Here & there: Ditch the Elf on the Shelf!

"Elf on the Shelf" product, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Michel Curi via CC BY 2.0, St. George News

FEATURE — It’s almost Christmas. Weeks of anticipation drawing in like the lid of a jar bottled at sea level.

Trees are up and wreathes out. Letters peppered with adorable misspellings and lofty wishes have been sent off to the North Pole. Stockings are hung by the chimney with care.

And children, believers and nonbelievers alike, have been on their best behavior since October, Santa both the ultimate promise and the ultimate threat.

Oh, what a magical time of year!

Except for all the stress. All the crowds. All the expectations. And all the money flowing out of your bank account.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no bah-humbugger. I love Christmas. I love the lights. I love the cards. I love the matching pajamas. I love the Hallelujah Chorus. I love Santa. I love it all.

Except for that one, stupid elf. No, not THE elf of Christmas (see above; I love Santa). Not even Buddy the Elf, who Will Farrell makes equal parts annoying and endearing. (Because who doesn’t love a diet of candy, candy canes, candy corn and syrup!). But that other elf: Elf on the Shelf.

You know who I’m talking about. The white-mittened spy your children expect in your home every Dec. 1. That cone-headed, blue-eyed tyrant who is supposed to move around and report your children’s activities back to Santa.

Yes, he looks innocent enough with those impish eyes and delicate little lashes, coyly glancing off-screen and alluding to his North Pole origins. But he’s not. I know it. And you know it.

Let’s admit the truth to ourselves and to each other out loud right now: Elf on the Shelf is a big, fat jerk. And a total fraud.

Who concocted this yahoo anyway – the masterminds of Pinterest? Because Pinterest, or an expensive kit purchased off the interwebs, is what you need to make the whole Elf on the Shelf exercise a success.

Sure, it starts out fun when you first buy your Elf on the Shelf. It’s like a modern-day advent calendar, you tell yourself. It will help add to the anticipation and magic of Christmas.

But then the reality sets in. And it doesn’t do any of that.

You soon realize the only thing this Elf does is require more of you. In the busiest time of the year. After a full day of work, fixing dinner, helping with homework, correcting book reports, running carpool, cleaning up dinner, moving the wet laundry to the dryer and reading bedtime stories, you’ve got to remember to move that darn elf somewhere new. Every single night.

And you must wait to do it until after your children fall asleep. Assuming you don’t fall asleep first. And if you do, you must then explain to your children the next day why Elf is in the same spot he was yesterday.

Enter elaborate lie to prop up underlying ruse.

Haven’t we learned our lesson with the Tooth Fairy? It’s hard enough to remember slipping a coin or a bill under your sleeping child’s pillow a couple times a year. I’m already enlisting Siri’s help on that front, “Siri, set reminder for 11 p.m. tonight to steal baby tooth from X.” And I still blow it 50 percent of the time.

On top of that, it’s possible that simply moving the Elf won’t even be enough. You may get peer-pressured into your Elf doing antics like tipping chairs and throwing cushions. Or, even worse, getting all creative like writing notes and leaving gifts from the Elf.

Like that guy should get any credit for anything!

Plus, Elf may even end up backfiring on you and cause an existential Christmas crisis in your house. One of my son’s friends confided in me that his Elf was so erratic it made him start wondering about all the other Christmas traditions his parents were selling, including Santa.

So, fellow parents, with Christmas just days away and with plenty of frenzy and stress ahead, I’m giving you a real gift: you have permission to ditch Elf on the Shelf. Put him on the curb with your tree. This is not a tradition you need to carry on.

Ditch the Elf and give yourself back some sanity – and some time. In the end, you may find Christmas is just a little more magical without that dumb Elf, anyway.

Email: katdayton@gmail.com | news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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6 Comments

  • Shorm December 23, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    If you like doing elf on the shelf then do it.

    If you don’t like doing elf on the shelf then don’t do it.

    There… Problem solved.

    P.s. if you’re falling asleep before your Santa-believing aged kids, then you’re doing it wrong.

  • Heather December 23, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    You are entitled to your opinion. Who are you to tell people what to do? My 9 year old daughter looks forward to her elves visiting every year. It is a tradition and we won’t change it. It is so much fun to see the excitement in her as she searches for her elves to see what crazy, silly things they might do. I hope she believes for a little while longer because I won’t take her Christmas Spirit away from her or her childhood innocence. Even as she grows up I will still put her elves out because it is a tradition I intend to keep. Just because you don’t like the Elf on the Shelf doesn’t mean everyone has to dislike it. So stop preaching and don’t use and Elf on the Shelf if you don’t want to.

  • Comment December 23, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    Well, I think it’s a lot of fun to give little kids crazy things to believe in. They grow out of that so quickly, so have fun with it while you can.

    • Heather December 23, 2018 at 8:28 pm

      I agree. Let kids be kids and enjoy the Magic of Christmas.

  • Happy Day December 24, 2018 at 6:01 am

    Has anyone else noticed how the general public is personally uptight and self-centered? Relax and accept that others have opinions and sometimes they are laced with humor.

  • Jeremiah December 24, 2018 at 9:19 am

    How is this a fraud but other holiday things are not? We all get to choose what we do for holiday traditions. When it comes to time we all can decide how to spend our own time. But it sounds like this time of year is not the only time of year this writer will have no time. Enjoy the time your children are young.

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