When the Eldest Knows :: Transitioning Elf Duties to the Big Kid

Our Elf

We got our Elf on the Shelf in 2012. I thought it would be a fun way to get into the Christmas spirit and help motivate the kids to behave and get along. For the most part, she’s contributed her share of motivation, but ultimately, they just love the magic that she brings. The thought of that little elf moving like their Toy Story or Velveteen Rabbit stories makes their little hearts flutter with joy. That joy is why we keep bringing her out year after year.

He Knows

This year, as we were decorating for the holidays, I came across the secret box with our Elf “Willow” and tucked it away. My oldest, who just turned 11, was puttering around with me and I said “How do you think Willow gets around every night?” He replied, “Um, you.” Rather than crying my eyes out that he’d grown up right there and then, I added “Great. Congratulations, you’re in charge of the Elf.”


If I told you that this kid was excited, it would be the understatement of the year. He smiled ear to ear, stood up a little straighter and has taken his new responsibility very seriously. After all, he has three younger siblings to impress. He is so proud that he gets to manage such an important task that’s been a tradition for a number of years in our house. What a great way to transition from believing in the magic to actually creating it.

Creating Magic

I’d be lying if I didn’t mention how excited I am not to have to think of any more ways to position our dearest Willow. Every year, I work tirelessly (and sometimes lazily) to move this elf in fun and fanciful ways. After so many years, it’s really a challenge to come up with new ideas and looking through Pinterest makes me dizzy. The 11 year-old has had no trouble inventing fun and mischievous places for Willow to be found. He truly loves creating this magic scene every night.

How Much Does He Know?

We haven’t addressed Santa and won’t bring it up this year. I’m holding on to that a bit longer. For now, I’m enjoying watching him light up as his siblings excitedly find Willow and remark at how creative she is. He and I exchange a quick glance and smirk while the little ones remind each other to be good listeners and to never touch the Elf. My firstborn is growing up and this new tradition is making it a little easier for me to grasp.

Do you have an Elf? Who’s in charge of Elf duties in your home?


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