I wasn't going to make a big deal of Santa Claus....that was the plan before we had children. In fact, my husband and I had many discussions about not 'doing' Santa at all. I wasn't a big fan of the whole 'making your children believe' thing and felt like it was sort of like lying to them. Then, I had my own children...and I understood. You can't get away from Santa. He's everywhere starting in about October of every year. We didn't play up the whole Santa story for the first few years of my daughter's life but as she got to be in preschool, she started asking about him, reading books, coloring pictures, etc. Pretty much every adult we ran into from November through the end of the year would ask her, "What are you asking Santa to bring you?" or "What did Santa bring you?". She was so excited about the whole process. I just couldn't take that away from her. The look of joy, the fun of the season, it all just felt good. So we decided that if and when she asks, we will not lie to her. If she says, "Is Santa REAL?", my answer will be, "What do YOU think?" and we'll go from there.
So when I saw the Elf on the Shelf popping up everywhere a few years ago, I thought it was silly. I mean, really?! An elf who watches over the kids and reports back to Santa about their behavior? Is that really the only way we can control our children's behavior anymore?!? Threaten them with a lump of coal?? :D Well, I knew I wasn't going to go that far, but I got one because the story was cute and I thought Ava might like it. She named him Owen and he simply moved from room to room, only high places, and she loved waking up in the morning and going to see where he was "hiding". Her baby brother was too young to care. We didn't hype the Santa part too much, but it seemed she got it.