Zelda Love Sweets has been a seasonal visitor in our home for six years.

Our Elf on the Shelf, named by my daughters when they were two and four, is not overly creative.

She was a gift from a grandmother.

Another todo to add to our parenting list and bring some extra anxiety to our lives between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

She does not take marshmallow bubble baths or TP the playroom.

That stuff takes effort.

We don’t want her feeling stressed to perform.

It’s enough for her to find a new place to perch every night after making her trip to the North Pole and back.

If you’ve never woken up and realized that poor Zelda did not move an inch, you don’t really know what failure feels like.

The pressure to delight children day after day is pretty intense, but their joy is worth it.

We assume our eldest has the whole thing figured out, but she pretends she does not.

This is the same child who took it upon herself to move an elf around for her third grade classroom.

It was a knock-off elf someone had given our family and did not possess the magic powers Zelda does.

Her teacher had said they didn’t have a class elf, but one appeared and moved during recess each day.

Even the teacher had no clue our daughter was doing this until that last, chaotic week before holiday break, when I found out and made her confess.

Does this rambling have anything to do with your newsletter, you’re wondering?

Of course.

It’s a nod to the power of consistent delight.

I’m not saying you have to set up the equivalent of an elf-sized snow angel imprint in flour for your audience with every send, but you’d better MOVE YOUR ELF.

Make discovering her next move exciting enough to open, read, and look forward to what’s coming next.

Your readers’ joy is your primary goal.

Note: This is my last issue of 2020. Opt In Weekly will be back Thursday, January 7. I’m switching to Thursdays to better balance my work week, and possibly yours. Please let me know if you’re enjoying this newsletter, and, if you feel like giving me a gift this season, share it with someone you think will like it, too.

Wishing you a heaping spoonful of elf magic this holiday season,

Ashley Guttuso  

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