Ah, the Elf on the Shelf. If you are perchance unfamiliar with this Christmas tradition (I didn’t know anything about it till Christmastime last year), an elf doll is placed throughout the home doing precocious things whilst spying on the children’s behavior to report back to Santa. Well, I don’t like him. I don’t like him at all. Here’s why.
- He’s ugly. I mean, he’s just ugly. He’s got an unnatural facial expression, he’s out of proportion, dangly, has overly pudgy cheeks, scarily buggy eyes, his feet have been lopped off at the ankle, and, well, he’s just gross to look at, okay? Oh and he totally doesn’t even have pointy ears!
- He’s creepy. I’d whip out a shotgun or a kitchen knife or something if I was a kid and saw this thing somewhere in my house. It’s up there with the Shutterbug on Special Agent Oso. That’s breaking and entering, man, and that’s not cool! I’d kill it! I don’t know if this would be my children’s reaction to it, but it sure would have been mine as a kid.
- He’s expensive. This thing costs like $30! I could DIY one with an empty toilet paper roll, a couple sheets of construction paper, a few markers, some felt, and glue for $2. And he’d have feet. And non-creepy eyes. AND POINTY EARS. $30–I don’t think so!
- Elves should be cool. One of my all-time favorite books is Lord of the Rings. Ah, Legolas (in the book, not the movie)! Elves should be tall, agile, wise, and kick-butt awesome at archery. Not pint-sized, creepy, and snoopy.
- He reinforces Santa. Some of you might remember my post from last year about why I won’t teach my kiddos to believe in Santa (I’m teaching them about Santa, just not to believe in the modern version of him). So I dislike the elf because I don’t want to reinforce Santa and I don’t want to lie to my children. Even if it does help in some small way to eliminate the omni-presence of Santa.
- He misdirects wonderment. Just like Santa, the Elf on the Shelf misdirects the wonderment of Christmas. Christmas should be a time to be in awe about how Jesus came down to earth, lived a sinless life, died to save us from our sins, rose from the dead, and is coming back some day. God and Jesus are really, really cool! Way more awesome than Santa or the Elf on the Shelf.
- He’s high maintenance. From the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas. Every day, he must be moved and staged. While you’re in the midst of all the other hustle and bustle of Christmas (you know, cards, shopping, decorating, planning parties, cooking or baking for parties, baking in general, visiting people, etc.). Not doing the elf is just one less thing to stress about around Christmastime (not to say it’s necessarily a burden to everyone, of course).
What I DO like about the Elf on the Shelf is the creativity and the fun behind it. If I did the Elf on the Shelf thing, I’d probably be one of those annoying parents that did really neat things with him and make all the lazy or uncreative parents jealous. But I just don’t stand for what’s behind the idea.
Now, what I may do one day is get some kind of toy, stage it somewhere in the house doing something silly (not necessarily at Christmastime), and let my kids discover it. But I’d make sure they knew it was me doing it, not that the toy magically came to life. I’d make it a game. I’d let them stage the toy, too, so that my hubby and/or I could find it. This would be just as fun, maybe even more creative (because they’d be in on it, too), completely honest, and have no ulterior motives behind it.
Another idea I really like and would love to do when my kiddos are a little older is this one, where the elves (hers are actually cute, not creepy, and they have feet) suggest doing acts of kindness and encourage giving for nothing in return.
Now, let me proceed to say that once again, I am not a Nazi. If you or someone you know does the Elf on the Shelf thing, awesome. I’ll enjoy hearing about the creative ways you’ve staged him (in fact, I’d love to hear it, that part is really fun to me!). And I will always respect the decisions that other parents make for their children (even the Elf on the Shelf or Santa).