Shelf the Elf on a Shelf

I have to look at this creeper for the next 25 days.


(Yes, the elf took that elfie with my iPhone.)

I was planning to shelf the Elf on a Shelf concept. I never bought one because I didn’t want to get sucked down that rabbit hole that friends had warned me about.

But I had forgotten that last year for Christmas, in the midst of opening all of the over the top holiday hoopla, someone gave my daughter the Elf on the Shelf book and creepy elf set.

A few days ago I pulled out all the boxes of Christmas decorations and left them out until we get our tree. I was in another room when I heard my daughter’s chilling scream. She ran to find me. Through tear-filled eyes she informed me that her younger brother “almost touched the elf and it would have lost all it’s powers, FOREVER!”

I was at a loss for words. For one I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about, and then when I did, I couldn’t remember what the rules were for the elf. Clearly rule #1 is Do Not Touch Elf.

That night she went to bed and I put the elf on a shelf in the living room, and didn’t think any more about it. The next day she got up and was excited and talked about the elf. The morning after that she got up and was so upset, grumbling about the elf. I asked what was wrong and she said, “The elf didn’t move! It’s in the same place as yesterday. I think it lost it’s powers.”

Total Mom foul.

“What?” I made her repeat herself while I tried to quickly formulate a strategy. I went with, “Oh. Last night was only the second night out of the box, silly. The elf has been in the box for almost a year! I’m sure the elf is just really tired. The first days they don’t do much. Look at the elf, it hasn’t even yet had a chance to pee.”

Elf wide shot

This seemed plausible. I mean, clearly the elf has been cooped up in the box holding it’s pee for a while.

It’s called “Elf on a Shelf” can’t “the elf” just sit on the shelf? Now every night after the kids go to bed, as if I don’t have enough to do, I have to hide a miniature elf. And I have to hide it up high, so that my 3 year-old doesn’t touch it and dissolve all of it’s magical powers. Everywhere I try to put the elf, in any position, it still looks like it has to pee.

I also found out that the elf is supposed to be mischievous and make messes and play pranks. Whhhatt? Now I also have an elf to clean up after? I want an OCD elf. I want an elf that likes to tidy up rooms, not mess them up.

My daughter had a friend over and I cringed as I heard her friend tell her, “You can get a boy elf or a girl elf…” then her friend looks over at our androgynous elf and continues, “Which one is yours?”

As expected, my daughter stopped listening after she heard the words ‘girl elf’ immediately turns to me and starts begging for the girl elf. Naturally this is the moment that decide to sit down and explain to two 6 year-olds that the elf we have is the original sexually-ambigous elf because it has to watch over a boy AND a girl. That seemed to make sense to them. And I’m glad because I’m not hiding TWO elves every night.

I googled it and her friend was right, but not only can  you get a boy elf and girl elf, you can get the Boy Scout elf, the dark skinned elf, the light skinned elf, the blue eyed elf, the brown eyed elf, the girl elf in pink to look more girly, the elf in a sweater because you didn’t pay your electric bill, etc.

I hope my daughter’s friend doesn’t spill the beans that there is also “Claus Couture” clothes for the elves and pets to go with the elves, and clothes to go on the pets! I don’t want to have to explain that our elf is also a nudist elf, with a deeply rooted fear of animals after an unfortunate reindeer mishap.

At some point it has to end. I am not spending every night changing two sets of elf clothes and then 2 sets of pet’s clothes, then hiding the elves and their pets, that’s insane. And knowing my luck, I’d end up with the Boy Scout elf and be up late every night ironing on miniature merit badges.

Why did Christmas have to get so complicated? Can authors go back to just writing books, and not creating brands? Isn’t it enough to be fielding questions about reindeer’s digestive tracks and Santa’s travel schedule? The holiday ruse doesn’t have to get more elaborate every year.

Luckily my daughter understands the story of the original Christmas. The other night we were driving home after dark and she was looking out the window at all the Christmas lights. In her sweet little angelic voice says, “Mama, I know the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas is about God and Jesus, and all those other characters.”

I guess to my child, Mary, Joseph, and the three wise men get lumped into the same category as story characters like Doc McStuffins and Wonder Woman. Somehow I think that is a compliment.


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