Why I Hate The Elf On The Shelf
I'm not happy about this post. I love mocking ridiculous things, but I feel most comfortable poking fun at stuff I like. Things like my college football team, my kids' quirks, my brother's ability to get free stuff from anyone he meets, and how my mom identifies herself by name when she leaves me a message. "Oh, hi Amy. This is your mom. Susan." My favorite target is myself. But today I turn my disdain outward, to a society that complains about consumerism and too many commitments, but spends $30 dollars for the privilege of managing the "magic" of a cheaply made stuffed elf during the busiest month of the year.
Talk about a phenomenon. That elf has only been around since 2005, and by my estimation, is in 99% of houses in America with kids. I am the 1%. In case you are also in the 1% or if you don't have kids, The Elf on the Shelf is a small stuffed elf sold with an accompanying book about the "Christmas tradition" of elves being spies for Santa. The elf usually appears after Thanksgiving, and as a scout elf, is responsible for watching over the children of the house during the day, and reporting back to the North Pole in the evening. Each family names their elf, and the kids can talk to the elf, but not touch the elf. Apparently elves are allergic to dirty little children, and any contact results in the elf's magic fading. Sounds like a little shot of cinnamon will cure the elf of the kid germs, but who wants to piss off a narc? A kid that wants a craptastic Christmas, that's who.
Fans of The Elf on the Shelf swear by the magical properties that turn their kids into well behaved angels from Thanksgiving to Christmas, but I can scare my kids straight with the mere mention of Santa. I guess that's what I don't get. This is a busy time of year. People are stressed, especially moms, and I truly don't understand why one would choose to take on another task. It's one thing to park your elf on the mantle for the season, and maybe move him or her around a couple of times, but that's not enough. Your elf is supposed to be naughty. Make messes (that YOU make and then clean up). break things, move stuff around. WTF, elf? We invite you in our home, and you tear shit up? Fill the sink with marshmallows and have a party with Barbie in the "bubble bath"? We can't say anything because you're in Santa's inner circle? Sounds to me like we've brought a bully in the house. Hey kids, it's okay to let someone treat you badly if they are important. Or if they know someone important.
Also, isn't the story of Santa and his flying reindeer delivering gifts to all the kids in the world in one night enough lies for one season? I'm all for tradition. Christmas trees, decorations, stockings, Santa, gifts, cookies, and family all make Christmas a special time for children, even if they sometimes distract from the real reason for our holiday celebration. I know some families have visions of The Elf on the Shelf becoming tradition and being passed on to their grandchildren. Parents, you all best go out and buy an elf for each of your kids. Otherwise, they'll be fighting over the family elf when they have kids of their own!
My five-year-old has been asking for an elf for two Christmases now. My official stance is, "We're not inviting one of those tattletales into our house. Besides, Santa can already see what you're doing." I'll tell you this much, if I have to cave to the pressure of our Elf on the Shelf society and spend $30 for the honor of moving a damn stuffed toy around every night, I'm going to be so pissed at you guys. I guess it won't be all bad. At least I'll be able to participate in Elf Shaming.