Last year, I got caught up in the hype and got the family an elf on the shelf. I thought it would be a nice tradition for our family. We had an elf when I was a kid. His name was Sammy and he showed up every December to perch on our tree until Christmas. I don’t really remember if he had a purpose or a story behind him, but he was a part of my Christmas and I thought it might be nice if my kids had some warm, fuzzy feelings about Christmas in our house.
So off I went to the store, plunked down my $30 and left the store with my very own Elf on a Shelf. I must say, the kids were very excited to get him and that night we sat down to read his story. The book was cute, explaining the rules of having your own elf – you must name him to get his magic, you can’t touch him or he will lose his magic, and every night, he flies back to the North Pole to report to Santa how the kids behaved that day. When he returns, he hides in a new place so the kids have to find him each morning. Pretty simple stuff. Figured I could handle that.
We named our elf Fred and we placed him in our Christmas tree to give him the best vantage point for spotting nice (more often naughty) behavior. Now, I consider myself a fairly creative person, but some of the things I’m seeing that people do with their elf is just crazy. I’m lucky if I remember to move the flipping thing every night! I was good the first few nights, but then I started forgetting. My kids flipped the first time the elf didn’t change places and I had to lie, saying he must really love that spot so he chose it twice. (They bought it). I started having stress dreams about the damn elf. I would wake up in a cold sweat at 3:30am, realizing I forgot to move Fred. Running around the house in the pitch dark trying to find a spot for the f@&%ing elf is quite humiliating. I went so far as setting an alarm on my cell phone to remind me to move the elf. Still forgot half the time.
And the fluff they tell you about the elf helping your young’uns behave nicely during the holidays? Snowman poop! The elf just gave my kids one more thing to fight over. Imagine getting up everyday at the crack of dawn to one of your kids bawling because the other one found Fred first. Even rotating turns didn’t help. Fred as a behavior modification tool was a complete failure in our house. All in all, the elf was a compete pain in the ass for me, but the kids loved him and I must say it was cute when I caught the kids talking to him about something they wanted or apologizing for a naughty mishap.
So Fred made an appearance again this year and I continue to move the thing every night (so far). I’ve even added a little creativity to the presentation of Fred. Ok, I’m a sucker.
Last night, as I tucked the boy into bed, he looked over a me, all snuggled up in his comforter and said, “umm, Mom? You know Fwed, the elf on a shelf guy?” I said, “yeah, buddy. What about him?” “He always looking at me. Just looking and looking and looking……he kind of fweaky.” he said. “Oh, really? Would you like Fred to go away?” I said. “No,” he said, “but he just keep staring like this and he weally fweaking me out.”
Here, kid, have a Valium. it’s over in 24 days.