“Do you Elf?” I was asked by a woman while perusing the Christmas toys aisle of Dollar Tree.
“I plan to this year. I think the antics are hilarious,” I replied.
What transpired was a ten-minute conversation about the pros and cons of Elf on the Shelf, the clever little North Pole resident who flies into your home and reports to Santa whether your children have been “bad or good.”
The woman at Dollar Tree has been doing the Elf for a few years now and had a million ideas as to how to go about displaying Elf around the house. She also admitted that this was probably the last year her son would be visited by the elf, “It is kind of exhausting to keep it up for so many years. Not to mention the money I spend on little things for him to leave my son.”
The Elf has become quite a little controversy stirrer. Mommies are blogging all over the place about how they love or loathe the little chap. As I am an Elf newbie, I find the controversy a bit perplexing.
For the most part, the anti-Elfers seem to find the doll itself “creepy.” The fact that some spy of Santa’s comes into your home and watches your children throughout the day is worrisome to these folks. I find a fat dude wiggly his way down my chimney equally terrifying, but that’s just me.
I admit that I think the Elf is kind of cute. I don’t see how the Elf is any more creepy than the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, or Santa himself. If you are OK with fibbing to your child about where their lost teeth go, what exactly is wrong with an Elf who may make your life a little easier by providing an incentive for your children to mind their manners? Honestly, I have no qualms with using whatever means necessary — aside from violence of course — to get my sassy little two-and-a-half-year-old to behave. The Elf’s presence has given me just another tool to threaten my kiddo with her Christmas gifts being taken away.
Some other Elf naysayers feel that the Pinterest-worthy Elf scenarios get out of hand and who really needs ONE more thing to do around the holiday season? While I love/loathe Pinterest, I am just not that into trashing my house and blaming it on the Elf.
However, I think the power of the Elf lays not in his reporting back to Santa or how much trouble he can get into, but rather the magic he brings to the holidays.
Growing up, I believed in both Santa Claus and Hanukkah Joe, a distant cousin of Santa Claus my Dad made up when I questioned why Santa didn’t visit our house during Hanukkah. One holiday my Dad “forgot a gift” and told me I couldn’t go downstairs to look for it because if I saw the Elf who delivered it he would be fired by Santa.
Looking back, I am grateful to my parents for making the holidays so rich in make-believe. My mother went all out with decorations, cooking making, gift-giving, and dream building. At no point did I feel crushed when I realized Santa and Joe were not real. I was just happy to still have presents.
And as a parent now, I want my children to have that same sense of wonder around the holidays that I did. So, I am happily Elfin it up in my home. I might not go all Pinterest crazy as some folks and I guarantee I will forget to move the darn thing a time or two, but for this first week of December, Mr. Elf has been a welcomed guest.
Here is what Mr. Elf has been up to in the Wilder house so far.
A little fun, a little mess, a lot of fun. I am looking forward to Hanukkah beginning on the 16th so Mr. Elf can work with Hanukkah Joe to light himself the menorah and show Nora how to play dreidel.
For those of you who Elf, I would love to hear about your friend’s adventures! And for those that do not, feel free to tell me why you choose not to!