I was at Barnes & Noble last week and Elf on the Shelf was everywhere. I’m a sucker – so I feel compelled to buy this little guy. It’s a cute idea – one that I know my son will love. But then I saw the brilliance behind “Dinovember” and realized I don’t really need to buy a little elf to be creative with my kids.

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Every year, my wife and I devote the month of November to convincing our children that, while they sleep, their plastic dinosaur figures come to life.

It began modestly enough. The kids woke up to discover that the dinosaurs had gotten into a box of cereal and made a mess on the kitchen table.

The next morning, the dinos had climbed onto the kitchen counter to raid the fruit bowl.

The morning after that, they had managed to breach the refrigerator and help themselves to a carton of eggs. “Uh-oh,” we heard our girls whisper. “Mom and Dad are not going to like this.”

So these parents basically “let” their kids’ toy dinosaurs ransack the house every night – and every morning the kids really believe the toys have done it. How amazing is that? Much better than some spy elf, if you ask me.

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The whole idea just makes me realize that you only have a small window for children to believe in this kind of magic. I get so bummed when people refuse to tell the story of Santa because they feel they are “lying” to their children. There is plenty of time for life to be predictable, boring and understood – it’s called adulthood. I love what these parents have done.

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So maybe I’ll buy the little elf, or maybe I’ll get more creative and have his favorite doll, Woody from Toy Story, cause some mischief in the house. Whatever idea it ends up being – I’m thankful to these parents for inspiring it. I may not be able to live up to the grand scenes they are setting up for their children – but I can give my child some magic to look back on as an adult.

(photo: Facebook)