This story was originally published Dec. 8, 2015, but these ideas are still lifesavers.
CINCINNATI -- My family has an Elf on the Shelf. His name is Elfie.
It's only been December for eight days, but Elfie has already skipped out on flying TWICE.
(I know. It's awful.)
Besides the fact that our family matriarch can't stay awake past 10 p.m. to save her life, I've discovered plenty of logical reasons as to why Elfie wasn't able to fly to Santa's workshop and back in the night.
1. Pets. Everyone knows that your Elf on the Shelf won't fly if your dog barks in the night or if the cat is running around making trouble. Elves can't work their magic when creatures are stirring -- even a pesky mouse.
2. Snoring. This has two benefits: First, it's an obviously reasonable explanation as to why your elf didn't move in the night. Second, now you'll have another person (your elf-lover) nagging the obnoxious snorer in your house to knock it off. You're welcome.
3. Sleepwalking/talking. People don't know when they sleepwalk or sleeptalk...right? Maybe you, your spouse or your kids were sleepwalking or sleeptalking in the night. They'll just have to take your word for it.
4. Oops...I fell asleep on the couch. And that's kind of intimidating. Maybe your Elf on the Shelf has performance anxiety. And if you have a bum millennial or kids home from college catching up on sleep (my house has both), this becomes way more probable.
5. Weather. Was it windy in the night? Snowy? Cold? Icy? Extra dark? Yeah, that's scary! I wouldn't want to fly in those conditions, either.
6. You were up way too late last night. Your kiddo was burning the midnight oil, and Elfie got tired waiting up for him or her to finally go to sleep. Tell your kid to give your elf a break and go to bed at a decent hour from now until Christmas. And after Christmas in preparation for next Christmas.
7. He was STUCK! See that little wire or nail or whatever that's stuck on your elf's clothes? It looks like he got stuck there and couldn't fly away. Just readjust him and I'm sure that he'll be able to fly tonight.
8. He was giving your kid a free pass. Really, your kid lucked out this time. He or she was pretty naughty yesterday -- remember, he fought with his siblings, wouldn't do homework, said a bad word, etc. -- and your elf didn't want to have to tell Santa about it. So consider yourself lucky, kiddo.
9. This isn't a reason, but rather a proposition. Maybe if your kid takes a nap this afternoon and YOU take a nap this afternoon your Elf will fly! Miraculously, this has worked in my house. For any of the reasons above, our Elfie didn't fly. But if everyone in the house took a nap in the afternoon, Elfie was able to work his magic and fly to Santa. In the words of Michael Scott, it's a win-win-win situation.