People kept asking if we are doing Elf on the Shelf this year, my initial reaction was no way, as a mom to two-year old twins why would I add another thing I have to remember. I also wasn’t sure how much they would understand given they are only two. However, it is clear the boys are loving Christmas, even if they do shout out Happy Halloween every time we see a house lit up. Each time they see a picture of Santa they yell “Santa Mama!” even though I am pretty sure they don’t understand Santa’s skill set. All I knew about the Elf is that you hide him and have to look for him each morning. It reminded me of how I used to believe my stuffed animals came alive when I was asleep and played in my room. I see that beginning to start with the boys and I love it, so I bit the bullet and ordered the Elf on the Shelf.
When the package arrived I began to get excited. It was a huge box with the elf, his naming certificate and this gorgeous book. I suddenly couldn’t wait to get started. I sat down to read the book before showing the boys, so I knew what we were getting into, however, as I turned each page, instead of a build up of joy that I was expecting, I found myself getting more and more pissed.
I personally don’t believe in being a good kid or bad kid, especially during Christmas, which is supposed to be a time of spirit, love and generosity. I never had any plans to tell my kids that if they are bad Santa won’t bring them anything. I think that is mean. Kids are so excited for Christmas. They actually have the mental capacity to believe in magic and in something greater than themselves. We all talk about the Christmas spirit, well look at any child’s face looking at your neighbor’s house that is covered from roof to root in blinking lights, it is pure joy. I am not about to put a damper on that with the threat of being a bad kid and no gifts from Santa. Nor is that Elf.
The good kid /bad kid isn’t even the worst part of the elf. The elf is a snitch. He literally runs back to Santa every night to report on you if you are a bad kid. I mean isn’t that the last thing we want our kids to do is tell on their friends? No one wants to hang out with the douche kid who is going to rat you out and I definitely don’t want that little tattle-tale being one of my kids. One of the twins already likes to tell me when his brother is doing something I deemed not okay. I have already, at two, begun to tell him that mommy and daddy will handle it and he shouldn’t tell on his brother. So why would I contradict that lesson in morality with the Elf who is going to tell on them every night to the one person, who during the month of December, will mean more to them than us?
It has been a real struggle in my house this week of what do to about this Elf. My husband thinks I am slightly over-reacting. His suggestions were to A. send the elf back or B. who cares, it’s in all the songs that Santa checks his list or C. come up with something more positive. For me, to not do the Elf will means that in the coming years, I will have to come up with a reason why we have no Elf in our house. I don’t want them to feel cheated out of the joy of finding the Elf eating blueberries in the refrigerator. I am probably projecting the sense of loss over no Elf, but once I became a mother my sensitivity barometer skyrocketed. As for Santa checking his list, it is fine in a song, but to go to bed every night worried the elf might say you broke a rule, is too much for my heart to take. Again, sensitivity barometer.
So after a lot of bitching, mostly on my part, and talking to everyone under the sun about our big problem, I chose C. and have fallen into the Christmas trap of Elf on the Shelf, however, the book is headed to the trash. Instead our Elf had to evacuate his Christmas jet and landed on our doorstep, stranded until Santa can pick him up on Christmas Eve when he delivers toys to my very good twin boys.