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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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For active elf families, the Christmas season is one of endless creativity

The Ashbey family elf gets into lots of trouble. (Becky Ashbey)
The Ashbey family elf gets into lots of trouble. (Becky Ashbey)
By Tyler Wilson For The Spokesman-Review

A typical Elf on the Shelf might hang from the lights, dig around the pantry or leave playful notes to the children of the house. Then there are elves who take it to the next level.

“Our elf is very mischievous,” said Becky Ashbey, who lives with her son, Jacob, in Post Falls. Their elf, Fred, has spent the past seven Decembers with them.

“He’s turned our milk green, he has hung Jacob’s underwear from the tree,” Ashbey said. “The most outrageous thing was he once decorated the whole house in spray chalk on the outside, in all different colors,” she said.

Randi Kyle of Spokane lives with an active elf, too. Sparkle is prone to a few pranks but mostly likes to stay active when Kyle’s two daughters, Rilee and Berklee, are asleep.

“She’s done zip-lining through the house, sometimes she’ll ride a roll of toilet paper down the stairs, she’s toilet papered the Christmas tree and gets into our food,” Kyle said.

Sparkle has a generous streak, too.

“She brings the first set of jammies to wear for the month of December,” Kyle said.

Give the Ashbey and Kyle households credit – they’ve both gone all-in on the Elf on the Shelf tradition, even on those late nights without a plan in place.

“We just come up with ideas as we go along, and my husband and I trade off, but about Dec. 20th or so he drops out,” Kyle said.

“I try to plan, but sometimes he just hides in the microwave with a box of M&Ms … but the more outlandish, the more believable it is,” Ashbey said. “I try not to skimp, I try to think of fun stuff.”

“I also bring in other little toys, Ninja Turtles, little marshmallows. Fred had a snowball fight with the Ninja Turtles,” she said.

Both Kyle and Ashbey said the effort is worth the looks on their kids’ faces.

“What I still like about it, and (Jacob) is on the verge of not doing it, is the minute he wakes up, the first thing he does is look for Fred,” Ashbey said.

Kyle said Elf on the Shelf is an opportunity to cherish her kids’ youth.

“It’s the fun magic of Christmas that the kids only believe in for so long, and it’s fun to see them experience it,” Kyle said. “I’m sure they’ll want to pass it along to their family in one way or another.”

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