I was almost late for work one day last week because I managed to lock myself and my children INSIDE the house and wasn’t willing to hop the fence…

My family is new to the elf on the shelf phenomenon. Our Henry made his appearance on Dec 1st. I knew there were thousands of support groups on Pinterest and Facebook who could walk us through the mischief an elf on the shelf can conjure. What I didn’t factor in was the level of expectation the kids would have for the mischief. 

Movement, yes. Mischief, no.

Our Henry seems to be a lazy elf. So far, to the bewilderment of the children, a messy white sugar cocktail is the only trouble-making adventure we’ve experienced. He doesn’t seem to be creative or mischievous at all. Maybe he doesn’t have time to search Pinterest for ideas like he thought he would. Maybe he’s tired. Maybe he forgot to set the alarm on his elf phone. Who knows.

But one night last week Henry was feeling a little naughty. The spirit moved him to hang from the chain on the front door with a handwritten note wishing us a wonderful day. Such a thoughtful elf, right?

I heard the squeals and excitement when the kids found him that morning and smiled at the magic little Henry has brought to the house. We finished getting ready and were about to unlock the door when my son stopped us in our tracks to point out that touching an elf causes him to lose all his magic.


I consider myself to be a relatively smart, creative person. I think about the bigger picture and what needs to happen to make the whole idea come together… At least I thought I was all of those things until Henry came to live with us. 

I knew the no touching rule, I’ve reinforced it several times. Now I’m glaring at this tiny elf hanging on the door like he’s a two ton barricade to the outside world. I tried to reason with the kids but the more excuses I made, the more upset they got.


I felt like a crazy person, trying to come up with ways to get this elf down without letting him fall, hurting him or, God forbid, touching him.  Tongs, tweezers, a pillow to fall on… ugh. 

In the end, we got him down and laid him gently on the kitchen island. Just grateful to be free, I spent a very busy day laughing at our morning with friends. 

Until we got home that afternoon and the kids and I found Henry laying in the same spot on the counter. “Mom! You took his magic!”


#O’Henry #ElfOnTheShelf  #HenryLived #OutrageouslyOrdinary 

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