Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Elf on the Shelf: How I am Overcoming My Phobia for the Sake of My Children

"I am going to murder you...tehehehe."

My introduction to The Elf on the Shelf came when we received the thing for a present. I had no idea what it was. As my mother-in-law explained to Eldest that the elf would keep an eye on his behavior and report to Santa nightly, I examined the drawing of an adorable elf on the box. Then I opened the cover to find the freakiest damn thing I had ever seen.

Swallowing a scream, I slammed the lid closed and threw the satanic creature away from me. (In my defense, I tried to chuck it across the room in the most grateful way possible.)  Luckily, Christmas had passed and we were able to tuck the box away in the basement. I had an entire year for Eldest to forget about the tradition I had hoped to never start. And he did…for a while.

I have another problem with the Elf on the Shelf concept—we don’t exactly do the Santa thing. I know, I KNOW! Believe me when I say that I have struggled with the fear that I am depriving my children of the magic of Christmas. It is just that Eldest has always been an inquisitive kid. And by inquisitive I mean that he questions everything until I want to scream. I simply could not look that child in the eye and tell him Santa and his flying reindeer deliver presents to all the good little boys and girls. There would be questions that I am not prepared to answer involving the space-time continuum, reindeer genetics, and who knows what else. Whenever anyone would mention Santa he would just look confused. Then when he was four years old he said, “Santa is you guys, right?” I replied, “Yup,” and that was that. I made sure to explain that a lot of parents want their children to experience the magic of Christmas and that he should basically keep his trap shut about it. I did not want to get the phone call that the entire Kindergarten class no longer believes thanks to Eldest.

Adding complexity to the situation is Red who is all about Santa. Even though his parents never mentioned anything about good ol' Saint Nick, he swallowed the fat man with the flying reindeer story whole and gulped it down with a sippy cup of orange Gatorade. (I could look at this as my child being really susceptible to brainwashing, but I have so much laundry to do that I can’t worry about that right now. I am just going to cross my fingers and hope that he ends up in a nice, respectable cult.)

With these two in the house, we were already doing a delicate balancing act around Christmas. Then there is the simple fact that I do not need more to do. So even if The Elf on the Shelf had been less terrifying I would not have been eager to add shuffling him around the house to my to-do list.

Things were going just fine. Then something terrible happened. I asked my cousin what she wanted for Christmas and she asked for…dun-da-da-dunnnnnnn…The Elf on the Shelf. Damnit. I thought about just giving her the thing from the basement and asking for another gift suggestion, but that seemed wrong. When Couponing with Rachel posted a deal I put on my big girl undies and ordered the little demon.

When the package arrived I, of course, opened it in front of the boys. They lost their minds over that stupid elf. The questions flew from Eldest. “What is it? How does it work? There is a book! Can I read it?!!!” Eldest believes that he was put on this earth for the sole purpose of reading every word ever written by anyone, anywhere. When I told him it was a present and he could not open it to read the book he looked at me as if I had set the library on fire. Denial of reading material is a serious offense in Eldest’s world. I immediately felt guilty. I too have the need to read and I knew we had our own copy ready and waiting in the basement. Very quietly I said, “We, um, actually have a copy in the basement.” I had hoped that they would not hear me and we could all move on. That did not happen. The kids who are deaf when I ask them to clean up their toys heard me and cheered.
I made husband retrieve the elf from the basement and the children were delighted. Eldest protected his treasure like an inmate hunching over his food as he read the book. The elf was immediately named Nick and registered online within the hour. As I was taking deep breathes and calculating whether or not we had enough wine to make touching the evil elf okay, Eldest placed “Nick” on the windowsill and explained to his siblings they were not to touch him or the “magic” would disappear. He explained how Nick would keep an eye on their behavior. Then my little man told me that he would handle it. 

Eldest put himself in charge of creating Christmas magic for his brother and his sister. Of course, he moved the elf sixteen times the first day, while his siblings watched, but that did not tarnish the magic for Red and Baby Girl. Now if that is not Christmas magic, I don’t know what is. And me? I provide comic relief by screaming every time I find that damn elf grinning maniacally at me from somewhere new. 

"Gonna drop on your face--wheeeee!"

"I will ride up on you in your sleep--yeehaw!"

Only 14 more days until Christmas. I hate that elf.



1 comment:

Teri Biebel said...

I'm so glad my kids are too old for the Elf. I'd hate that crap too.