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Season of Stress? How to Refocus the Holidays

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Elf on the Shelf

Hey, it's a cute concept. Inspired by the 2005 book Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition, parents hide an elf doll in a different spot of their home every night, and the elusive creature keeps an eye on the kids and reports back to Santa. Entire websites are devoted to coming up with hilarious scenarios that leave you creeping around at 11 p.m., frosting Cheerios to look like elf donuts.

If Elf on the Shelf is way too much of a commitment, ditch the daily scenarios and invent a simplified version. Maybe he only changes places weekly or comes around for unscheduled visits. Or, simply skip this new “tradition” altogether.