You Guys Need To Chill With The Elf On The Shelf Hate

I’m going to drop a real bomb on you guys, here. It’s a doozy. Brace yourselves.

I do the Elf on the Shelf for my kids.

Yeah, that’s right. I have the Elf on the Shelf. Not just the Elf on the Shelf, but one for each of my kids plus an Elf for my older dog and the reindeer for my puppy.

That’s five – count ’em, FIVE – stuffed dolls that I take out every holiday season, and move around nightly, creating hijinks and antics. I even buy the accessories now. All for the enjoyment of my children.

<Insert fainting in shock and horror GIF>

I started about five or six years ago and my kids loved it. I mean LOVED. I never tied it to behavior, like some parents do. A couple times if my kids were fighting I’d have the elves do their thing, but ALSO leave a note: “Santa says quit fighting!” Nothing beyond that, though. If I forget a night, whatever. It becomes a joke that Mom blew it, because they’ve also always known it was me moving those silly things around.  

I always used to say that I would never do stuff like that (I may have even said it here on my blog). You know that arrogant person that has zero kids who knew everything they would and would not do as a parent? That was me, and the Elf on the Shelf was that thing I definitely wasn’t going to do. Even for a period of time after I had my children.

At some point, though – somewhere in the process – I realized something so unimaginable and profound, it may come as even more of a shock to you guys than the simple fact of me doing the Elf on the Shelf:

My children’s’ childhoods are about their enjoyment, not my own personal judgments and opinions. Yours too. 

You guys can imagine, then, that I feel pretty fucking accosted on a daily basis now, when I log onto the Internet to see a stream of hate for the Elf on the Shelf in every feed I come across. Articles. Blogs. Opinion sites. People’s random Facebook status updates…loaded with hatred and loathing for this simple family tradition. 

See that’s the thing I’ve noticed about the people that don’t do the Elf on the Shelf… they’re just like vegans. The old joke about vegans goes like this: do you know how you can tell someone is a vegan? Don’t worry…they’ll tell you. All the haters of the Elf on the Shelf seem to be capable of doing during the holiday season is telling people that and why they hate the thing. 

The Elf on the Shelf is what you make of it. It can be a tool to control your kids’ behavior for the month or so before Christmas. It can be a fun little family tradition you do every night during the holiday season.

It can also be something you don’t bring into your home.

That’s your prerogative. 

Those of you that don’t, though, need to take a serious chill on all the hate. Honestly. Chill the fuck out.

I get that you guys – adults – think it’s creepy. I get that the thing has this sort of voyeuristic look to it’s face. I have a bitchy look to my face, you don’t see people straight up calling me a bitch every time they log onto the Internet. (At least that I’m aware of.)

Some people use it as a weird little guy sitting on a shelf, spying on you – or whatever. Those are the people that call the Elf on the Shelf (to be clear, a doll made of felt and stuffing) a “pervert.” That’s us – adults – applying our shitty experiences to otherwise innocent things. Dolls, for fuck’s sake. Why stop at the Elf on the Shelf? Why not consider every doll or toy or fake-slightly-weird-looking toy “creepy” and ban them from your house? 

I understand that it’s just another lie we tell our kids. Between Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy… adding another make-believe fantasy to lighten up the heaviness of the modern childhood – well that’s just too fucking far. Right, Monica – mother of one who most definitely will not play in to letting her child have an ounce of fucking levity, from Day One?

Chill the fuck out, Monica.

Some people use it as a behavioral tool, as in the elf doesn’t move if you’ve been bad. To those people, just waiting around every corner is some lady, clutching her pearls, ready to comment about how people shouldn’t need a doll to keep their kids in line. Alright, Pearl Clutcher, fair enough. But you know what is better than judging the struggles a parent has with their kids? Keeping your fucking judgments to yourself.

(In the words of our Holy Mother of Orange County, Vicki Gunvalson: “judge me when you are perfect.”)

And don’t even get the ineffable writers at the likes of Scary Mommy or Bustle started on the mere hassle of doing the whole Elf thing every night. I mean, for goodness sakes, you’ve fed and clothed your children, now you purchased a little doll to move around every night, voluntarily I’ll add, and you have to do this for – what, like a month? And the only payment for this unbelievably agonizing task is your children’s happiness?!

I get it.

I get that the thing has a creepy face, like every other doll your kids have.

I get that fantasy is another word for “imagination,” and there is no place for that shit in a child’s head these days.

And – more than anything – I understand that the plight of the modern parent is that you’ve had all these kids, and yet consider the majority of their kid-ness to be a giant inconvenience to your own life.

I get it. We all do.

But really, guys. Chill. The. Fuck. Out.

And, shut up.

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Why Can’t I Be A Parent With A Lot Of Time On My Hands?

Dinosaurs

There are a couple of things going around the Facebook these days and I don’t like them. Not one bit.

One is about these parents of boys that make their action figure dinosaurs “get into trouble” every night in the month of November. I’ve had like five friends share it in the last day. Sometimes the dinosaurs just play with the fruit bowl. Whatever, that’s cute. Other times they get into an entire roll of toilet paper in the bathroom, or crack open a bunch of eggs.

The other is about people’s oh so clever Elf on the Shelf ideas for this Christmas. You know, you wake up and the kids find that the elf has gotten into the cookie dough and made a mess in the kitchen. Or he’s holding hands with Barbie in the dream house. Some dumb shit like that.

At that point I start to ask just what in the fuck is going on here.

First and foremost, we’re kind of deviating from the original purpose of these things, especially in the case of the Elf on the Shelf. They didn’t create and market that ugly, horrifying elf just so that people can have some mischievous character running around the house. Making a mess. Upping the ante for the rest of us mediocre parents, so to speak. They marketed it as a way to keep your kids under control in the month before Christmas.

If the elf is on the shelf, Santa is coming. If the elf is off the shelf, he’s not because you’ve been bad.

If the elf is dry humping Barbie in the dream house and porking down sausage links while raiding the liquor cabinet… well, just what in the hell does that mean?

I think we’re sort of confusing kids here.

Moreover, who with any sense of morality wastes money and food like that? When I saw the photograph of those dinosaur action figures with an entire package of destroyed eggs all around them, I thought – man, that’s like three breakfasts in our house. Sure, a dozen eggs is around $3 – or whatever – but what would a starving family living on the streets, or dying children in the third world, think if they saw that picture? I don’t mean to get all philanthropic up in here, but I’m pretty sure that being so wasteful is why (1) the world is completely falling apart, and (2) people hate Americans so much.

Lastly – and perhaps the most compelling – who the fuck with children has so much time on their hands to do this kind of shit? No seriously. Like… seriously, seriously. I barely have the time to take a shower, let alone figure out ways to make that sneaky elf get into trouble again. From the moment I get up in the morning, until the minute I pass out in a pile of messy hair, unkempt pajamas that I’ve been wearing all day, and my husband’s slobber, I’m taking care of people. I’m cooking. I’m cleaning. I’m taking periodic breaks to dick around on Pinterest or the blog – but you’d better believe I’m doing something else like cooking dinner or vacuuming at the same, exact time. Or answering homeschooling questions. Or wrapping Christmas presents.

Laundry! Don’t forget the laundry.

What I’m saying here is that there is little time for relaxation. And after kiddie bedtime, I have to … wait for it … fold the laundry and pick up the shit that didn’t get picked up during the day. And do the dishes, because I was so busy helping with math or running around from extra curricular to extra curricular.

Why can’t I be a parent with a lot of time on my hands? A parent that has the time to whip up a batch of cookie dough and then carefully and strategically make a planned mess for the elf on the shelf to be blamed for. Just to clean it up in the morning and come up with another plan for the next night. Every night in the month of December. Or to come up with ideas for my kids’ action dinosaurs or Barbie dolls to get into trouble over. Why can’t I have the time to wrap dolls in toilet paper and smash dinosaurs into a dozen eggs? And then the time to clean it all up the next day?

It sounds a little ridiculous when you put it like that, doesn’t it? Maybe that’s why I don’t have the time, or the money, or the interest really, to be one of these over-the-top parents that just can’t let go and be mediocre like the rest of us.

But is it really mediocrity? Or is it just common sense?