Elf on the Shelf is a great way for parents to bring the magic of Christmas into their children's lives. The concept is based off of a 2004 story about elves that send Santa Claus reports on the behavior of children. But instead of making children feel like Big Brother is watching them, it's become a fun way for parents to build anticipation during the holidays. A felt and plastic elf is moved around the house, and often put into naughty and mischievous poses. He's an elf! It's his nature to misbehave!
But instead of getting an Elf on the Shelf for his child, one dad turned his child Into an Elf on the Shelf. The photos were more adorable than his plastic counterpart, but just as mischievous. Turns out, both kids and elves get into the same amount of trouble.
Two years ago, Photographer Alan Lawrence began dressing his 4-month-old son as an Elf on the Shelf and staging various scenarios. "We’ve always just kinda called him our little elf," said Lawrence of his son. So naturally, the child would turn into an elf. Are they sure he wasn't a changling baby?
Lawrence created his images by staging photos of his young son getting into mischief around the house. Lawrence posed with the tot, then photo shopped himself out of the final image. Because if you could get a baby to perch on a shower curtain rod by himself, you'd know your child had magical powers.
Lawrence is the father of six, but he wanted to do something to honor his son, who's name is Rockwell. "He was special and he’s different," said Lawrence. "I want to celebrate the blessing that he is to our family." And what a blessing he is!
Believe it or not, this photo series was the Lawrence family's first attempt at the game. "My wife and I have never done "Elf on the Shelf," but we've always been fascinated by it," said Lawrence. "This idea of telling your kids this elf lives in your home and causes mischief at night; we started to wonder how would parents really react to that."
Elf on the Shelf might be a Christmas activity, but Lawrence got the idea around Thanksgiving. "A family member told me, "He's like a little elf,'" said Lawrence. "So, we decided to make it a reality." Wow, Thanksgiving really is a holiday that lets us prepare for another, larger, better holiday!
But Rockwell's photo sesh isn't the first time one of Lawrence's kids went viral. Lawrence also has a viral photo series of his son Wil, who has Down Syndrome, entitled Wil Can Fly. The series features his son floating over his wife while she makes pancakes or flying in the bathroom as he looks at himself in the mirror. It's super heartwarming, and also available as a calendar.
Now, Rockwell is older, but they're still continuing to turn him into a little elf. And thank goodness, because as he gets bigger, the shots continue to remain adorable! Can you imagine doing this with your dad while growing up? He must be making some pleasant childhood memories!
However, now that the elf is bigger, there are a new set of challenges. “It’s been a little more difficult now that Rockwell can walk,” said Lawrence. “The window for the shot is a lot smaller. And if there isn’t candy or sweets involved, he usually makes a run for it.” Sounds like the real life child is just as mischievous as his elven counterpart!
And Rockwell's five siblings all participate in the process. “Rockwell’s brothers and sisters all come up with different ideas,” said Lawrence. “But their ideas are usually pretty crazy involving fire!” Aww! It's fun for the whole family!