Now come the days of The Great Elf on the Shelf Wars.
I’m not even going to explain what Elf on the Shelf is. You know what it is. And if you don’t, you’re better off.
Both sides of The Great Elf on the Shelf Wars are jumpin’ all over my last nerve. On one side you have the Elfers. These are the folks who have purchased an Elf, brought it into their home and are currently engaging in the process of taking the time out of each day to move an inanimate object to differing locations in their home in the hopes of pumping a unique combination of delight and fear into their children. The children are both delighted to discover their family’s Elf, which they’ve bestowed with a name like Chuckles or Peppermint Face or Secret Double Agent #25, in his or her new location and terrified at the thought of an impish creature scuttering around in the dark, witnessing their every misdeed and reporting it back to the Big Man.
This is what’s called Christmas tradition.
Some parents take this Christmas tradition to new heights. They take extra time to involve their Elf in cheeky or whimsical activities, ranging from failed efforts to make pancakes (leaving a huge mess) to wrapping a toilet seat in red and green Christmas paper, a particular choice which makes very little sense to me. “Good morning, family! Enjoy a Christmas poop on me! Love your Elf, Gingerbread Pants”
Still other parents, their mental faculties exhausted from the joys of the Christmas season, decide to engage their Elf in pornographic, violent or other inappropriate scenarios. Lucky Ducky may find himself involved in a three-way with a bald Veterinarian Barbie and a staunch yet bi-curious Optimus Prime. Through no fault of her own, Giggles may spend some time on a wobbly bar stool, a lit Marlboro Red smoldering in the ashtray before her, one plastic hand reaching for a half-empty bottle of Southern Comfort and the other caressing the cold, black steel of an unlicensed handgun.
All of this goes up on Facebook. Because of course.
I don’t begrudge these parents their fun. I don’t understand it, mind you, but I don’t have to. To each his own. Live and let live. One mom’s stoopid is another mom’s Christmas tradition.
There are those, however, who are pissed about all of this. Really, really pissed. Elf on the Shelf is a personal affront to these people, and they don’t mind telling you why. I’ve seen several blog posts over the past weeks denouncing Elf on the Shelf as everything from annoying Facebook clutter to representative of a bleak Orwellian future where no one is safe from constant government surveillance. Meet the Anti-Elfers.
Calm down, Anti-Elfers. The Elfers, while sometimes annoying, will not send their children into Elf therapy. Their children know what privacy is, and they understand how important it is. (Doesn’t keep them from the resisting the urge to invade any and all parental trips to the toilet, but I digress.) And I kid about it, but I doubt their children will feel unguarded or unsafe in their own homes. Although the Elf’s twisted, twitchy face might look creepy to you, children find it charming and representative of the holiday season. They are not afraid of their Elf. Further, most of the children understand that “being good” should be done for its own sake and not just in order to receive material reward. Those that don’t understand it wouldn’t have regardless of Elf on the Shelf. That shit starts in the womb.
Elfers’ children will not look back on their family’s Christmases and pinpoint them as what kickstarted the pathological paranoia or depression or inexplicable fear of being trapped in the dark with a small person. They will look back and see their parents as great big doofuses, which they would have anyway. And they’ll probably buy Elves for their own children. This is the Christmas Magic of Capitalism.
As far as all the Facebook competition around who can post the wackiest, funniest, cutest Elf picture…well. Maybe it’s a competition and maybe it’s not. If it is, it is. Just remove those folks from your feed until December 26th. Lots of people did it during the recent election, and everybody seemed to get along just fine after that. Besides, what if your gettin’ your panties all in a wad is really just compensation for the uncertainty you have about whether you should be Elfing for your own children? Do you feel guilty that your inherent laziness is keeping your family from enjoying a fun holiday tradition? Perhaps you fear you couldn’t be as creative as that one asshole who constantly comes up with the most awesome adventures for her family’s Elf? Or do you just have some anger issues that need a redirect? Things to think about.
We tried the Elf on the Shelf last year. His name was Doug. Doug appeared in a few boring, unimaginative places and then got tossed under the sofa. When the holidays were over, he was retrieved, packed up and never appeared again. Evie wasn’t all that interested in him, wasn’t intimidated by his agenda and was much more into staring longingly at her mommy’s Department 66 Christmas village and wondering why the hell Christmas decorations “aren’t toys, Evie.”
As for me, I am inherently lazy and generally unimaginative in this area. Also, Doug creeped me out. In the end, I’m not an Elfer. But I’m not an Anti-Elfer.
I’m just over it.