It was great fun. Until it wasn't.
Its become stressful. What shall we do? Have we done it before? And then there's the midnight dash when you realise that you've forgotten to do anything at all.
Its all just getting too elaborate.
It was fine the first couple of years but last year we found that far more children had elves and they all had different rules.
For instance - one child in my daughters class had been told by her Mum that her elf was 'the boss elf' because that child is SOOO good that only the top elf can visit. Bleurgh! That had my daughter questioning her behaviour. "Why has 'x' got the top elf? Aren't I good enough?" I just told her that the Mum was probably making it up to make the other girl feel good.
It makes me bitter - I don't like it!
Then there are those children who are allowed to touch their elves and take them in to school to show. Mine were questioning how comes they weren't allowed to touch theirs when others can. All these things become trickier to answer (especially when its all based on a giant lie!) and to sound convincing especially when my eldest daughter is now coming up for 91/2.
The same family who have the 'top elf' also have several elves - some hard bodied, some soft. Just how can you explain this. We as adults are trying too hard.
It was supposed to be a bit of fun. Just move an elf from one shelf to another each night. Why have we let it consume our Decembers?
Is the magic over?
I strongly suspect that my eldest has a strong inkling about ol' St Nick but I would love to get just one more year of believing (or at least hedging her bets) before that beautiful childhood naivety leaves her (and I have no doubts that in a moment of spite she will then tell Little Miss L that Santa isn't real - she's not a mean child - but siblings do like to wind each other up!).
For us - I think this will be the year we stop the elves coming. Perhaps they'll visit for one night with a note saying that as their behaviour has been so good they are needed with other families.
Again - perhaps I'm overthinking it.