Confession: There is no Elf on my shelf. Just: dust. Well, dust with a garland of cat hair. The pics are not worth “pinning.” I’m okay with that. Don’t panic if your shelf is adorned by an elf. I’m not judging. (Unless, you buy it outfits and dress it like one of those creepy concrete geese from the ’80′s. Then: I rightfully, judge. ) I don’t have a moral aversion to Elves, or their participation in the Christmas season. I believe in equal opportunities for decor of all persuasions. Even elves. On your shelves. Your house- your rules. As far a Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas goes- I think elves would have been welcome in the manger. He hung out with taxpayers and prostitutes- I don’t think he’d be prejudiced against elves. They probably come under the “let the little ones come unto me” category. For all I know- a pair of elves may have been on the ark. (Okay- let’s not think about where elves come from. Erase that.)
Anyway- it’s not an issue of morality for me. Greater minds than mine, can debate the theology of the elf. I’m out of that one. And since you can’t turn around in a store without bumping into a 12 ft high display of them, I can assure you it’s not because I can’t find one. It’s harder to avoid them.
I don’t need one. I don’t WANT one. *gasp* I know. I am a bad mother.
The truth is: I do not need another thing to DO during Christmas. I have a hard enough time making sure people have food, clean clothing and other important things like: toilet paper. Much more practical. Actually- I could get behind (no pun intended) TP on a shelf- a new tradition where in you hide the last roll of toilet paper somewhere in the house- and people roam around in a pseudo-panic doing the potty dance as they search for it. I know, I know, like the cat-hair garland- just not “pin worthy.” If I posted pics on FaceBook my kids would (probably) kill me. (Once your children tower over you- you learn to be careful. Just sayin. My fear of the college boys outweighs the leverage I still have over the youngest. Make no mistake: when it comes to your kids- it’s them against you. They will choose sides, and it won’t be yours.Unless we’re talking outsider- invasion- then- they’ve got your back.)
Anyway- I have enough to do without adding an elvish excursion in competitive creativity. Like: school parties, gift shopping and countless hours spent bent in pain trying to wrap a forest’s worth of glittery paper over odd shaped items in hopes of camouflaging their contents. (And debating adding ribbon out of fear the cat may eat the ribbon AGAIN. While I have to admit it adds a festive color scheme to the regular catpuke- it’s not the decor theme I am going for.) Then, there is the baking of all things carb-laden. The stockings to be hung. (And socks to be sorted.) The tree to be decorated. People to be entertained. And….and…. why am I on this computer, when I have so much to do?
Oh, right. To rant. About the Elf. That’s not on my shelf. Because: I’m trying to preserve the sanity of MYSELF.
Don’t get me wrong- I appreciate (read: am highly intimidated by) the creativity and dedication of my fellow elf hiding parents. Jim Henson couldn’t think of so many ways to hide, pose or freak your kid out with a doll. I have seen Elves peeking from doorways, from bookshelves, from nooks, between the pages of books and zip lining from chandeliers. I saw Elves held hostage by lego- dudes and “fishing” in a toilet bowl complete with “goldfish crackers.” (I hope that mom didn’t have toddlers…. Goldfish crackers are the manna of toddlers- totally irresistible- blue water sodden or not. Gross.) I even saw the little guy in compromising situations that are NSFW. (Or home, for that matter. You never know what you’ll find on Pinterest- be careful. I didn’t need to see that. Pass the brain-bleach- please.)
All of which makes me just say: Elf No. Not going there. (Especially that last part… ew.)
Maybe, it’s because I’m kind of afraid the elf would end up like the tooth fairy. (She has about a 40% chance of showing up the first night a tooth is placed under a pillow- here. However, by day 3 she’s up to 98%. So there’s that. ) Maybe, I’m afraid that I won’t be able to compete. I’m afraid my poor child would go to school and when all the other kids are reporting the mischief and foibles of their elves, and mine would be the one saying: “On the shelf again. He didn’t move. My mom said he should have gotten his flu shot.” or- “Well, he was on a different shelf, I think. My mom bought the store brand one. She’s cheap.” Worse yet- he could be the kid in tears- after finding the elf dismembered by the dog after being adorably “seated” near her food bowl. (Beagles eat EVERYthing. trust me.) Basically, I fear having to plan an elf funeral. I also fear Elf Protective Services beating their tiny fists on my wreath- bedecked front door to arrest me for elf neglect and and/or endangerment.
Or maybe, I’m afraid I’d get so caught up in the “elf movement” that I’d end up in rehab. I could become obsessed with Elf care and unable to care for myself, my kids or my home. I could end up wearing red tights and a pointy hat, mumbling: “I have to hide-I have to hide, it’s for the children!” while snorting candy cane dust to ease the pain of my failures. (It could happen. I’m about one bad day from a psych ward- especially at this time of year.)
The truth is much more boring. I just chose to opt out. It’s an option. Who knew? (Newsflash: you can’t and don;t have to DO IT ALL.)
Just say: no. Better yet- “Elf, No!” I did.
It doesn’t make me a bad mother. (Other things do that better.) It doesn’t mean I’m a judgmental killjoy. It just means: I pick and choose how and where to invest my limited time and energy and this is a place where I draw a line. I’d rather spend 10 minutes playing Apples to Apples with my youngest than hiding a doll that is a rainbow haired wig, short of being a troll around the house. I’d rather drink cocoa, cuddled on the couch reading one of his favorite books with him, than set up a marshmallow mountain ski-scene with a hot chocolate hot tub for an elf. I doubt my kid will be damaged by this choice. I doubt he’ll feel he had “less” of a Christmas because of it. (He may even enjoy it more- what with me not being in Elf jail or a psych ward. Maybe.)
So….Am I the only one? Is ours the last Elf free home? Am I the only one who’s intimidated by the whole thing? If not- let me know in the comments- and tell us why….If you are an “Elf on the Shelfer”- (New reality show to be aired right after Doomsday Preppers. Watch for it.) tell me your favorite elf stories—I can’t wait to hear!
Dear Lord- every parent has to decide how and where to creative special moments- help us to honor you in all we do- and to enjoy every busy love filled moment of this holiday that reminds us of all YOU do. I love you lord….. amen.