I’m not sure of the name of the award they give marketing campaigns. If it were my job to name it, I’d call it the Mind Control Medal. Anyway, whatever that award is should be given to the evil geniuses behind the holiday ‘tradition’ of Elf on the Shelf. This ‘tradition’ is very loosely based on Scandinavian folklore, but mostly it was a cute story that we now have to make a thing- a Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter party of creative splendor and what-not.
My first issue with this lies in the obvious. They look way too much like clowns. I swear to you they are watching you and waiting for you to drop your guard.
Another problem lies in my own ineptitude/laziness. For example, the year the boys were born, Michael went out and bought a lovely pre-lit tree. I made it more festive by putting all the Christmas cards we received on it as opposed to ornaments. I bought the boys stockings for the sole purpose of taking their picture in them since they were only a month old. By the time I got around to this, they were too big, and I kind of shook them in like a pillow in a pillowcase before remembering not to shake the babies and then freaking out.
This behavior is weird considering my mother is Mrs. Claus. When I was little, Christmas was everywhere in my house. If it was stationary, it had a nutcracker, santa figure, or plaid ribbon on it. We had stockings on our bedroom doors because having them over the mantel wasn’t enough. I have a lot to live up to, so I don’t need an extra tradition, thank-you-very-much.
I’m also not big on the intent of the Elf on the Shelf. I think it does two things. One, it provides whimsy and excitement to the days leading up to Christmas. I’m sorry, are we saying before someone invented this smiling spy cleverly disguised as an elf that the month of December was boring? Cookies, parties, decorating, school break was not enough? The last thing I need is something else for my kids to get rabid over. I have one son that can smell the chocolate from his Advent calendar through a door and another with a wish list he devised in August and has carefully monitored ever since. I need no more fun please. Isn’t Christmas too hectic and stressful already? Now we need to add art director to Santa’s minion to our plate? No thanks. When I want my kids to experience daily bursts of creativity, I turn on the TV; there is a new Christmas-themed Dora every day.
The elf’s second purpose, as far as I can tell, is to scare kids straight so they can earn the toys their parents bought on Black Friday and therefore cannot return due to the fine print on the receipt. In other words, he’s blackmail. He’s blackmail that has to be named and given a back-story. My blackmail is a little less complicated. “Do what I’m asking, or I will be the crabbiest mommy on the block.”
I see the Elf on the Shelf as another being I’d have to be responsible for. Sure, it would be great to have at least one thing in my house that bent to my every wish, but it’s still too much trouble. He also has an end date for responsibility. You only have to watch over him for like 25 days. With real kids there is no end. Ever.
An added bonus is the Elf on the Shelf is yet another thing we can use to be mean and hateful to each other. Oh, you don’t have an Elf on the Shelf who does creative things like build marshmallow snowmen in the pantry? Do you even love your kids? Or, the flip side, Oh, you lie to your kids about an elf spying on them? I guess you don’t have any better ways to teach your children to behave. How sad for you. Parents even got to curse out a Good Morning America host for revealing the Elf’s true puppet masters. Thanks a lot Lara Spencer; you ruined my magical fucking holidays.
I love the holidays, and I love making my kids happy. I don’t need a creepy elf in my house for that. However, in honor of the power to make me think I do, I give to you, dear marketing minds behind the Elf on the Shelf, my Mind Control Medal and an insincere Merry Christmas.