I can’t believe that Christmas morning is almost here! I’ve never, in my entire life, been this excited for Christmas. We’ve been having so much fun doing Elf on the Shelf with Molly all December long. We kept it pretty simple this year (it being our first year doing it) and just moved the elf from one place to the next. No fancy or elaborate set ups. But Molly is still sooo excited every morning to wake up and search for her elf Cocoa. The bummer is that Kevin leaves for work well before Molly wakes up so he doesn’t get a chance to see her excitement every morning like I do. So we found a way to continue the elf surprises and excitement through the day so Kevin can be a part of it too. It’s been so special for our family that I wanted to share it with you guys!
So what we do is every afternoon when Molly wakes up from her nap, our elf Cocoa has a surprise for her in the advent calendar (and yes Molly named her that, but really it was ‘Coco’ after the movie… we added the ‘a’ at the end). Her advent calendar is a box with little wooden drawers that we’re able to put different things in every day – from notes to little candies to little toys. Some days she’ll get a little tiny Moana figure, other days she’ll get a piece of chocolate, but most days she gets a note with either an experience written on it or a gift! I wanted to share some of the things we’ve given her so far and the things that will be in a future day’s drawer. I hoping it will bring joy to other families in which a mommy or daddy has to leave extra early in the morning.
I didn’t want every note to be a gift hiding somewhere. I really wanted some things to be an experience. For example, we had a trip planned to Universal Studios with Kevin’s parents earlier this week. Since it was already planned and happening, we decided to make it one of the notes in her drawer that day. Boy was she excited when she opened that one up. But it could also be a note saying you’re going to pick out your Christmas tree or go sledding! Anything that the kiddos would find fun. Things you are probably already planning! One day we baked cupcakes just like Pinkalicious does! And yes, they were pink! And another day Molly got to stay up 30 minutes later and read story after story with mommy, daddy and Riley in mommy and daddy’s bed!
And that experience actually came with a gift for Riley! I didn’t know how Molly was going to react us only having a gift for Riley, but she actually did quite well! I feel like it was a good lesson for her to learn that she doesn’t always get gifts when her brother does. And I think it helped that we got him his own version of Wonderbly’s “Lost My Name” book. She has the exact same book but with her name and has had it since she was a baby. So we thought it be cute to get Riley one of his own! Plus she just loves this book! It’s about a little girl who lost her name and goes on a magical journey to find it! Along the way she discovers letters that end up spelling out Molly! It’s such a cute personalized book and she gets a kick out of her name being in it. If you guys saw my Instagram post this morning then you saw her reading it to herself. I really think a book like this that teaches her letters is a huge reason she is so smart! She could identify that her name started with the letter M shortly after she turned one! Wonderbly has a few other personalized books that we also got for Molly! We’ve read “Molly The Elf Who Saves Christmas” pretty much every day this month. And we got her the “Where Are You Molly” book to put under the tree for Christmas. In my mind she can never have too many books! And as any of you know who watch my Instagram stories, Molly loves to read more than anything and I think having books with her name in it is what got her excited about reading in the first place! And if you guys get any of these books, use the discount code WONDER15 for 15% off! And I just read on their site that if you order by Friday you can get it by Christmas with regular shipping. If you order by the 17th you can get it expedited shipping by Christmas.
We really try to limit how much candy we give Molly so we have to get creative with this. Some of the treats in her calendar will be things like yogurt raisins. She’s absolutely obsessed with yogurt raisins! I’ve also convinced her that her daily multivitamin is a candy. Ha! I’m not even kidding, I only give it to her if she does something good for the day during the rest of the months of the year. And during December, now that we’re doing the advent calendar, sometimes I’ll put her vitamin in one of the drawers as her treat for the day. Thank goodness for yummy chewable vitamins! And every now and then we’ll put a small piece of chocolate in one of the drawers. We’ve only given her chocolate once so far and we’re halfway through the month already.
Of course we do small toys too. So far she’s gotten a little matchbox car as one of her toys. It didn’t actually fit in the drawer so we had the drawer filled with a note that said “ I have a surprise that I brought back from the North Pole for you!” And then we told Molly to go find where Cocoa the elf was sitting in our house and sure enough a little matchbox car popped up next to her. Kevin had to quickly run it over there while I took Molly to the advent calendar. But she thought it was pure magic! We also got her these little Moana figurines that she absolutely loves and will either put one in the drawer if it fits, or do something similar that we did with the matchbox car. The figurines that we don’t use in the advent calendar are going to go in her stocking on Christmas morning. And the book “Molly The Elf Who Saves Christmas” was given to her on December 2nd so we could read it all month long.
This weekend we plan on one of the notes from Cocoa to say something about Molly needing to fill a box with toys she can give to other little boys and girl for Christmas to help make room for all the gifts Santa is bringing her since she’s been such a good girl all month. Really she has. This Elf and advent calendar thing TOTALLY works to get her to behave better. I’m honestly super sad that we have to say goodbye to it after Christmas. I need to figure out other ways to continue it (without all the surprises/gifts obviously). Any ideas? Tell me in the comments below! I’m also just hoping Molly feels good about being so good and chooses to stay that way 🙂 We shall see!
Anyway, her reward for giving away all the toys will also be that she gets to color on/in the box with washable markers to make it extra special for the boys and girls. I got this idea from some of you guys actually! A few month ago I was asking for good activities for toddlers and so many of you mentioned putting your toddler in a box with some washable markers and letting her go to town. Ha! Well I did this with Molly and she looooved it! So I know she’ll love the idea of coloring on the box to decorate it for the other boys and girls she is giving her toys to.
Something They Need Before Christmas
Something practical is always a good gift idea in my opinion! And look, I get that we don’t want to go over the top with gifts before Christmas morning, but some things Molly needs before Christmas morning. For example, we are going to a kid’s holiday party soon and she needs a cute dress. I have a couple that she’s already worn that could totally work but I thought it could be fun for Cocoa to bring her a dress one day to wear to the party. So the day of the party, when she wakes up from her nap, Cocoa’s gonna have a brand new dress that she brought from Santa for Molly to wear! And you don’t have to spend a lot. A few of the options I’m considering are below- they are all under $20 and so stinking cute!
I think a really cute idea that we’re going to try to do is put a note in saying Cocoa wants Molly to write and perform a song for her. How cute would it be if that note came with a little musical instrument. We already got Molly this mini guitar that I absolutely love that I think would be so cute for this! So maybe I’ll just have the guitar by Coco or by the advent calendar when she opens the note. Or maybe we can get her a harmonica. One of our friends came over the other day and her son had a little toy harmonica and Molly absolutely loved it! So we’ve been wanting to get her one! This might be the perfect opportunity to do it and get a cute video of her singing a song to Santa and her elf Cocoa! I also think this type of thing inspire creativity!
Anyway, I just wanted to share this with all of you guys because it’s made this December extra special for our family. I think our little system works really well for us and think it could work really well for other families too! Let me know if you guys have any idea for me fore things we could put in the advent calendar!