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.

Advertisements

Four Holiday Mantras

Well, faithful blog followers, it looks like it’s going to be a long holiday season.  Hunker down – just yesterday I saw some idiot had put up and already lit his Christmas lights, including a large Santa face on his roof.  Everywhere you go, you are already inundated with holiday ads, holiday music, holiday sales – so get in the spirit because they are coming whether you like it or not.

If you are like me, your response to “whether you like it…” is in the not.  For me, the holidays have always been a matter of feeling forced to spend time with people I would otherwise never associate with, buy gifts for those that as a general rule tend to act relatively ungrateful or who don’t need anything, and just all-in-all turn in to two months of exhaustion and feeling overwhelmed.  It was only until recently, though, that I realized there is no reason any of us should deal with some of the drama that comes along with the holidays – for the majority of us, it is not only unhealthy but unnecessary.  So I’ve created these four holiday mantras for us all to say to ourselves every morning as we go in to the busiest time of the year.

I will not pretend that things are perfect for the sake of holiday unity.

Nothing is more obnoxious than a group of people that gets together and acts like a perfect group, when they all spend the other months of the year talking shit and treating each other like the absolute scum of the earth.  I imagine it to be like a perfectly constructed ice sculpture – every edge is delicately carved so that the fine sculpture of snow and ice does not fall apart.  But underneath, it’s nothing but dirty ice that is going to melt and become a pile of dirty sludge the moment things start to heat up.  For our first mantra, let’s vow to take a chainsaw to any group events this holiday season – and chop that perfectly structured sculpture to pieces.  Note:  this doesn’t mean to cause drama when everyone just wants to have a nice holiday.  It just means be honest to who you are and how you feel.

I refuse to participate in family gossip.

If your families or in-laws are anything like both of mine, there is such uninhibited levels of gossip going on during normal times of the year that the holidays only makes it worse.  As a general rule, we should all vow not to participate in family gossip all the time; however, it is all the more important during the holidays for the sake of minimizing stress and avoiding unnecessary holiday drama.  There are a lot of things that shouldn’t be discussed with family – from finances to living situations, to marital problems, even to problems conceiving.  The thing about families today, though, is that they have become enmeshed family systems that are so over-involved in each other’s lives that they often do not even believe that what they are doing is gossiping.  Especially during the holidays, talk about something intelligent – books, films, art; stay off the gossip.

I will stop comparing myself and my life to the lives of others.

There is a current phenomena going on called Facebook Depression.  It states that many people spend a lot of their time on Facebook and other social network sites comparing their lives to others, and successively getting more and more depressed.  One of my friends recently told me that this is exactly what she does at holiday parties:  watches other people in the perfect lives, all-the-while she is getting more and more depressed because her ass is just a little bigger than someone else’s, or because her job is not as exciting as the next guy’s.  Just after the holiday season, statistical rises in depression and suicide have been reported for decades in the United States – quite obviously for this comparative mode of thinking, as well as general loneliness.  Don’t depress yourself by spending the entire holiday season comparing your miserable life to that of everyone else.  Remember:  what is on the surface is very often not what is inside.  Life sucks.  Life sucks a big, fat snow dick.  Take your chainsaw to the comparisons as well.

For the entire holiday season, I will reserve judgment on the homeless and look at them as people in need, rather than as worthless, alcoholic bums.

The funny thing about people that judge:  they often do it as a way to make themselves feel better about their own insecurities.  This actually applies to all of our mantras, but is particularly important in this final one.  From now until the end of the holiday season, force yourself to reserve all judgment when encountering homeless people in your community.  Rather than assuming they are irresponsible, lazy, alcoholic, or crazy, consider the horrible economy and the hardships people have had to face in recent years.  Have a little charity and at least try and remember that you could one day find yourself in a similar position.

Ultimately, faithful blog followers, the holidays are a miserable time in which many of us dread doing things we don’t want to do.  Set some boundaries, do what you want rather than what you feel obligated to, and remember that life is way too short to deal with some of the crap that always seems to come up every year.