It’s that time again, the time when the cleverest, craftiest moms and dads dust off their favorite Elf on the Shelf Pinterest boards and create magic for their Facebook friends — I mean, their kids! Of course, their kids.
Honestly, it’s adorable and I know the kids love those elves. In fact, this year, my 8-year-old flat-out ASKED me why we don’t have Elf on the Shelf at our house. I don’t remember what my response was, but here’s the real deal: the reason we don’t do Elf on the Shelf is not that I am a Christmas Scrooge or that I don’t love my kid enough or because the elf got lost on his way to our house (which is actually a decent excuse, I should remember that for next time the kid asks). The reason is 100 percent because I’m just plain lazy.
Non-elfing moms and dads, I implore you — think about it: once you commit to doing Elf on the Shelf, you are IN. You are IN for YEARS and YEARS of coming up with new ways to delight your kids every morning for a MONTH leading up to Christmas. I mean, for me? One semi-Xanaxish night of wrapping gifts in full Ninja Santa mode, just waiting to be caught in the act of wrapping and taking a bite out of the cookies we left for Santa to make it somewhat realistic and leaving a note (Ho Ho Ho, your cookies are delicious but Santa is on Atkins this year, Ho Ho Ho) is enough. You want me tiptoeing around the kid’s bathroom, sprinkling cheddar Goldfish into the toilet while perching a doll atop the tank and affixing a miniature candy cane “fishing pole” to his hands? And then coming up with a new idea for the next night, and the next, and the next, and then again next year? I can’t. No.
But I can’t escape the elves on the shelves. I see you, Facebook friends, I see all of you. And I admire you! You are seriously amazing and I can tell it’s fun for you and I can practically HEAR your kids giggling every morning. I got nothin’ BUT love for you. But I’m not joining you. And that’s OK.
Here’s the other thing, and maybe this is unique to me and my degree of neurosis, but pull up a chair here: sure, it would be easy enough to use other people’s clever ideas. A quick Google search leaves me a thousand percent overwhelmed. But where’s the fun in that? I’d feel like a sham every time I bent that elf’s arm around a Barbie doll and posed the pair of them in front of the TV screen atop a model car Mustang for their big drive-in movie date night. My kid might think it’s hilarious, but I’d know the truth. Mommy isn’t that clever after all, mommy just went on Pinterest and stole. Merry Christmas!
Also, I feel like every year the elf pressure gets more intense. More of my friends jump onto the elf bandwagon and I am left feeling like a total jerkface because I refuse to start a tradition I have no intention of continuing. OK. Fine. Maybe I’m lame. But think about THIS: what happens when some NEW weird tradition comes along that we all feel pressured to do? What if the Thanksgiving Turkey on the Shelf becomes a thing and we find ourselves up at night posing a felt-stuffed piece of poultry making a run for it out the back door? What about THAT? Are you gonna do THAT, too, for a month, because I’m definitely not. I’m putting my foot down. I’ll take my kid to see a musical, I’ll take him on a freaking Santa train but I am drawing the line at the Elf and the Turkey That Isn’t Even a Thing Yet But Probably Will Become One and Wow Maybe That’s My Shark Tank Idea, I’m Totally Making That.
Fellow non-elf moms and dads, let us unite in solidarity. Let us look upon the cleverly posed elves in our newsfeeds without judgment and choruses of “ugh.” Let us lift up our hard-working elfing friends and family while cozily sitting on our butts doing all of our Christmas shopping on Amazon. Let us raise a glass to each other in our glorious laziness. We need each other. I am here for you.