I hate the “Elf on the Shelf.” Not dislike or harboring some discreet loathing but all out hate. Now with my youngest child being a sort of adult at 21 one would assume that my “Elf on the Shelf” days are long gone and that any feelings I have in regard to a Christmas toy should have abated oh, about a decade ago.
And in fact, that did happen – sort of. As in I tamped those emotions down to make storage room in my brain for more current and pressing outrage. But then this month my daughter called me to complain about her Christmas holidays being severely lacking in “Elf on the Shelf” joy.
If at this moment you’re confused and going back to re-read the first paragraph again because you’re thinking, wait a minute didn’t she say her youngest child was 21 so what the heck on this “Elf on the Shelf” nonsense – here’s a quick back story.
My daughter, a senior in college, is currently experiencing feelings of her childhood being blighted due to a lack of “Elf on the Shelf “in her life. These repressed memories were triggered by her part-time job of being a dance instructor where every child is apparently awash in the glow of “Elf on the Shelf” merriment.
Hence, the phone call I received about why she was robbed of ever having an “Elf on the Shelf.” To be honest I feared that this day would arrive. I knew that keeping the “Elf on the Shelf” out of my family’s Christmas traditions could one day bite me in the backside.
You don’t stand up to the marketing behemoth that is “Elf on the Shelf” and just expect that you’ll escape unscathed. The Elf will seek retribution and it had finally come for me.
Luckily, I was ready. I settled in with a box of ginger people cookies from Trader Joe’s for holiday strength and sustenance and fired my first shot.
I told my daughter the no elf decision was made from love. Love of trying to keep yet another commercialization creeping into Christmas. I, as a mother, had caved to an overwhelming array of holiday nonsense but the “Elf of the Shelf” was a bridge too far.
Then I got brutally honest. I confessed that the elf was a hater and suffers from a narcissistic personality disorder. I mean who but a narcissist would throw another obligation on a parent’s daily December “To Do” list. Did she know that the freaking Elf has to be moved to a new location every single night?
Even worse is the competitive nature of “Elf on the Shelf.” Parents get zealous in their elf one uppping. May God have mercy on your soul if you don’t bring it in the nightly ritual of moving your elf. And not just moved from say the living room couch to the kitchen counter but staged into a holiday milieu of mischievousness that would put Hollywood set designers to shame.
I shared with my daughter that I, as a mother, had to take a stand and that stand was we were a proud Elf on the Shelf-less family. No creepy elf would be our overlord – not on my watch thank you very much.
My daughter was quiet on the phone and then I heard her sigh and say, “So like you’re telling me you were too lazy to do the whole Elf thing?”
“One hundred percent too lazy,” I laughed. “Now go out there and have yourself a merry little elf free Christmas.”