One mom is making waves on Facebook this week after gloriously announcing that her Elf on the Shelf, George, has retired. And let me tell you, she is my kind of people.
Several years ago, when my own two children asked why we didn’t have an Elf on the Shelf, I panicked. I mean, what was I supposed to say? Was it appropriate to tell them the truth — that I was too lazy to commit to one more holiday-related responsibility? That seemed a bit harsh, so instead I told them that Santa had decided that our house didn’t need an elf, because he knew that I was keeping a close enough eye on their behavior. In other words, Santa knew that I didn’t need any backup.
Unfortunately, that sounded a little bit better in my head than it did coming back out of my children’s mouths, and once my kids told all their friends that we didn’t have an elf because their mommy was better at watching them than any of the other mommies, I had about 50 percent less friends.
Which I suspect is what Christy and Roy Heins wanted to avoid when George retired from keeping an eye on their daughters, 6-year-old Amelia, 3-year-old Evelyn, and 1-year-old Lauren.
“It was important to us that we didn’t ruin the magic for our kids, and we especially didn’t want to ruin it for other families that really enjoy the elf,” Heins explains to Babble. “But we knew that if we wanted the Christmas season to be about joy and peace, then we needed to get the elf ordeal off of our plates.”
With that, Christy decided that she had no other option than to “retire” George.
In a December 3 Facebook post, Christy shared George’s retirement photo, along with a letter of explanation she penned — ahem — I mean, Santa penned.
“Greetings from the North Pole” it begins. “I am very busy preparing for Christmas, but I did want to take the time to write you an important letter about your scout elf, George Elf.”
Filled with festive phrases such as, “I think you will be pleased as peppermint,” the letter explains that just like people, each elf is different, and what George would like more than anything, is to be played with like a real toy.
It reads, in full:
Completely nailing her desire to not ruin the holiday magic for her children, Christy’s letter goes on to explain that Santa was simply making George’s Christmas wish come true: to be played with like a toy and then returned to his family at the North Pole.
Then, because Christy pulled this off with much more grace than I could have, she finishes it off with Santa’s reminder to her children: that he will continue to be watching how they treat other people so that he can decide if they are on the naughty or nice list. (Because hey, that’s what Christmas is all about, right?)
“I never wanted to do the elf thing,” the mother-of-three admits. “Christmas is already so much responsibility, and keeping up the charade can definitely take some work, so the last thing that I wanted to do was to be cleaning up after a naughty elf!”
But when her daughter’s godmother (who is also Christy’s very best friend) gifted one of her children with an Elf on the Shelf several years back, Christy decided to give elf-ing a try.
“I don’t think I was doing it right,” Christy chuckles in an interview with Babble. “I always forgot to use him to my advantage and at night when I’d finally climb into bed, I’d find myself grumbling as I climbed back out, because I’d forgotten to move him! It got to the point where I was actually a little bit worried that I would ruin the magic of Christmas, because I was always forgetting about George the Elf.”
I know that feeling all too well, as do most elf-owning parents I know.
“I have to be clear that I have nothing but respect for the families that can pull off the elf,” says Christy, “but after three years, my husband Roy and I were in agreement that the elf just wasn’t for us, and George needed to retire.”
So maybe elves really weren’t her thing, but retiring them sure seems to be! And now thanks to Christy, the rest of the mothers who are struggling to keep up with their elf also have a creative way out of the gig.
And if you ask me, that’s exactly what I call sharing the holiday joy.