Elf on the Shelf: One Mom’s Love/Hate Relationship Explained

Elf-on-the-Shelf-Love-Hate-RelationshipSince our household joined the hordes of others celebrating the holidays with a disturbing elf on their shelf, I’ve been fostering a love/hate relationship with this odd fella we call Pickles.


Let me just start with the “love” part of our relationship because, let’s face it, this is the short part.

My kids love him.
They start getting excited for his arrival a few weeks before Thanksgiving and they race around smiling every morning to find him in his new hiding spot.  I love seeing their eyes light up when he comes back each year, and it’s cute when they talk to him and leave him notes.  I’ll never forget how the kids literally jumped for joy the first year we got him.  It’s a favorite memory.

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Pickles…he’s always “watching.”

That’s about the end of the good stuff.

Here’s the more in-depth “hate” part of the relationship between me and this eerie home invader.

He’s creepy.
Let’s get the obvious out there right off the bat.  These elves are creepy.  Their shifty eyes seem to be looking at you no matter where you’re standing and they smirk as if to say, “I know what you did last night.”  I’m not ruling out the fact these things really do move around at night, spying on us all as we sleep.  My kids have never acknowledged our elf for the creeper he clearly is but, if your kids have ever been disturbed by the idea of this strange visitor watching their every move, I’m with them 100%.

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I have to move him…every.freaking.day.
I don’t know about you, but I have enough extra work on my holiday plate to worry about moving this creep.  I mean, WHY does he have to move to some new location every day?  What’s wrong with setting up shop in a comfy spot and taking it easy for the month?  Oh, I know.  Some overachiever got the idea to pose the sucker in the midst of some new mischievous activity each day and it caught like wildfire.  I blame the internet.

It’s Out of Control!
Search Pinterest for ‘Elf on the Shelf’ and your head might possibly explode.  You can print superhero costumes for your elf, make it poseable using velcro and floral wire, make it a bunk bed from recycled materials, or set up a sleepover with Barbies.  There are Facebook pages dedicated to their “adventures.”  Let me just write that again to make sure I’m not crazy.  There are Facebook pages dedicated to their “adventures.”  What the heck?  Feel free to peruse one of these pages next time you feel like you’re killing it at this mom thing.  You’ll be right back to feeling inadequate in no time.

I admit I tried to do cutesy things with our elf the first year.  I scoured the internet for ideas and even had one or two of my own.  But I quickly reached my limit with all the crafting and posing.  And I’m a crafty person!  I usually enjoy the creative side of parenting, but my end-of-sanity line must be drawn somewhere.  I also realized I was subjecting myself to cleaning up this bugger’s messes with each new, clever setup and since I already have three kids and husband, I didn’t need that.

There are accessories.  Outfits…and a reindeer!
Are you kidding me?  Your elf can relax in a bathrobe, do ballet in a tutu, cheer for the soccer team (BOTH related outfits exist), or be ready for any weather in a yellow rain coat and boots.  If I gave our elf every outfit on the market right now, his wardrobe would be nearly equal to mine.  And that’s not counting the various DIY outfit tutorials out there.  Neckties, t-shirts, and pants, oh my!

And there’s the reindeer.  A pet for an elf!  Listen, if I’m not willing to get my kids another pet, this elf isn’t getting one either.  Also, who is responsible for taking care of this pet?  Never mind.  I already know the answer.

He leads to awkward conversation.
Some kids have an elf, some kids don’t.  Some kids have the classic cloth body/plastic head variety, and some have the fully stuffed version.  Some kids’ elves are adventurous and creative, and some kids’ elves are lucky to get moved, er, I mean move on their own, each night.  And this leads to questions.  Awkward questions, with awkward, on-the-spot conversations to follow.  Don’t we get enough of this over Santa Claus?

So there you have it.  We’re still in the first ten days of December and I’m already dreaming of our elf’s last night.  I did do one cute thing with the elf this year that turned out to be helpful, but that’s it for me.  This whole elf business is likely my least favorite Christmas tradition, but it brings joy to my kids and smiles to their faces, so I’m still game every year.  That’s what makes us moms, right?

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