I've written about the Christmas elf in this post but I wanted to blog it again, for Jenn at Frugal Upstate, who is doing a collection of Christmas posts. This week, she's talking about frugal traditions.
For us, Advent calendars and the Christmas elf mean Christmas is coming. Every year, we buy a chocolate Advent calendar for each kid (pound shop or grocery store). In addition, we have two felt calendars with pockets (very pretty nativity scene on each), and every day there is a tiny gift in the pocket, like a 20p coin, a small candy cane, or a chocolate coin.
The Christmas elf is a tradition that comes from my family. My mother was Swedish, and the Jultomten are a Scandinavian thing. At the beginning of December, the elf appears in our house to watch over the children and report back to Santa Claus. Every day, he's somewhere new (usually somewhere up high so little fingers won't grab him). Ours is a little wooden elf (an ornament from IKEA bought years ago). He's about 3 inches tall. When I was small, the Christmas elf was made from a wooden spool. He had a red corduroy jacket, a stocking cap, and ravelled wool for a beard. I can still remember him vividly, although he was lost many years ago.
The kids LOVE the Christmas elf tradition. It brings them downstairs, excited, every morning. On Christmas morning, he lands in the tree, then disappears until the next December.