Caroline Verdon: Elf fun has made it my favourite ever festive period

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Happy new year! I’ve absolutely loved my time between the end of the Christmas festivities and now. In fact it’s probably been my favourite ever new year period and I’ve been trying to figure out why.

And then it hit me. It’s because we started Elf on the Shelf this year and it was so time consuming I’ve just loved the fact that he’s gone back to the North Pole! In November I was so excited about starting the new tradition but it definitely didn’t go as expected.

As a child I adored the Christmas magic. Father Christmas always made an appearance at our house on Christmas Day having forgotten to drop off one present and then he’d stay for a while and help hand out other presents and have a cup of tea. It was incredible. Sadly either my dad or my uncle would miss this fun as one of them always had an emergency to attend to like needing petrol for the car or more wood for the (gas) fire and so they’d just miss each other.

One year when the youngest ‘child’ in our family was 21, my dad and my uncle tried to get out of having an emergency. Time was ticking on and Father Christmas wasn’t appearing and even though we were all grown up it was awful! After lots of moaning my uncle finally agreed that his car did indeed need an oil change at 3pm on December 25 and off he went and who should arrive but the big FC himself. Normality resumed!

It’s this kind of love of the magic that I have been desperate to instil in my three-year-old and I thought Elf on the Shelf would be the perfect starting point. After all, why should the magic only be there for a couple of days when it could be all month long? The idea behind the elf in many households is that he arrives to watch the kids and report back to Father Christmas about whether they should go on the nice or the naughty list whilst at the same time getting up to lots of mischief overnight as children sleep. We did ours slightly differently and instead our elf (Edwin) arrived to learn about how to be kind and our three-year-old Arthur was his teacher.

Most nights my husband and I would get into bed and one of us would remember that we’d forgotten ‘that bl**dy Elf’. We’d then argue over whose turn it was and one of us would get pushed out of bed to go back into the lounge and put Edwin into a fanciful position. In the 24 days he did all sorts from carol singing to zip wiring to climbing up the Christmas tree. Each morning we’d pep Arthur into a frenzy: “I wonder what your Elf did last night?”, “your Elf is so funny isn’t he?”, “I hope he’s not being mischievous again!” and Arthur would just nonchalantly plod down the stairs, take one look at the Elf and then ask “Can I get the chocolate from my advent calendar now?” He literally couldn’t give a monkey’s about festivities. He’s a fan of having chocolate for breakfast and he likes the presents but that’s it. To be fair, he only likes some of the presents. We took him to see Father Christmas and he sat on his knee and when he was asked what he’d like for Christmas he replied “a remote control racing car that is red and yellow and blue and goes on a track”.

Father Christmas then told him he would see what he could do and that because he was a good boy he could probably get the racing car. He then handed him a present. Arthur’s face was full of excitement as he ripped open the paper which instantly turned to confusion when he saw what was inside. “This isn’t a racing car, this is a book. You said I could have a racing car. I’ve already got books at home”. Cue sobs and me having to drag him out whilst yelling: “Bye Father Christmas, thanks Father Christmas, sorry Father Christmas”. For as ungrateful as he was he did sort of have a point. It’s confusing for a three-year-old, especially a three-year-old who literally only wants one thing. Other parts of Christmas he was down with – we went shopping and he chose toys to donate to our charity appeal Mission Christmas. He also loved doing Christmas crafts but the magic he’s not bothered for. If it wasn’t for his intense love of pigs in blankets I think I’d be left wondering if we were even related.

The right time for regifting?

Regifting. It happens. We all know it happens. We’ve all probably done it once or twice.

But there is a time and a place and that time is not immediately after Christmas and that place is never Facebook Marketplace!

This year Ant bought his brother’s girlfriend a Bluetooth speaker, she said she wanted one so he obliged.

Don’t get carried away and start thinking it was a huge incredible speaker because it wasn’t, it was £30 but that’s about right for your sibling’s other half.

Anyway Ant and Amy are friends onFacebook and last night up in his feed popped an item for sale that she’d posted – the Bluetooth speaker she asked him for!

Now you could argue that when you buy someone a gift you try to get them what they want and if they don’t want it but could use the money for something they’d enjoy more then that’s fair enough but I’d still argue that it’s rude.

The thing that annoyed him most was that she was asking for £10 for it when it was worth three times that.

If I were him I would probably keep shtum and just secretly despise her for ever more.

Instead he opted for offering her £10 for it knowing full well he had the receipt and could return it, getting his £30 back.

He is an evil genius.

My resolutions are about more

So many people make new year’s resolutions about less.

I’m going to drink less or eat less or weigh less. This year my resolutions are about more.

I’ve taken a look at things I would like in my life that would make me happier and I’m going to try to include them.

Things like music – I used to be a pretty good flautist but haven’t really picked up my flute since my early twenties.

This year I’m going to re-find my love of music. And why not? Why should resolutions be about restricting things or doing things we don’t want to.

We’re only here for a short while so lets find enjoyment in what we’ve been given right?

If you love running but haven’t found the time – put yourself first, go out and make the time to go on that run. If you’re an incredible cross-stitcher, go buy that yarn!

Caroline Verdon is one half of the breakfast show on Radio Aire. You can hear Caroline and Ant between 6-10am every weekday morning.