Thursday, October 4, 2012

Elf on the Shelf or Demon Near the Ceiling? You Decide.

In retrospect, telling our three year old daughter that there would be a small, magical creature living in one or more rooms of the house, watching her every move was probably not the best idea. 

Let me go back.

Last year, one day in December,I heard (from three separate friends) about The Elf on the Shelf. 

"What the hell is an Elf on the Shelf?", thought the living-in-a-cultural-vacuum me of December 2011.

A quick email to a friend with a kid told me what (because of my inexperience with social norms), I was missing out on. 

And at that exact moment, I decided that our home  

For those of you as uninformed as I was, let me explain.

The Elf on the Shelf is a little elf-y doll that comes with a book. It's a Christmas-y story about how this random elf will show up in your house, unannounced, on a shelf some morning near Christmas. 

The Elf will then stare, glassy-eyed at the children of the house from high upon a shelf top and observe. Just observe.

That very night, the Elf will go back to the North Pole and report his observations to the Big Man. The Elf will return before daylight, to a different spot in the house, where he will do the same thing all over again. By Christmas eve, Santa will basically have a complete background check on every minor in the family. The book advises that the children not play with the Elf. It also states that although the kids can talk to the Elf, the Elf will not talk back. 

Creepy, no? 
I didn't think so at the time but hindsight now tells me otherwise.

To this day, I have no idea what came over me but once I knew exactly what a shelf Elf was, I knew that I could not spend another Christmas without one. I went to the big-box type book store a couple miles away but the Elf was sold out. In fact, the Elf/book ensemble was sold out at ALL 20 or so locations of three different chain bookstores in a city of 1.5 million people. 
Are you f*cking kidding me?!? 

Eventually, I ordered it online and paid extra for rushed delivery. 

The Elf on the Shelf book/Elf kit arrived on December 20th, two days before our move to a new home across town. I couldn't wait to read the story to our nearly four-year old in our New Home, introduce her to the Elf and start our very own, First Family Tradition!

The evening we closed on the house was spent eating pizza on the living room floor of the new place. When the kids weren't looking, I hid the Elf on a high, built-in shelf in the corner of the room. I brought out the book and read it to the kids- they loved it!

At the end of the book, I knowingly asked, "Do you want an elf to live in our house with you?" the big kid nodded slowly. The little one had no idea what I was talking about and was running around throwing pizza crust to or at the dog. She's like that.

"Let's look around and see if we have an elf!", I exclaimed. I ignored the fact that the big kid reeeally didn't seem all that into the idea- I knew she'd eventually come around.

Finally, the kid turned her head all the way around, her eyes looking up towards where the Elf lay in wait. She paused for a moment and then threw herself face first into the blanket we were sitting on. She did not cry. She did not beg for the Elf to go away. She was silent. 

"Do you see the Elf somewhere?" I said, still ignoring  delusional oblivious unaware that this kid was scared shitless.

The kid sat up, saucer-eyed, "No!"

Me: "Are you suuuuuure?"
Kid: "No!"
Me: (pointing towards the corner shelf) "What about right ov...."

So, although I ordered an adorable little doll designed to enhance a wonderful holiday experience
The angelic Shelf Elf I ordered

I wound up with something that would perhaps ruin my daughter's Christmas for many more years to come. 

At this point I get the much-deserved 'look' from my husband and so I say, "It's ok honey, we'll ask the Elf to go away" 

Me to Elf: "We don't really need an elf this year, thanks! Can you please go back to the North Pole?"
Kid: (crickets chirping in the background as she slowly begins to recover from her catatonic state)
Me: "...but you can come back next year!"
Tall guy: (the 'look' again)
Me: "Ok, never mind  Elf. Just probably go back to the North Pole and help Santa. We don't really want you here. Sorry about this. Bye!"
Kid: Silent, laying face down on blanket again

While she was still passed out from anxiety, the tall guy quickly got up, ran across the room, grabbed the elf from the shelf and ran to hide it in another room. He did not need to run. The kid was still face down when he came back 30 seconds later.

The creepy Shelf Elf my daughter saw

We moved in on December 22nd and the girls adjusted to their new rooms and surroundings pretty well.

Until December 23rd.

We were driving home from preschool when the big one brought up the elf. I told her not to worry, he would not be back.

This year- but maybe next year.... 

(I KNOW. What the hell is wrong with me?? I can't say, honestly. I just really, really wanted the elf thing to work out for some reason)

So yes, I am now driving down the freeway, less than 48 hours from Christmas with a kid that is totally freaking out.

Not surprising that she didn't believe me when I tried to convince her that he actually, probably would not show up next year anyway. 

Nope. Not buying it at all. Trick me once with a creepy elf-creature skulking around my new house, shame on you...Trick me twice, well, still shame on you (you with shitty parenting and lacking in good judgement skills, that is). Nor was she  buying it when I told her I'd write a letter, send an email or a text, to the North Pole. Nothing. 


I had a plan to fix this but I couldn't reach the tall guy on the phone so I called my sister.

Sister: "Hey, what's up?"

Me: "You busy?"

Sister: "No. Just driving. Why?"

Me: (in very loud voice) "Hello, North Pole? I would like to speak with Santa. Right away!"

Sister:   "Uh...Wha..?"

Me: (in louder, angry voice) "He's busy? Fine. I'll speak with Mrs. Claus then!"

Sister: "Oh."

Me: "We do NOT want an elf at our house this year! (now yelling) DO YOU UN-DER-STAND ME??? WE DO NOT WANT AN ELF! EVER!!!"

Sister: (apparently to whoever was in car with her) "What time do we need to get there by...uh-huh...ok..."

Me: "Thank you very much, Mrs. Claus. You have a merry Christmas"

Sister: "Glad I could help. Merry Christmas to you too!"

And we did have a merry Christmas a couple days later, the elf and story book safely tucked away (along with my dream of a family Christmas tradition), on a shelf high above the washing machine.

That dream haunts me almost daily as I do the laundry for four very dirty people.

And now it's October.
It's getting near that time again....
She's almost five now....

Oh yes, you know I'm thinking about it.

And yes, someone needs to stop me.


  1. I LOL at all of your posts, but I have tears in my eyes from laughing at the second Elf picture.
    At least the STORY of the Terrifying Shelf Monster will be a great Christmas dinner tale in years to come. Like when the girls are 30.

  2. Glad you are able to laugh at my life along with me.

    Good point about Shelf Monster being a good story later on. That story might lighten the mood at Christmas dinner after they tell all the other stories about how we fucked them up as kids.

  3. That creature, is from the movie "Trilogy of Terror".

  4. Thanks for that, SokoMan!
    I thought it was just one of the Wild Things wearing a cap :)

  5. your blog is amazing. new follower!