3 Reasons why the elf will not be on our shelf this year...or ever

Recently our family was over at another family's house having dinner; since it is the Christmas season, I took in the beautiful sights of all their festive decorations and felt the cliche warm and fuzzy feeling...until I spotted the damn Elf on the Shelf. I waited anxiously, praying my kids would see the elf and think of it as another Christmas decoration--a cousin to the creepy nutcracker statues. My hopes were dashed within thirty seconds when their adorable three-year-old proudly shouted "Look at Bernard!" pointing to the elf on the piano.

"Who's Bernard?" my son asked staring at the doll, perplexed at the tree-year-old's excitement.

Our friend's oldest daughter, a wise seven-year-old, explained the concept: Bernard watched to make sure they were good until Christmas. He changed spots each day, and if you touch him, you lose three presents. My kids' confusion turned to sudden admiration for the damn doll.

"Mom, why don't we have a Bernard?" my daughter asked.

"That's a good question. Where's the playroom?" I replied--diverting my kids' attention. But here's the reasons I wanted to give them:

1. Your dad and I are simply too lazy. When you guys go to bed at night, we savor the freedom. We do really important things like eat cereal, watch TV, and go to sleep. The last thing we want to do is figure out a cute way to pose a doll. I guess that makes us selfish, too...

2. If we were in charge of Elf on the Shelf, you'd be frightened at our cynical sense of humor. We'd take our notes from the #elfontheshelffails and ruin Christmas for you. We're really looking out for your best interest by not participating in the elf hype. You're welcome.

3. Do you really want another thing to monitor your behavior?! C'mon...don't be stupid...

At first, I felt guilty that we hadn't shared this piece of cultural tradition with our kids. But the guilt wore off when a fellow mom shared with me how stressful it was to think of something new for her elf to do each day. There's enough stress that accompanies the holiday season without the damn elf: picking out and wrapping presents, hiding the wrapping paper that only Santa uses, standing in massive lines of crying children so my kids can sit on a random stranger's Santa's lap for five minutes, Christmas programs, baking cookies with my kids (seriously, the stress of this almost pushes me over the proverbial ledge), extra trips in the car to see family, etc. etc. I just don't feel guilty anymore for not participating in the Elf on the Shelf excitement.

I admire the parents who post pictures on Facebook of their elf having another fun shenanigan. I think it takes creativity and perseverance to do this every day for the entire month of December, but it's just not for us. So, we'll continue finding little ways to make the holidays fun for our kids: like attending our community's free showing of A Christmas Carol, decorating my daughter's hair with red and green beads, enjoying Christmas-themed movies by the light of our Christmas tree, or fishing out millions of egg-shells from our cookie dough as I bake with them.

No comments: