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Challenge: Reducing Holiday Stress

Have Elf on the Shelf Burnout? How Adding Holiday Mischief with Stitch Made the Elf Fun for our Family

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Our Elf on the Shelf:  Buddy

Six years ago, my mother was delighted to give my son his Elf on the Shelf, Buddy. My son was only 18 months old at the time, so for the first few years of Buddy’s visits I would simply hide him around the house. This game of hide-and-go-seek was initially enough to entertain my son, but in the last couple of years I have had to step up my game. Buddy had to actually start doing things.

I must confess that Buddy has fallen asleep on the job numerous times over the years. Sometimes he does the same activity for several days because I got tired of setting up new scenes for him. Fortunately for me, my son finds it hilarious when Buddy gets lazy.

When I brought home Disney’s new Holiday Mischief with Stitch book set this last November, my husband wisely questioned my decision. I was already burnt out from the elf. Was it really a good idea to bring home Disney’s version and have double the work?

I decided to hold myself accountable this year by posting Buddy and Stitch’s daily antics on our Instagram account. I also recruited my husband to help brainstorm ideas and set up scenes. This has helped immensely, and we have now had our Stitch and Buddy do 14 different activities.

We also chose a theme: Stitch vs. Elf. Having a theme has helped us shape our ideas and plan out the scene each day.

While it may have initially seemed that adding Stitch into the mix would have created more work, it has actually made it easier for us to come up with ideas. In fact, we are having so much fun this year that the countdown to Christmas with the elf no longer seems like a burden but something to look forward to.

Stitch Kidnaps Buddy the Elf

Stitch has recruited the shadier Disney Infinity Figures, including himself, to kidnap our elf.

Tips for Stress-Free fun with Your Elf and Stitch

Give Yourself a Break: The holidays are a hectic time and it is easy to get burnt out. Remember, the elf and Stitch are just for fun. If they happen to fall asleep on the job, then that is okay! If you don’t feel like doing something elaborate, then have them play hide-and-go-seek with your child. Stitch and the elf can even order take-out and pick out a movie for a nice relaxing evening!

Look for Inspiration: If you are on Instagram and looking for inspiration, follow hashtags like #holidaymischiefwithstitch or #elfontheshelf. Plenty of creative individuals are sharing their ideas on Instagram. Pinterest is another excellent source for ideas and bloggers have been accumulating Elf on the Shelf ideas for years.

Keep it Simple: Don’t feel like you have to do something elaborate or messy! The shenanigans that have taken place in our house have been contained to a small area and easy to clean up. There will be no writing in shaving cream on our bathroom mirror!

Don’t Buy a Kit: Unless you find an Elf on the Shelf kit for cheap during the after Christmas clearance sales, save yourself some money and use items you already have around the house. I’ve used everything from expired food to my child’s action figures to set up the scenes for our elf and Stitch

Mission Impossible Stitch

Our Stitch found our Christmas lights and decided to pull his own Mission Impossible stunt.

Make it 12 Days: Tell your child that the elf and Stitch were inspired by the song “The 12 Days of Christmas” and will only be here for the 12 days leading up to the holiday. That is still plenty of time for the elf to report to Santa about your child’s behavior.

Plan Ahead: This is one we will be implementing next year! Coming up with new ideas has been the most challenging part of this activity. We’ve tried to have things planned out a few days in advance, but next year we will be planning all 24 days before Thanksgiving to relieve some of the stress come December.

Most importantly, remember to have fun! You should enjoy this activity as much as your child does. Happy Holidays!

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