I know a lot has been written about the Elf on the Shelf. Pro and con, hate and love, who cares? What I want to do is, using the elf as my template, conjure up the next big toy/ parenting insanity combo.
I’ve done my research (I Googled) and hello, this elf thing is only ten years old! A decade is all it took for elf mania to sweep the country. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that a plastic elf is kicking Merry Old St. Nick to the curb. Yeah, that’s right Santa Claus, a multi-century old tradition of giving, is being usurped by an 4 inch toy with it’s own “Claus Couture” clothing line!
And not just usurped, but I fear brave readers that the shelf elf is on its way to becoming a religion. Okay, relax. I’ll concede (just so I don’t get ecclesiastical themed hate emails) that calling it a religion maybe overstating things, but for sure it has become a lifestyle choice and, as we all know, for many people that’s pretty much the same thing.
So let’s take this knowledge and get to work.
The good news, I, from my own experience of spending many, many, hours sitting in school drop off and pick up lanes, know that a lot of parents are idiots. I’m not just basing this on their lack of skill when it comes to following the proper rules and procedures for the whole kid exiting your car thing. I’m also using the visual inventory of what kids are wearing and holding as they disembark from their parent’s vehicles as another measurement of stupidity. Let’s be real here. When a six-year-old has a iPhone 6, a $100 backpack, and boots that cost twice that it doesn’t take a behavioral economist to ascertain that as parents we are not just stooges, but also highly susceptible to the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” peer pressure. In the history of mankind has there ever been a better time to market something ridiculous to moms and dads? I think not.
This means it’s go time for the next lame, yet exceedingly popular, holiday toy/cult. To achieve elf like success I’ve selected two areas of focus. One, it has to create a lot of work for the parents so complaining about the toy becomes almost a hobby. Second, and this is the big one, it has to be something that speaks to a certain breed of parents’ psychological need to compete via social media. I believe if the elf came out pre Internet it wouldn’t have had a chance. Yeah, maybe it would be a so, so holiday book, but it wouldn’t be out there kicking Claus kiester. This whole elf phenomena didn’t take off until parents began flocking to social media to show off what their elf was doing. It was then that he race was on. Not only are there cutesy, G rated elf photos, but now you can even find Elf on the Shelf porn which I believe is the universal sign of marketing success.
I have a few ideas, none of them great. The one I think has the most potential is the “Globe of Gratitude” nicknamed “GOG”. It would be a plush, stuffed, circular toy that looks like earth and starting on Thanksgiving parents would take out the globe and pass it to their children as they share what they’re thankful for. Then each night until the New Year parents hide the globe and when their kids find it every morning there’s a small present thanking them for being grateful. This could be big. It checks off the areas of focus and them some!
Let’s break it down. It’s got the work thing covered. Imagine the hassle and expense of having to buy and wrap little presents for your kids from Thanksgiving to December 31. I can already see parents madly tweeting about being so “tired from all the Globe present shopping” (#globegifting, #gog, #gotgog?) and Pinterest pages popping up offering “quick and cute” globe gift ideas, cookie recipes and party themes. (Followed by Pottery Barn Kid’s debuting their Gratitude Globe sheet set and flannel duvet cover.) But hang on, that’s just the beginning of the social media onslaught.
You know how people LOVE to do humblebrag gratitude posts? Well, imagine all the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram competitive postings from parents sharing their kids’ precious and precocious globe gratitudes every, single day! Forget about Kim Kardashian’s assets this would be the thing that would break the Internet.
Well, now I’ve just got myself really excited. Anyone ready to help me with this? I’ve got a $50 Southwest Airlines coupon. Toy Show here I (we) come!
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Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good. Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival. If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you.