Get an elf, they said. It will be fun, they said. 

Every year by day four, good behavior is exhausted and mama is tired of getting out of bed just to have this elf make a mess that I'll have to clean up tomorrow! All annoyance aside, it's actually so fun to see McKinlee rush around in the mornings looking for her! This is the first year Carter actually recognizes Holly's existence, so it's been a fun December.

Here are some of the crazy things that #thebolingerelf has done around our house this year!

Holly always makes her entrance by bringing the kids a small gift and a letter explaining that she's back and that she's here to monitor good and bad behavior. This year she brought along some lists for the kids to fill out and mail to Santa. Typically she'll bring a movie, a game, and this year, cookies! I asked a local bakery if they could make these and I picked them up the day before Thanksgiving. They ate them for breakfast. Mom win. 

We gave her some wardrobe options and she returned the favor by drawing McKinlee a "Thank you" note!

Holly loves a good board game! I even ran home that day on lunch and set up some friends for a little competition. Also, I caught them snapping a quick selfie on the Polaroid camera!

"I see London, I see France, I stole your underpants!" Although our kids can't read well yet, they still thought it was hilarious to see their panties/diapers all over the tree!

Elf Selfies! Elfies? 
I just posed Holly up a few different ways, took some pictures and then printed them off! My heart was beating so fast, in fear that McKinlee would wake up and see me taping pictures on the closet! I made Justin stand in front of her face, blocking her view. Trying to save the magic of Christmas as long as we can!

You can even have your elf write some fun cheers or inspirational quotes for the kids!

Rocking baby Jesus to sleep - simple, but McKinlee thought it was so sweet!

Another annual surprise, is the night that Holly brings a Gingerbread house for the kids to decorate. Last year, we just sat the box out, but this year we tried to make it a little more realistic and organize all of the building materials. We just sneak a Wilton's Gingerbread house kit into our cart while we grocery shop.

Roastin' smores over our Christmas candle.

This one was super last minute - found this old birdcage in the back of McKinlee's closet and scrunched Holly in there, then threw her up on the mantle. 

I was running low on ideas, but then found some magazines I was just going to toss out. I remembered I used to love making collages and spelling words from magazine cutouts. Perfect! Took me two hours, but worth it, because McKinlee loves arts & crafts and thought it was so cool!

The toilet-papering of the family room.

Can't keep my hands, my hands, my hands out the cookie jar. (song circa 2008)

Bath time was getting a little rowdy, so one day she was on watch in the bathroom.

She turned the milk green - I'd advise waiting until it's a little less full. Our kids wouldn't drink it! HA!

JAMMY COCOA CHRISTMAS! Our favorite night with Holly the Elf! She locks herself in a jar so we can drive around and show her the Christmas lights. The kids end up carrying her around everywhere, so I am going to try to find a plastic jar next year!

Zip-lining with a candy cane through the family room!

Not pictured: all the last minute places she got tossed at 6:22AM before the kids woke up(the top corner of the shower, the Christmas tree (our go-to), the mantle, hanging from curtain rods, etc.).

May the odds be ever in your favor. Merry Christmas!