Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Elf Is (Reluctantly) Back On My Shelf...

Yes, my friends, it is that time of year again... 
Time for me to break out one of my favorite holiday posts from Christmas' past.
Back in 2009, my kids and I were subjected to that now timeless holiday tradition, The Elf on the Shelf.  The following is the now timeless tale of how it went over that first time... 
It's "timeless" because... well... I still feel the same way... 

"Sherlock" the Elf on our shelf
I realize there is a whole cult-following out there that think The Elf on the Shelf is just "the bees knees" or "the best thing since sliced bread" or whatever corny phrase you want to use to say that Christmas just ain't Christmas until the Elf gets on the shelf. 
Well, all of you shelf-elf lovers out there, I'm about to hurt your feelings. 
The Elf is about to be kicked to the curb!

My father and his wife gave The Elf on the Shelf to my kids right before Thanksgiving (against the advice of my sister and brother-in-law who told them that it was not going to go over well with my kids)
The intent was for me to break it out on the day after as a kick off to the Christmas season.  Now, I had heard about this Elf all last year but never actually looked into what it really was.  So the name was familiar to me but not what it all entailed.  Well, here was my chance to see what the hype was all about.  Not only that, I was exploring something new with my kids that was guaranteed to be a lasting family tradition (at least that's what I was told) So...we break out the box containing The Elf.

"Oh! The Elf on the Shelf!" Kennedy exclaims.  "We have that at school!"
"You do?  Do you know the story about The Elf?" I asked hoping she would let me off the hook of having to read the accompanying book.
"Um...no."
What do you mean no? I'm thinking to myself but then I remembered that this was all the rage last year and she was probably the only kid in her class who had never seen nor heard of The Elf.   She didn't want to seem odd so she just went along and pretended like she knew the deal and therefore the teacher probably didn't bother to go through the motions.

With two eager little kids flanked at my sides, I opened the box containing The Elf.  

Jackson takes one look it and bolts with a "my name is Paul and that stuff is for y'all" expression on his face.
Me: Jackson, don't you want to read the book about The Elf?
Jackson:  "No!"
Honestly, I didn't blame him one bit!  But we'll get to that in a second.

Kennedy and I curl up on the sofa to learn all about The Elf.  

Now, I have to say that the concept of The Elf on the Shelf is quite brilliant.  
For any parent who has threatened that "if you don't tighten up, Santa will not come to town," it is a perfect tool of enforcement.  
The Elf is basically a spy that Santa has sent to your house to watch your every move and when you go to sleep at night, he zooms back to the North Pole to give Santa his report.  Hence why he's on your shelf.  Lately we have been working on our clever little girl's clever little behavior with wall charts and incentives.  She also knows that kids get a lump of coal (or a big black rock as she calls it) from Santa if they misbehave.  She wants no sad faces on the chart and no rocks under the tree, so I'm thinking this could work, right?  Wait for it...

So we're reading the book...Kennedy seated between me and The Elf who is still perched on his make-believe shelf in the box.  The book is written in the voice of The Elf and he is explaining his purpose for coming to our home.  

"Mommy, are his eyes real?  He's already looking at me," Kennedy says looking at him like he's "the old man in the club" trying to hit on her.   
As we get to the part about his spy duties, I notice that she's giving him "the side eye" as I read.  I am resisting the urge to bust out laughing because I can tell what she's thinking:  
"First the behavior charts, now this? And there's one of these dudes at school too? Damn!  I can't catch a break around here!"  
It doesn't help that he's looking at her too like he already knows if she's been naughty or nice.   
The last thing he tells her in the book is that she can't touch him because all of his powers will disappear and he will not be able to tell Santa if she's good or bad therefore Santa will just bypass our home.  For this reason, I purposely put The Elf where he could not easily be reached.
Every so often I catch her looking up at him with a calculating expression: "I've got to get my hands on that Elf! I'll take my chances.  I have relatives who love to buy me things so I will have presents for Christmas!  I don't need anything that bad from Santa!"  
She is SO not feeling this Elf!

So here's my confession... I side with my kids on this one.  
I am SO not feeling The Elf either!  
That little bugger just creeps me out!  Yes, he's a smiling, seemingly happy, harmless little Elf, right? Yeah well that clown in Poltergeist looked happy too!  And so did Chucky!   He sits there in those corny red pajamas looking like the long lost little brother of Snap, Crackle and Pop coming back as a Christmas Elf to exact his revenge on the brothers who abandoned him and all the lovers of their cereal and treats by being the most popular and sought after tattle-tale in history!  
There he is perched high on my fireplace mantle with his smug little "I know what you did last summer" grin on his face just judging me!  "Yes, dammit, I had french fries today!  No, I didn't workout this morning! Go 'head, run and tell Santa, ya little snitch! Beat it!" 

Oh!  I totally forgot about the part where you are suppose to hide the damned thing!  
Yes, hide him everyday supposedly as evidence that he left the night before to rat on you to Santa.  
So basically I am to freak the hell out of my kids when they come downstairs and see that he's missing...and they have to go find his creepy ass or they don't get anything for Christmas.  
With my luck, I go to get him from the hiding place to put him back where he belongs (because my kids will have refused to go looking for him) and he won't be where I left him!  
Ever seen Trilogy of Terror? (pardon me while I show my age)  
I've obviously decided to skip the hiding part.  He's on the mantle...where he will remain still in the box and on lock down.  He'll have to tell on my kids telepathically.

Will I try this again next year, hard to say.  
But as of this moment, it's a resounding HELL-TO-DA-NAW!

Just sayin'...

2012 Update...
Now that my kids are a little older, they have welcomed the Elf's presence and it has been useful in enforcing good behavior between Thanksgiving and Christmas. They've named him "Sherlock"  Little bugger still creeps me out tho...