Do any of you guys have the Elf on the Shelf toy/doll/Looming Figurine of Citizen Reporting? I bought it on a whim and once it arrived I had some misgivings about the concept—basically, the idea is the toy elf creepily watches your kids’ behavior at all times and flies back to Santa each night to tattletale—but we went ahead and read the book to the kids and oh, I wish you could have seen Riley’s face when he came out and found the elf that first morning. I thought he was going to explode with joy and stunned disbelief.

Everything about the holidays is pure wonder this year with Riley. We watched The Polar Express with him last night and he was so, so into it (as was I, I’d never seen it before and I wept RIDICULOUS NEVER-ENDING TEARS at the scene when the parents can’t hear the sleigh bell ring) and it is an indescribable treat to experience everything with him. He’s just completely caught up in the myth and magic and belief of Christmas, and I could be wrong but I’m pretty sure there can be no better age than 5 for all of it.


We got our tree yesterday and I think this was the first year when no one cried or threw a giant tantrum, not even JB and I when we saw the pricetag. (Noble firs apparently must be grown over a period of thousands of years in a vat of black tar heroin, is all I can figure.) Total success.





We’ve been going to the same tree farm for years and we love it, but this is the first year I’ve noticed a bouncy castle. Is it just me or does this seem like an . . . odd location for such a thing?

Do you have your tree yet? Where do you get yours, and how did it go this year?


74 Responses to “Cheer”

  1. Kris on December 6th, 2010 10:58 am

    In Oregon you can pay the ranger station for a permit to go into the woods and cut your own tree. For $5.

  2. KC Brown on December 6th, 2010 11:14 am

    We bought our tree from Home depot… live in a pot, only about 3 1/2 feet but I’ll keep it and replant it every year until we can plant it in the yard of a home we own. We did this in our first home for 4 years..and I was heart broken when we moved and couldn’t bring the tree. My family had done this for years on the ‘old family farm’ and that was one of the great parts of walking outside through the grove of Christmas trees past, and another heart break when we had to sell the place. I hope my grandkids will enjoy my grove of Christmas trees in the future.

  3. akeeyu on December 6th, 2010 12:00 pm

    I love the first one star rating on Elf on the Shelf on Amazon.

  4. marna on December 6th, 2010 12:05 pm

    The bouncy castle is to bribe your children so they don’t throw the hissy fit while you are selecting your tree. We typically buy a live tree each year and then plant it on our property. This year due to health issues we bought an artifical, prelit fake tree. I feel like a loser.

  5. Stephanie on December 6th, 2010 12:38 pm

    Getting our tree tonight..and dreading it. Not because the kids will probably have a meltdown at some point, but the husband was raised Jehovah’s Witness and doesn’t understand why we have to get the big tree and spend 24657641 on it. It’s an epic battle every year which I hope stops at some point so our girls can have fun Christmas tree shopping!

  6. k on December 6th, 2010 12:43 pm

    my 5 year old is not buying that elf on the shelf thing – turning it upside down, saying it’s just a DOLL, it can’t really WATCH…ugh, I’m getting rid of it. Big ole killjoy, he is

  7. Audrey on December 6th, 2010 1:15 pm

    We’re doing Elf on a Shelf this year – ours has been named Fritz – and my 3.5 year old is TOTALLY into finding him each morning. We won’t start as early in the future (we started before Thanksgiving this year…), but I can see this being a fun tradition as both girls get older.

    We cheat and have a small, tabletop, fake, pre-lit tree since we’re not home for Christmas. We have declared this to be our last year traveling for Christmas, so it is also hopefully our last year with the fake tree. In my next (larger) house, I’d love to have a “no touch” tree for all of my breakables that haven’t come out since before our oldest was born and a “kid-friendly” tree, which is basically what ours is now. I don’t mind the touching and the redecorating, but I know I would if my special, more breakable ornaments were on it!

  8. Amy on December 6th, 2010 1:49 pm

    We’ve had John-John, our elf since 2007! My 8 year old is still totally into it. And, I managed to pull off having JJ appear when we went to our friends ranch for the weekend last week. If there was any doubt in his mind that quelled it. Both boys love waking up and trying to find where JJ has hidden himself. No tree, yet, but here in Sacramento at the Old Sac Railroad museum, we have a Polar Express train trip. We’re scheduled for that the 19th and the boys can’t wait. We might even wear our pj’s!!! I think I need footy jammies for the event :)

  9. Amy on December 6th, 2010 1:50 pm

    And k…’re not supposed to touch the elf becaue it takes his magic away!

  10. Rachael on December 6th, 2010 2:05 pm

    Well, when you move to Oregon, you can take the kids to the Mt. Hood Railroad where they can actually RIDE the Polar Express, in their jammies, with hot chocolate. AND they get a bell. I’m getting a little teared up just thinking about it.

  11. Lisa on December 6th, 2010 2:58 pm

    We have an artificial tree, pre-lit, because I don’t want to get divorced.

    (And may I just say how much I love your very, very neat bookshelves? I sense we are are OCD sisters.)

  12. Amy Q on December 6th, 2010 3:50 pm

    Seriously… under an electrical tower?

  13. sooboo on December 6th, 2010 4:18 pm

    I have been rocking the 4ft fake tree from Target for the past 5 years. It’s starting to shed. Usually I go to the Christmas tree lot and get a branch to put by it for the smell. I haven’t gotten around to it this year, but I think I will next week.

  14. .303 Bookworm on December 6th, 2010 5:01 pm

    One for you and the boys:

    That’s right, Santa is a blogger too!

  15. Sheryl on December 6th, 2010 5:19 pm

    Two years ago (the year of the Great Blizzard of ’08 in Portland), I decided that I needed a white, pre-lit, totally fake tree. Then I couldn’t find one. The day it really, really started to snow big-time, I had an ephinany–JoAnn Fabrics. One phone call confirmed they were in stock (50% off!), but by that time, there was no way I could safely drive. So my daughter, the teenager next door and I walked a 1/2 mile in the snow and wind, waited forever for the bus and finally made it to JoAnn’s (which, thank gawd, was still open.) We snagged a tree (in a huge box, natch) and some crafty stuff and reversed the trip. By this time it was snowing and blowing even worse, the busses were more off-schedule and more crowded and the 1/2 mile walk home was in snow that was deeper than the top of my boots.

    That stupid-crazy trip has become a funny, happy memory for us. And we love our tacky little tree!

  16. agirlandaboy on December 6th, 2010 11:50 pm

    Our nine-year-old 2.5-foot tree came out of the attic and was then ceremoniously locked behind the French doors of the library (ooh la la) so the cats didn’t catch their death of plastic pine needles lodged in their esophaguseses.

  17. erin on December 7th, 2010 6:16 am

    We have a fake tree while we’re living overseas and our 8 month old immediately scooted over on his tummy and pulled it over while someone (DADDY) was supposed to be watching him but was too busy playing on his iphone. So the base broke and we are without a tree, not willing to pay another $50 for an overpriced plastic piece of junk. I strung the lights on our kitchen bar and put the tree skirt underneath and that’s where we’ll open presents this year. My girls think it’s the coolest thing EVER and don’t seem to mind that we have to put ornaments back in the boxes 3 days after we just got them out. Plus the baby can’t reach the lights. Heh.

  18. Erin on December 7th, 2010 10:42 am

    Our elf plays pranks on our kids. An idea I happily stole from a friend. Her elf hung the kids underwear on the Christmas tree, made sugar snow angels in her kitchen, had marshmallow parties with other stuffed friends, hung from a zipline with a candy-cane. The list goes on and on. We forgot to move him a few times, now we never forget! It’s so much fun to come up with new things for the elf to do- we are having a ball!

  19. Brenda Withers on December 7th, 2010 3:02 pm

    I’m hoping to do the polar express this year. I usually go to the nutcracker but for 2 tickets this year it was about $300.00 so that’s not going to happen. my tree is fake. we us to go to a tree lot an cut one down,but after my divorce I gave up on that idea. and what’s with the bouncy house under the power lines.just wrong.

  20. Sonia on December 7th, 2010 5:01 pm

    We got our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. We went to the same farm we’ve been going to for a few years now, near Silvana. We were sad though, the selection was down to almost nothing this year. We ended up heading to another farm not too far away, with comparable prices. We’re happy with our tree, and the farm was nice…a good family day for the 3 of us. We decorated while slurping mugs of hot chocolate laced with peppermint Schnaaps.

    I am CRACKING UP over the location of that bouncy house. Whose idea was THAT?! LOL!!!

  21. Sonia on December 7th, 2010 5:02 pm

    And I should clarify, that only two of us had booze-laced hot chocolate. The 10 year old declined.

  22. Jennifer on December 8th, 2010 7:58 am

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE the third picture of Dylan looking up in wonderment at the tree being cut down by JB. I even got teary-eyed. How ridiculously hormonal am I???

  23. veralynn on December 10th, 2010 12:01 am

    Awesome! My husband and I just got our first tree together. He prefers artificial, so we got that for us, but we did help my sister-in law get her tree when we visited her in Rochester, NY for Thanksgiving. It was snowy and rip-you-apart cold, but beautiful. he farm had a hayride, animal petting area, a reindeer, craft, hot chocolate and mmmm cider donuts.

  24. Debbie on December 14th, 2010 12:56 pm

    I’m a newly divorced mommy of a 4yr. girl and a 6 yr. boy. My bff just gave us our “Elf on a Shelf”. I thought it was a little eerie looking, still do. I was busting a gut laughing at your post about this. I read the story to them at night and the next morning my son found it and about shit himself! Now they are both on their best behavior, kind of. I’m thinking about leaving it up year round. My son won’t let me take down our advent calendar so for the past 2 years it’s been up 365. Why not? Great memories. (kids of course, not the divorce!)My kids named their elf Buddy after the movie Elf, which BTW they have not seen. They just saw the dvd in my collection.
    Happy Holidays!

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