During the holidays, many families celebrate both new and old traditions, and one of the most popular is the Elf on the Shelf. It is a beloved family tradition that has grown over the years and captured the hearts of children who have embraced the magic of adopting their very own Christmas elf.
Junior Payton Gannon grew up with the elf tradition. “I had two elves, one Sophie and the other Fritz,” said Payton. “They would always play pranks on each other. Sometimes one would tie the other to the chandelier or lock them in the dryer.” For many children like Payton, fond memories were created by the little mischievous elf dolls which were said to come directly from Santa’s workshop. “This tradition was one of my favorites, though my grandmother goes all out with the Christmas decorations, and I would say that is one of my favorites,” said Payton.
Though many see the elf as an exciting experience and a right of passage for children, others would disagree, specifically some of the parents. This includes upper school head Mr. Gannon, father to junior Payton Gannon and her two younger brothers. “I was a steadfast objector to Elf on the Shelf, which I thought was silly, but one of my children, Payton, desperately wanted the elf,” said Mr. Gannon. “It wasn’t until she was six, we discovered in our guest room that she had left cookies and milk in the fireplace for Santa with this pleading note for an elf to come stay with her. That was an emotional blackmail I couldn’t resist, so then the elf came and I still hate everything about it.”
Payton fondly recalls the humorous stories of the elves’ tomfoolery. By throwing toilet paper over the house or leaving flour all over the kitchen, her father claims it was emotionally and physically exhausting to design the next elf scheme. “Mercifully, our children are now old enough where the elf no longer has to come visit, but it took a long time to clean up and I did it joylessly,” said Mr. Gannon.
Although holiday traditions may vary in their appeal, they still serve their purpose: to bring families together with holiday cheer. For some, the joyous Christmas experiences will last forever. As for the Gannon family, this past Christmas was the last year for the elf tradition.