Mom Who Dreaded Elf on the Shelf Shares Sweet Reminder Now That Her Kids Have Outgrown It

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Mom Who Dreaded Elf on the Shelf Shares Sweet Reminder Now That Her Kids Have Outgrown It
© Provided by Mom.com Whitney Fleming

Few things unite parents more than their universal hatred of Elf on the Shelf. Okay, so maybe “hate” is too harsh a word here. Maybe “indifference” is more like it. Or … “mild annoyance”? Whatever you want to call it, the annual Christmas tradition has been going strong for years now in households across America — despite the fact that parents can’t seem to stop complaining about it. Once upon a time, Whitney Fleming was right there with you. The writer and mom of three says she complained endlessly about having to move her kids’ Elf on the Shelf each year (whom they lovingly referred to as Louie) until one day, she was done with him for good.

But see, that’s when “Louie” suddenly appeared again … and somehow, he put everything back in perspective for her.

Fleming shared the post just last week

In it, she recalls how she walked downstairs that morning to make her usual pot of coffee, [only to be greeted by Louie the Elf](https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=454522319364592&set=pb.100044204840878.-2207520000..&type=3) (or, as she referred to him now, “this little bugger”).

Louie was sitting right on top of her coffee machine with that same blank (and oddly creepy?) stare he always has.

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The thing is, Fleming didn’t put him there — and neither did her husband

“This is the first time in a decade that I’m not moving our elf, Louie, around,” Fleming shared. “And no, I don’t miss it that much.”

Fleming, like most parents, gritted her teeth through all those Elf on the Shelf years.

“I was a fair-weather friend to Louie,” she admits in her post. “Sometimes I was an overachiever and he sat in a bath of marshmallows. Sometimes he swung from our chandelier from fishing wire. Sometimes he was haphazardly thrown into a bowl of fruit at the last second. And sometimes he wasn’t feeling well so he stayed in the same spot.”

(Hey, it happens to the best of us.)

So what’s the reason Louie stuck around for so long?

Well, that’s easy: Her kids LOVED him. So much so, in fact, that they couldn’t wait to see him reappear every year on December 1.

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“They would get up early to run around the house to find him,” she recalled. “They wrote him notes the night before he left. And when they were younger, they even behaved a little better because his creepy eyes were always zeroed in on them.”

So, she kept up with the silly tradition year after year (begrudgingly, of course).

“I complained.” she admitted. “I even said I couldn’t wait to toss him out with our Christmas tree after the kids stopped caring about him.”

But now, things are noticeably different at this time of year

Mainly because her kids are all grown up — and *way* over the elf thing. (Well, or so she thought … )

“Now, my house is full of three teens who believe the magic of Christmas is real, but they also know who the magicians are,” she explained.

So when she came down the stairs this particular morning to see Louie sitting atop the coffee maker, she was … well, confused, to say the least.

That is, until she realized who the culprit was: Her teen daughter.

“When she came downstairs and saw me pouring a cup of coffee, she coyly remarked, ‘Louie made your coffee this morning, Mom,'” wrote Fleming.

“He did, and it’s lovely,” she told her daughter.

To which she responded with a smile, “I think Louie is going to stick around for one more Christmas.”

And so, that’s exactly what’s been happening at the Fleming house since December 1

And so far, the entire family is kind of into it.

“I thought at first that she’s going to make this some sort of parental torture forcing my husband and I to find the elf before we have our coffee,” wrote Fleming. “But instead, I told her, ‘That sounds great.'”

“Although everyone in our house knows exactly who moves the elf, we all still want to believe in the magic and spread a little joy,” she explained.

“So this holiday season, move the elf or don’t move the elf,” she writes. “But whatever traditions you choose to do with your kids, do them with the purposes of spreading a little more joy and love around this year. Because even when your kids don’t believe in Santa or their magic elves, they need to believe in something. And if continuing traditions and creating happy memories and providing just a little bit more joy to my kids is what came out of the hours of stress and lost sleep because of that little guy … then yeah, it was time well spent.”

The post has been resonating with thousands of parents ever since it went up last week.

“We all need a little more magic!” wrote one person.

“This is what Christmas is all about,” added another.

“Oh man, this is my life this year,” shared one mom, who explained that her daughter is 12 but still wants her elf Jewel to appear every year.

That said, she admits that she think her daughter “just likes the fact she randomly has left gifts for her throughout the years!”

(Not a bad hunch, if you ask us!)

Believe it or not, a lot of families were doing something similar this year

Especially if their kids have hit their teen years.

“My son is a teenager so we have a new elf tradition,” wrote one mom. “He has to solve puzzles or clues to find the elf. I’m enjoying this more than him. One such clue was ‘He took a day off’ the elf was behind our Christmas ferris wheel?”

“My three teen girls are having fun ‘pranking’ each other with JAK (our elf),” shared another. “Here he was found flying from youngest daughter’s ceiling fan! I had suggested we pass him down to a younger cousin and they weren’t having it!”

“Love this!” wrote someone else. “This year I told my son he was old enough to be the ‘keeper of the Christmas magic.’He took Charlie the Elf and has had the best time moving him around the house.”

Some parents shared other ways their family is keeping the holiday “magic” alive now that their kids are grown.

“To keep tradition and magic alive, instead of leaving cookies out on Christmas Eve, we as a family, enjoy cookies and milk together before turning in for the night.”

And others thanked Fleming for inspiring them to start the tradition themselves this time around.

“Our son is 7, and he came home the other day asking why an elf doesn’t visit him,” one mom wrote. “I didn’t tell him, but honestly I just never wanted to do it. Needless to say, the elf appeared that night. He named him Jingle and he has brought much joy to us these last two days!~”

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