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Utah Mom Becomes Real-Life ‘Elf On The Shelf’

RIVERTON, Utah — For Emily Blodgett, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.

“It’s just creating a little bit more magic for them,” she said, thinking of her children.

But as is the case with many parents, the season’s a bit of a hurdle for her.

“It’s just caught up in stuff,” she said.

Although the holiday decor brings a heaping helping of Christmas clutter, Blodgett has always gone out of her way to deck the house with yuletide cheer.

“It helps them to kind of remember what Christmas is about,” she said. “One of my favorite Christmas memories is pulling out all the ornaments, year after year, the ones that we’ve made, and going through the memories.”

The Blodgett family’s Elf on the Shelf hangs from a chandelier in their kitchen. (December 12, 2018)

Blodgett even provides spots for their Elf on the Shelf to hide in a new place each morning — the mischievous little character who hides in new spots each morning leading up to Christmas, checking to see if the kids are being naughty or nice.

“It’s a magical time to see where our elf is,” she said. “He just kind of watches out and he’s kind of an eye for Santa, to kind of tell him what’s going on.”

Emily Blodgett works on her makeup, just minutes before the school bus arrives. (December 12, 2018)

But this year, Blodgett’s taken things to a whole new level.

“I mean, I’m in, you know, bright red leggings and a shirt, how could I not look amazing?” she said, while putting on makeup in her living room.

This year, she’s turned herself into a full-sized Elf on the Shelf, complete with furry red hat. For the past couple of weeks, Blodgett’s husband’s helped her transform every afternoon.

“I’m picking something new every day,” she said. “We’ve been on the Polar Express, and a kissing booth, and just funny, cute little scenes that I can put the elf in.”

Of course, this isn’t for her —Blodgett does it for her kids. Every day, her home becomes a beehive of activity as she sprints from place to place, frantically preparing her front yard for when the school bus arrives.


“I think part of the fun for me is, ‘Can I pull this off?'” she said. “It’s kind of just getting a little bigger every day, of ‘OK, what can I pull off this time?'”

Emily Blodgett sits and waits for the school bus in her “Christmas in Hawaii” scene. (December 12, 2018)

The theme of the day is a beach-themed Hawaiian Christmas, including a giant inflatable pink flamingo.

“It’s about my kids,” Blodgett said. “I do it for them. If they didn’t like it, I wouldn’t keep doing it, but they love it.”

While the elf costume may be new, Blodgett’s been at this for a few months, wearing random outfits like a Wonder Woman costume, or dressing up as an air traffic controller to guide in the school bus.

Her kids can’t help but smile when they speak of their mom’s exploits, even as they poke a bit of fun at her.

“What the heck is she doing?” said her son, Aaron. “She’s a crazy person.”

“I think that she’s ridiculous,” said her daughter, Hailey. “Nobody else’s mom stands out in their front yard and acts like an elf.”

Kids on the school bus lean out for a closer look at the scene in the Blodgett family’s front yard. (December 12, 2018)

But for Blodgett, it’s not just about her own kids — it’s about bringing a bit of an entertainment to an entire bus.

“The bus comes up, and then just pop, pop, pop, all these heads just popping up,” she said. “It’s something that they can look forward to. And I don’t know what all these kids go home to. But I know that at least when they come to my stop – it’s just a bright spot in their day.”

Blodgett’s daughter Lizzy has seen it firsthand.

“The bus was leaning on one side, because they wanted to see it so bad,” she said.

One of the most memorable scenes was a “kissing booth.” (Family photo)

For the woman who’s seen Christmas as a bit of a hurdle, the season is proving that giving the gift of a smile is really all you need.

“This has brought me more joy than I ever could have imagined,” Blodgett said.

Blodgett posts photos and videos of the scenes in her yard, and are available to see on her Facebook page.

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