“This place reminds me of Santa’s workshop except it smells like mushrooms and everyone looks like they want to hurt me.” –Buddy the Elf, while in the mailroom
If you have children, your home is Santa’s workshop. The business of making holiday magic is an around-the-clock job right now. Some parents can feel as though they’re going to crack under the pressure of making everything so damn magical. Who can remember all the things we have to do to make it all so memorable? And as if getting the Ungettable Gift and cooking up the most delicious meals and making your living areas look like a Winter Wonderland wasn’t enough, there are all these other PEOPLE doing all this other STUFF and telling YOUR kid about it.
Some of the stuff the other people are doing revolves around the Elf on the Shelf. As if Santa and the reindeer and all that wasn’t enough, we have to add in yet another magical, mythical creature with a backstory and the need for ongoing parental duties. Am I the only person that feels kind of bad about all the b.s. I’m shoveling towards my kids in the name of giving them a magical childhood? The clock is ticking on how long I have to keep the magic alive, which is sad to me, but I also think a part of me will feel a little relieved once the jig is up. It’s been several years of feeling like I stole something, and I can’t even enjoy what I stole because I know I’m going to have to turn myself in and give it back eventually. I don’t know. Maybe that’s just me and I should sit back and enjoy tricking my kids and not worry about how they’ll feel about being lied to for their entire lives. I mean, they got a lot of really good presents out of the deal. We should surely be able to call it even, right?
Anyway, back to the Elf. I’ve got one. You’ve got one. We all know somebody who has more than one. He’s everywhere! He’s everywhere!
Being the very deep thinker and the highly observant person I am, I’ve summarized the most commonly found Elf Parents I’ve encountered. Let’s see if you see yourself here.
The Tiger Elf Parent
The Tiger Elf Parent has this whole Elf on a Shelf thing on lockdown. The Elf is rarely actually on a shelf, unless it is staged to look like it’s rappelling down said shelf to get to a stash of mini marshmallows artfully sprinkled in glitter. This parent has a spreadsheet of all the different scenes the elf will enact and has gauged the lighting in all areas of the house so as to get the best photo to post on social media. There may be video footage every few days, just to keep things interesting. Unless you’re up to the challenge to Tiger Parent your own Elf, don’t show these pictures to your children, because they’ll wonder why their own Elf isn’t so adventurous. At least then if the Tiger Parent’s kid tells your kid about how silly Eduardo the Elf landed his hot air balloon into a bucket of cotton balls, you can always just respond with, “Eh, he’s probably lying.” Your word against his, really.
This elf mischief makes me especially nutty. Who do you think has to clean up this crap? And the elf can’t be touched? Because he has to go back to Santa? So I have to look at it all day? *eye starts twitching*
Santa Says: Keep up the good work. We are quite entertained. Oh, and I’m sorry for the things I said when I was watching your Instagram videos and feeling inadequate about my own lazy Elf.
The WTF Elf Parent
The WTF Elf Parent is way too cool to get bogged down in this foolishness. He/she says things like, “And what is this ELF that everyone is doing? I DO NOT have time for that. Who has time for that? I mean, it’s so stupid. Did you see that video that Tami posted the other day? The ELF swinging from a chandelier?!? WTF is that? Who has time for that? I do NOT have time for that.”
Santa says: We get it. You don’t have time for it. Google it. It gets 10,000,000 hits, so don’t be acting like you’re too cool for the Elf. We’re all in this together: NO ONE IS COOL ANYMORE.
The Mob Boss Parent
This parent uses the Elf to scare the crap out of their kids into behaving. It wasn’t enough to start back in October with the “Santa Claus is watching yoooouuuuuu…” comments every time your kid thought about stepping out of line. Oh no, now we have concrete evidence that a freakin’ report is being made to Santa. Every. Single. Night.
“You thinkin’ of havin’ an extra cookie when I KNOW you didn’t finish your peas?
I wooden do dat if I was you.”
Santa Says: You might need to think about acquiring some different parenting skills. All the magical creatures have an expiration date and your kid is GOING TO BE PISSED when he finds out you’ve been jerking his chain all this time.
The “Oh Sh*t” Parent
This parent consistently fails to move the Elf, and may have even forgotten to put it out in the first place. I talked to a parent once who didn’t even realize that the Elf had to be moved EVER. She had just seen the Elf in the store, thought it was cute and gave the whole kit and caboodle to her kid to play with. It was not until they had a playdate with another child that they found out they weren’t supposed to even touch the Elf. All the kids were horrified that they had robbed the Elf of its magic.* But they were also very excited to finally be able to touch one of the darn things.
(*quick research on the internet reveals that an Elf’s magic can be restored by exposing it to cold temperatures, either outside or in the freezer. “Oh Sh*t” parents need to be really careful about this because you might accidentally leave the Elf outside too long and a stray animal will carry it off to threaten its own young.)
Santa Says: You are NOT a Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins. You are a human. In approximately 30 years, your kids will look back and think, “OH, THIS is what she was doing. How did she do it? And why was I such an ass about the damn ELF?” Just hold on, “Oh Sh*t” Parent. Your just reward arrives in 30 years.
As for me, I’m a combination of all these parenting types. If I ever do get the Elf in a clever setting, I want to share that online to get a social media back pat. And I’ve had moments that I wanted to stuff the thing back in its box and act like we are above the hype. Almost every night I have the “Oh Sh*t” moment and this is when an early-t0-rise husband really comes in handy.
Our elf is named Lelf and he has currently just been rotating between the family’s stockings. This came about because he started in one, and was left there for approximately 4 days. My older daughter made the comment, “I guess Lelf just likes it in that stocking. I mean, he can see us really well, and it’s warm there.” What a fantastic observation, daughter of mine! Let’s roll with it.
I will say that looking at all these pictures of elves has inspired a little. I’m considering relocating Lelf to the stove, thereby absolving me of cooking duties for at least the next 24 hours. Make the Elf work for YOU, friends!