It’s that time of year when parents all over America get out the creepy little things known as the “Elf on the Shelf” and lord its presence over their children to incentivize them to behave. Oh Joy!
Admittedly this was our first year with one. My one and only 7 year old child told me he didn’t believe in Santa anymore last spring after he did the math and realized it was impossible for one person to get to billions of children in one night. He announced it was clearly parents getting gifts for their kids. And that was that. To my surprise this year and after chatting with his classmates and his class being “gifted” their own elf on the shelf, he came home and told me that indeed Santa is real and the only way for him to come is to have an Elf on the Shelf. Initially I thought, “Where is the harm? We’ve had a rough year in our family and if my sweet little now 8 year old boy needs a little magic in his life to cope I don’t see why I can’t make that happen.”
So I went out and got him an Elf on the Shelf. That was last week. WORST IDEA EVER. Seriously, here are the 5 top reasons parents everywhere should re-think these things.
1) The elves on the shelves are normalizing “Big Brother (Sister)”
If you don’t understand the reference, honestly you’re part of the problem. If you do know where the term Big Brother comes from, then you can fully appreciate how this magical creature that moves around your house so it can watch your kids’ every move/action/deed prior to Christmas and report back to Santa each night is exactly Big Brother (or Sister – they have girl elves on the shelves). My son promptly gave the elf the name “Lucky”. Sadly I feel this is evidence of brainwashing and only refer to the Elf on the Shelf as “Creeper”. Any thing that watches your every move and reports to an authority that gives and takes whatever if feels based on its judgement of your behavior is a creeper. Parents: DON’T NORMALIZE THIS SHIT!
2) It is more work for already overworked parents, particularly moms
Last night I forgot to move Creeper, I mean “Lucky”. It was exhausting week of single-parenting (pretty much my norm) while doctoring and triaging and trying to ensure Christmas presents were bought. So yeah, I had my 2 glasses of wine, watched an episode of the Crown and went the F to sleep! And I woke up to my son this morning totally disappointed because the Elf didn’t move so it either means he was touched and lost his magic somehow OR none of it’s real…….all because mom needed one night off. Seriously why do we do this shit to ourselves? And for those of you ladies that are fortunate to have a truly woke partner and spouse in your life who will share the heavy burden of re-positioning the damn Elf each night……good for you! But I’d gander at minimum a good 70% of the burden falls on moms……which means the mental load of remembering along with the guilt trip of not falls on moms too. Moms already do the vast majority of “Santa-ing” and get no credit for it while credit all goes to an old white man. Geeze it sounds like modern day America. This elf is just another thing to make our lives harder. F-it!
3) There’s a really good chance the Elves come from Hell and not the North Pole
Ever seen that scene in the “Exorcist” where the possessed girls head turns all the way around on her neck? I mean all the F around. That is exactly what the heads on the official elves on the shelves do. It’s hella creepy. You can position them facing any which way and its head can rotate in 360 degrees so that it can always be watching you. None of God’s creatures on this earth can do that. Ergo, these elves are not from the “Good Place”. They are demons in disguise.
4) The Elf on the Shelf creates the wrong incentives for being good
Seriously. Think about this. Teaching our children that they need to be kind to others, respect each other and “do unto others as you’d have done to you” in order to get material things is essentially teaching them the only reason to be a good person is to get more stuff. If you are a Christian, this is the complete opposite of the message of Jesus and antithetical to the entire purpose of Christmas. If you’re not Christian, it’s a really shady way to form a decent human being. We should be teaching our children kindness, courage and empathy just because it’s the right thing to do. I’d far prefer a future of persons who do what’s right whether they get something in return or not to one of persons who ultimately are only ever acting in their own materialistic self-gain. There are plenty of ways to teach children these virtues without bribery……which is exactly what the Elf on the Shelf is. Coercive bribery for good behavior from potentially otherwise spoiled kids.
5) Kids should believe in Magic and Wonder, just not the fake kind that comes with the Elf
There is Magic in the world, real Magic. If you’re a person of Faith, rather than lying to your child about the magic of Santa and some Elf as they grow up completely detracts from the miracle and wonder that is life. If you’re not religious…..still there’s beauty and wonder and magic in the world around us. Nature, mountains, oceans, sunrises and sunsets, the tragedy and triumph of the human spirit, courage, outstanding acts of love and kindness, strength of character. These are real magic. Fairy tales aren’t bad either…..but when the story links some pseudo magic to a materialistic drive…..it kinda sounds more like dark magic. Don’t fall for it.
I’m not trying to go to war with Santa, I won’t win that battle. But for the love of all that is holy and good, please oh please think twice before falling for the trap of the Elf on the Shelf. Pretty sure ours is going to move into the fireplace tonight, creepy little F-er.