Bennie, a Nerf gun and my fear of high C's

I am an unabashed lover of all things Christmas. I love the chill in the air (it was brisk 72 degrees last night), the lights, the presents, the music, the scent of pine in the air (candles, cactus don't smell). Heck, I even enjoy shopping.

To add to the holiday festivities, a couple of years ago, our family adopted an Elf on the Shelf

For those of you who are unaware, the Elf on the Shelf spends his days motionless and untouched as a silent observer of the children in the house. At night, he comes alive and travels back to Santa with a report of an update of the days events in the Lang household. He returns just in time to wreak a little havoc, before the sun rises and he is rendered motionless once again. My boys awaken each and every morning to find their elf (ours is named Bennie) in a new location with a clue about what he has been up to the night before.

For twenty-four consecutive nights, Bennie has free rein of our house and has been known to be as sweet as he is surly. Trust me, our children have awoken to things both "naughty and nice."

Once, Bennie took our car for a joyride to see holiday lights, leaving it parked sideways in the driveway. Another time, he gave one of our boy's an unexpected haircut. But, my personal favorite was when he used the star on the top of our tree as target practice with my boys' Nerf gun. As you can imagine, Bennie had consequences for that one.

Dealing with Bennie isn't always fun. There are nights when we are exhausted and just want to go to bed. But, for the most part, my wife and I enjoy our nightly ritual as it allows us to keep the magic of Christmas alive for our two boys. Honestly, Bennie might be more for us than the kids.

Why am I telling you this? Because...

I miss teaching this time of year. I really do. I miss the music, the caroling, and the decorations. I miss our holiday party where I would hand out cards to the kids and read them my favorite holiday story. But mostly, I just miss being around kids this time of year.

I wish I could be a band room Bennie. I wish that for twenty-four days that I could return and be their Elf on the Shelf. I have plenty of ideas, and I'm already the right size! I would love to run free at night, creating chaos, leaving presents in instrument cases, and reporting back to the director who has been naughty and who has been nice. I wish I could scheme in the day and execute at night and leave the students in anticipation of what was coming next. Most of all, I wish I could be back in the middle of it all during this time of joy.

In short, I wish I could be YOU.

Yes, like our nightly ritual, teaching this time of year has it's burden's, but it also has a ton of joy. And, I hope you are able to see past the former to enjoy the latter as for me, THIS truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

If you don't have any holiday traditions in your program, start some. If you don't have a social event, create one. If you don't have a charity to support, find one. And, if you need an Elf and have a shelf that can hold about one hundred and fifty pounds, I just might know someone is willing and wanting to help.