally come to release the elves from their slumber. I was so excited. I thought to myself “perhaps I should lock the door.” But it was a silly thought as both kids had been down for two hours by now and they were definitely in a deep sleep. Right?

I approached the safe (exclusive to important documents and creepy Christmas elves), grabbed the key, and unlocked it. I moved a few special items from atop their plushy, soft bodies and gently placed our two jolly friends on the floor.

My mind was racing on where I would put them. How clever could I be this year? As my mind was in overdrive and my creativity was flowing, I crashed back into reality when I heard a little voice behind me say “Daddy?!”

Frozen. I froze. The only thing on me that moved was a bead of sweat forming on my forehead. Tradition and holiday spirit crumbled at my feet, lifeless and dull.

Each year after Thanksgiving, the elves make their annual appearance. Legend has it, these are special Christmas Elves that watch our kids all day long and report back to Santa each night, placing them on the appropriate naughty or nice list. Since being discovered by author Carol Aebersold, the elves have infiltrated kids’ conversations across the country about how excited they are to wake up and find them in a wacky location. My wife and I thought the game harmless and have been inviting the elves into our home for the past few years.

This year, I put a reminder in my phone to give me a buzz around 10pm on November 30th…two hours after my daughter had fallen asleep…and sheer moments before the magic would come to an end.

Oh no, why are our elves on the floor?!

It was my seven-year-old daughter! When I say that I jumped out of my skin, I mean I must have jumped 6 feet off the floor. My daughter was so scared by my reaction to her scaring the crap out of me that she actually ran away.

The adrenaline was instantly pumping through my veins and I had more energy than I could have ever imagined. I was upset that she was out of bed, but the overwhelming feeling I had was “Oh no…this moment is coming too soon.”

My daughter was too smart to believe in the elves after seeing me take them out of the safe. First she learns the truth about the elves and then Santa…Ahhhh! Too soon!

The only thing my brain could think to say was “What are you doing?!”

I had to confirm what she had seen before I proceeded. She told me that she was so excited about the elves that she just had to come out and see if they had come and then she walked in and found them on the floor.

I had a window and I was going to take it! She had not seen me actually touch them, which ruins their magic, so I still had hope. I instantly said “I am so upset,” masking my real emotion of getting the pants scared off me, as I continued to say “I was just getting my clothes and I happened to see the elves on the floor and I think they fell from the air vent.”

Yes! An air vent! It made perfect sense. She bought it! I asked her what we should do and she said “I think I should go back to bed, Daddy. We can’t touch them. Maybe if we leave them there for now and let them rest, they will move in the morning. We will just have to see.”

I thanked her for helping to calm me down and coming up with a great solution. We walked back up to bed and shut the door. Whew!

Why do we do this to ourselves?! Don’t we as busy parents already have enough to do without worrying about an extra task each night for the next 24 days before Christmas? Isn’t our stress level high enough? Here’s why we do it…we do it because it is awesome. Yes it’s a lot of work and yes we are pretty much lying to our kids about things that don’t really exist, but something that does exist is the magic of Christmas and the Holiday Season. I still remember exactly where I was when I came to the conclusion that Santa could not possibly do what he said he did and my mom confirmed it. It was just me and her at the Red Baron…a restaurant that doesn’t exist anymore, just like my belief in Santa. I do however believe in the spirit of Christmas; that indescribable feeling you get the night before the big man pays your house a visit. The local firemen bringing our jolly hero around to our neighborhood with the sirens blaring a few nights before Christmas eve.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane. See the toys Christmas morning, wrapped and under the tree from “Santa.” The smell of hot chocolate permeates the air. Those special gingerbread houses at Grandma’s house. That silly ugly sweater contest. Whatever you do and whatever reminds you of the holiday season, keep the magic alive. If you are a parent with young kids, grab yourself some elves and get in on the magic. Create a lasting memory and bit of nostalgia that they can share with their kids when they are parents. When your young kids are ready to know more, you will be ready to tell them. As for me…I’m just thankful that this slip and fall from the air vent didn’t ruin the magic in our house. Merry Christmas everyone…oh…and lock the door!

ELF ON THE SHELF and any and all entities that control, or are affiliated or under common control with ELF ON THE SHELF, including all brands and trademarks owned or controlled by such entities, are collectively owned by ELF ON THE SHELF.