I know I’m going to get a lot of heat for this. In fact, I know I will because when I brought up the same topic on facebook last year around this time, I definitely had a few people who hated what I had to say.
But I’m going to say it.
I can’t stand Elf on the Shelf.
Now, I have a lot of reasons that I won’t play into the “magic” and “joyfulness” that that creepy little Elf supposedly brings, and yes, I’m sure that my reasons aren’t that different from a lot of other people who choose not to participate.
But seriously. Look at it. That thing is creep-a-licious. It’s just freaky looking. If I were a kid, I’d be terrified. And I’m not terrified of inanimate objects. If my dad and brother can’t even walk into the basement without freaking out over how creepy a porcelain doll I keep in storage is, then I definitely shouldn’t trust an Elf on the loose around the house. He’d probably get hurt, what with his creepy little grin. He gives me the heebiejeebies!
And then there’s the fact that basically the whole point of Mr. Elf on Pinterest seems to be for him to barge into your house, leave a mess (which you have to be creative enough to create so you’re doing the same sorts of things as every other Elf that your child’s preschool friends are doing, but also NEW and DIFFERENT things so you can brag to the carpool moms), and then just… walk away from the mess while you clean it up. I’m sorry, but I don’t have time to go around wiping up spilled maple syrup, a “flour war,” or an explosion of Legos. Half the time, I’m lucky to get the dishes done. Why add more work to my day?
I know there are some of you out there who will tell me that having an Elf doesn’t have to be messy. You can do “clean” activities like leaving the Elf with some crayons and a coloring book. Sure, I can. Or I could also set out crayons and a coloring book for my son, no Elf needed.
Really, do you WANT your Elf being the “role model” and person reporting back to Santa when they’re tying up Barbies on the railroad tracks (nope, not just for “Naughty Elf” posts, but for some real life the-kid-is-seeing-this moments), making a mess of the kitchen for a marshmallow fight since they’re out of snowballs, or whatever else? That doesn’t show me that being good is ranked that highly. It says to me that it’s fair game to throw stuff everywhere and then get a job in the reporting to Santa game. Total parent nightmare right there– a revolution based on an Elf!
I don’t like how the Elf is just adding to the commercialization of Christmas. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. I love the decorations and the lights and the gifts, and all that. But seriously, now I have to buy the Elf. And his book. And his movie. And now the trend is an Elf Girlfriend because one Elf is just getting a little stale, and how else are you going to spice it up? And then the Elfs bring gifts like Lego Advent calendars and Christmas Crunch cereal (because Halloween-Specific seasonal cereal was ROCKIN’ in sales this year). How many things do I have to buy for the Elf to do this season? And don’t get me wrong, I spend money on activities and stuff, including red-and-green cake mixes and snickerdoodle milk, throughout the holiday season… but… why have the Elf be the mastermind while I’m going around cleaning up his junk? It seems like so much added work to me than knocking out the middleman.
I feel like the Elf is just another way for suburban moms to compete. Having the best minivan and tracksuit combo wasn’t enough anymore, so we needed to add an Elf (don’t forget the Elf Girlfriend!) While I’m sure that it has a LOT of treasured memories behind it, and I’m sure it is a very important part of people’s holiday traditions, it just isn’t a part of ours.
I feel like I shouldn’t have to tell Zach “You should be good because this tattletale Elf is going to go tell Santa everything you did!” First, I’d like my son not to learn to be a tattletale, and giving him an Elf who reports back to Santa, to me, seems like an endorsement. I also would love for him to learn to be good just for the sake of being good– not because he’s afraid of a warning letter from an Elf. I want him to be good because he genuinely wants to, and for us to sit down and have a dialogue about his behavior… not for some third-party Elf to pass along my sentiments. I feel like, by bringing these elaborate gifts and telling kids when they’ve been naughty, the Elf is driving a wedge between parent-child interactions during the season.
Sure, from my end, it would be cool to see the “magic” in the Elf moving, and doing something new, but from Zach’s end, the Elf is doing all this cool stuff, and mom isn’t doing anything out of the ordinary. I want the season to be about the two of us as a family, and about what we can do together.
I hope that none of my readers are offended by this piece enough to stop reading. I meant it to be a humorous take on why the Elf just isn’t a part of my life this season, or a part of Zach’s, and I’m sorry if anything was offensive. If the Elf is a part of your holiday tradition, good on you. That’s something I’m sure you both will treasure. It just isn’t right for MY house. And, if you’re wanting to start doing Elf on the shelf, I hope my blog doesn’t scare you off from it. Like I said, the Elf isn’t landing here, but if he lands at your house, no judgement. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to eat some of the Count Chocula I stocked up on before that whole Christmas Crunch stuff was released.