If you ask moms about the Elf on the Shelf, there are three camps. First are the uber-creative moms who can do amazing, magical Elf things every night in December. Then there are the moms who think the Elf idea is cute but by December 17th, they’ve forgotten about it and it sits on the same shelf for four days running until the kids complain. Then there are the Elf Haters.
I am an Elf Hater. I am an Elf Hater because I am also a hater of the part of the Santa mythology that has him classifying some kids as naughty and leaving them coal in the their stockings instead of gifts. It goes against every parenting instinct I have to try and manipulate my kids by threatening to withhold any part of a Christmas celebration. We’re all doing Christmas full-on no matter who commits what transgressions. And I’m not letting some mass-marketed Elf suggest otherwise.
I know, I know, I know the Elf doesn’t have to be Santa’s little snitch and there are a million ways to make it cute and fun for the whole family but whatever. My house, my rules. No Honey Boo Boo, no Sponge Bob, no Elf.
Which is why you could probably hear my eyes rolling when I read the post on People I Want To Punch In The Throat about the new Birthday Elf Tradition (available for the low, low price of $19.95 at Barnes and Noble. Elf not included.) Jen of PIWTPITT is also an Elf Hater but for slightly different reasons:
It was bad enough when the overachieving mommies were turning their elves into mess-makers, but this one is just too much. There is no reason why my child needs one of Santa’s elves at her birthday party. Isn’t a pony enough?
Stop it. Just stop it. That stupid elf cannot come to a birthday party. He is not welcome. This is getting ridiculous. I have not read the book, but I cannot imagine that there would be any reason why he needs to be at a child’s birthday party. He needs to stay in the North Pole until it’s his season. He has work to do! He needs to make toys and whatnot.
And it’s not just that the little bastard is showing up where he doesn’t belong, but I feel like this is just another way that seasonal companies are looking for a way to stick around all year long.
We are letting retailers creep Christmas into our lives earlier and earlier. Did anyone else notice people wishing one another “Happy Half Christmas” on June 25? My Pinterest was exploding that day with ah-dor-able Christmas ideas. I’m sure that Hobby Lobby will start stocking festive holiday ribbon any day now if they haven’t already done so.
I can’t wait to see the overachieving Elf on the Shelf birthday parties now. Will he arrive in a hot air balloon? Is he messy too or does he bring elaborate over the top gifts?
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Holidays need to be confined to their proper season! Halloween? Don’t want to see it until October 1. Thanksgiving? May show up in mid-November. Christmas? December 1 and not a moment before. I don’t want to dredge out any holiday paraphanalia for my kids birthdays. In fact, I make a special point of putting holiday stuff away a week before my son’s early January birthday so he can feel special and not like a Yuletide afterthought.
And how do you make a cupcake-wearing Elf fit in at a Transformers themed birthday party anyway? Because that’s what my son is into. Not poncy elves with permanent tip-toes.
If I had to concede to any positives about turning the Elf into a multi-celebratory critter, I guess I could see an economy of scale argument. It’s worth having an Elf if it’s part of every big day not just one. You could bring out the Elf for Easter, graduations, retirement parties, you name it. As PIWTPITT suggests, the Elf could even get into the pre-birth action:
1. Gender Reveal Elf – Santa sends down a pink or a blue elf to let your family and friends know what you’re expecting.
On the other hand, better to stop the madness and keep the Elf shelved until Christmas, don’t you think?
Photo credit: Gregg Deal