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
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.