Monday, December 3, 2012

The Elf That Doesn't Sit Upon Our Shelf


It was an innocent enough question. 

"What's your elf's name?" asked one of Samantha's chums as we walked together to school on Friday morning.  Before Samantha could respond with something that made absolutely no sense, her usual defense to something she totally can't comprehend, (or about as much sense as "What's your elf's name?" would ordinarily make to anyone), I jumped in, "We don't have an elf." "Why not?" she responded, truly flabbergasted that we'd deign to not have an elf like, um, the rest of the world.  I mean, Harry Potter had one, right?  Carefully choosing my words, I explained that not every house has one.  Fortunately for me, we'd approached the school entrance by this time, and went our separate ways.  Whew.

Facebook cracks me up.  Pour your soul out, and maybe get a few responses.  (For the record, I stopped pouring my soul out on there a long time ago - not good for PR...)  Risk offending people by saying you don't see the use in spending money for a creepy plastic doll that may or may not scar your child for life, that may require a whole lot of planning and ingenuity on your part that you just. don't. have. the. time. and. energy. for., and get, like, 60 responses.  Heaven forbid you aren't going with the flow, bowing to a super-clever marketing campaign, scaring your kids witless...  In all honesty, my original status update on Friday (does anyone else *not* have an Elf on the Shelf?) was written in true ignorance innocence as to the numerous ways people use the Elf on the Shelf.  My only knowledge centered on what I had heard whispered in pig latin by other parents around young, eavesdropping ears, that the silly little thing had to be moved every night because the kids think that it's always watching them and reporting back to Santa on whether they've been naughty or nice.  Scary, right?  Anyone ever see that Karen Black made-for-TV film, Trilogy of Terror from 1975?  (There's this African tribal doll that terrorizes a woman in her apartment.)  Dolls and horror stories are just made for each other.

I have since learned, thanks to my many Facebook friends, that the elf isn't actually always spying for Santa, acting as a cop-out in place of real parenting.  Instead, he's a cute little guy or gal, impish grin carefully painted on its face in some far away land like China, who gets into mischief while the children sleep.  The kids, ever excited to see what he/she has been up to during the night, go on a hunt each morning to find him/her and catch it in the act.  Of something.  Like fishing off the side of the goldfish bowl.  Or trekking across the clean kitchen with flour-covered boots.  Or chucking everything out of the hamper.  Fun, huh?

So there are a couple of things wrong with this kinder, gentler scenario, thus still ensuring that it will not grace our home/darken our doorstep/whatever.  First of all, did I mention that the thing is SCARY?  Just what my kid needs (or me for that matter...), to have to search for an entity of questionable provenance, an inanimate object, as it moves itself through the house while she sleeps.  This is a child who, while completely enamored with Santa Claus, cried the first time she left milk and cookies out for him and woke in the morning to discover they'd actually been EATEN.  Not quite what she'd signed up for.  Dang, the big guy in red is real!!  Second, who the hell has time in the mornings before school to let their kid go searching for it?  Seriously, from the moment Samantha gets up in the morning, it's a veritable rat race to get her dressed, fed and out the door.  Third, I do not have time to craft cute little scenarios each night, making messes I have to clean up each morning.  Really. 

So, I maintain that it's just not for me.  Glad for those who love it, whose children embrace it like a 1-month-a-year-member-of-the-family, who are able to create lovely little scenarios as beautifully as a hand-made craft from Pinterest.  As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure there are a million ideas of what to do with your elf on Pinterest. 

But I'm not looking. 

12 comments:

The Sumulong 3 said...

You are not alone in this! I refuse to get that scary looking thing and put it in my house. The first time I saw it I immediately thought of that scary clown in Poltergeist that comes alive and grabs the kids--NO THANKS! Plus like you I do not have to time to move the elf around and frankly Owen won't get it and he won't care.

PS--Your header picture is SO adorable. I love it!

Renee said...

I love you.

One of my reasons for not getting him is your third reason,"I do not have time to craft cute little scenarios each night, making messes I have to clean up each morning. Really." I had never thought of your second reason but I whole-heatedly agree, "who the hell has time in the mornings before school to let their kid go searching for it?"

Chromosomally Enhanced said...

We have this elf and I totally use it for my 7 year old to behave for a month! And when I forget to move it,,,look out for 20+ questions and lies about quantum fluxtionation...I actually told Max last year if he does not believe in the elf there will be no presents from Santa! Yeah I am that parent..Maddie could care less...if she got her hands on it it would be thrown and stepped on! It is creepy...but I have to keep the spirit of overindulgent lies alive and well! Smiles

Nan said...

I didn't even know what this elf thing was until I was wandering through Pinterest (which I have only ever done 3 times in my whole entire life, really!) and it kept showing up!!!! So I am a) glad you blogged about this to update me and give me information about something and b) glad that you are NOT into it and c) delighted at the way you make me LAUGH!

Kelli said...

Amen sister!! Chris and I are really not into the whole thing at all. At this point we just want Colin to know WHO Santa is!!

Kristi said...

Your not alone either...We do not do the elf on the shelf for all of the reasons you listed..i dont see the need..and never will.

Laura said...

Yup..............totally in agreement on the elf thing. I have one extra reason on my list though. 1/2 the time my kids wouldn't figure out what mischief the elf had been up to overnight - they'd just think the mess was a regular part of our messy house!

Laura
downsyndromeupupupandaway.blogspot.com

Becky said...

Oh, we have an elf and have fun with it. My mother in law bought it for us last year...I was initially against it...but starting having fun with it and the girls actually do too. So, we have become that family...but it is all in fun and never will replace the true meaning of Christmas. It is a pain to hide it every night and creativity not so much here either! :)

Rochelle said...

Right there with you. Not understanding the big elf thing. Of course, we are freaks who don't do santa! LOL

Anonymous said...

The Elf will never be found on my shelf...ever! Preach it, Rebecca!

Anonymous said...

Got a laugh out of your school story. We don't do Santa Claus and my poor kids used to give blank looks when well meaning adults would ask them what Santa was brining them for Christmas. Who? What? Hysterical.

Lisa Morguess said...

Hahaha!! How did I miss this? I hate the effing elf. As you know.