How To Do Elf On A Shelf, For FreePosted: November 15, 2013
Last year, someone told me about Elf On A Shelf. Elf On A Shelf is a way to milk a little more good behavior out of young children around Christmas.
The way this works is that you buy an elf doll and put it in your house. You tell your little one that the elf works for Santa and is in the house to see who is being naughty or nice. The elf supposedly goes to the North Pole to report to Santa every night, so you’ve got to move him while your children sleep.
Theoretically, with this elf watching what goes on in their home, kids won’t chance being caught misbehaving.
This elf business has become a business. Elf dolls, books and assorted other paraphernalia are sold to support this “tradition”.
You know what isn’t really for sale? Tradition. Tradition happens, tradition develops. Tradition doesn’t come with a receipt.
In the spirit of the holidays and of tradition not being for sale, I am going to give you something. This is something my parents used to great effect with my brother and me. When my son was young, I used it too. If you’re thinking about buying Elf On A Shelf, put your money back in your pocket. I’m giving you the gift of The Watch Bird.
He’s A Bird Who Watches
The Watch Bird arrives as the Christmas holiday season starts building. Both The Watch Bird and the Elf report back to Santa on who is naughty and nice. So what’s the difference?
The Elf On The Shelf costs between $12 and $29. The Watch Bird is free. No props or storybook to buy. All it takes is a parent who “hears” The Watch Bird outside.
No one ever really sees The Bird; he lives outside and peeks through the window to see what’s going on in your home. When your little ones are playing nicely you might say “did you hear that? I think it was The Watch Bird. He probably saw you sharing your toys.” Good behavior, reinforced.
Things aren’t always smooth with children at the holidays. There’s a lot of excitement and sometimes arguments erupt between siblings. Saying something simple like “did you hear that tap at the window? Oh I hope that wasn’t The Watch Bird” ends most arguments.
And Elf On The Shelf, by its very name, implies that the elf must be physically present to work. Who wants to tote an elf doll to restaurants, shopping and to holiday parties? If the elf gets lost in all that moving around, how do you explain that?
The Watch Bird is a bird. He can go anywhere, at anytime. He can’t get lost and he’s always on the job.
Watch Bird Frequently Asked Questions
What does The Watch Bird look like?
I don’t know. It’s a secret. There are probably millions of them. The Watch Bird probably looks a lot different in Saskatoon than he does in Key West.
How do we know he’s here?
He’s quiet, so you don’t know he’s coming. Sometimes you might hear him accidentally tap the window or bump against the house. The watch bird might be one of that flock outside your window. Don’t lock yourself in to a species. All you know about The Watch Bird is that it is a bird. Oh, and he watches and reports to Santa.
What if there’s not a sound that we can say is The Watch Bird.
There doesn’t need to be a sound. You simply say you heard it. When you tell the kids you think you heard The Watch Bird – bang, instant change in behavior. Eventually, your children will start attributing routine sounds outside the house to The Watch Bird.
My child is so advanced, she’ll never buy this.
Sure, but she will accept that a freakishly tiny human that you bought and carried home in a plastic shopping bag will sit motionless on a shelf for eighteen hours a day and never respond to any attempts at social interaction.
On another note, we are all correct to think that our kids are bright. But the rest of us parents? We talk about you and your constant yammering about how your child is too advanced for just about anything. Frankly, we are sick of it. Get over yourself and recognize that your little Einstein is picking her nose.
How does Santa find out what The Watch Bird sees?
The Watch Bird flies up to see him when he has enough good or bad things to report.
Can we put some food out for The Watch Bird?
Of course. We want him to stay around and see as much good behavior as possible.
But Is The Watch Bird Effective?
You might wonder if The Watch Bird works. Hell yes, it works.
Oh, I hope The Watch Bird didn’t hear me curse like that.
I can tell you that when I was a boy, back when the world was in black and white, it worked like a charm. I can also tell you that more recently, in our color and HD world, I have used it and seen it used. It works, and there’s no lame doll to move around your house all the time.
It’s up to you. Christmas is coming. Thirty bucks for Elf On The Shelf or The Watch Bird for free?