No Elf on My Shelf.

03 December 2013

No Elf On the Shelf

I’m creative, I could totally get into the club of these crazy Elf on a Shelf parents doing fun things every night with their elves.  Dying milk different colors, fishing in the sink, taking ornaments off the tree and framing that creepy little doll for it.

But, I’m not.  Multiplied by a thousand. 

Before you think it, I’m not a Scrooge of the Ebenezer variety, nor McDuck.  I love pretty much everything about the holidays.  They are a pretty big deal around these parts, but still, I have a beef with that menacing little midget. 

I want my kids to behave, period.  Not because of an elf or the threat of Santa, but because it’s the right thing to do.  Even that two year old knows when she’s doing something she probably shouldn’t.  While my kids are boundary testing, Dave or I are the ones who are supposed to remind and teach them, that’s our job.  And yes, yes, there are LOTS of ways to get that end result.  Quirky little thing, that parenthood, what works for one, just might not work for another.  I just personally, don’t want them to think that they should behave because an imaginary elf is watching over them.  I even feel a little weird about lying to them about Santa quite honestly, but to the best of our ability, we don’t use Santa as a threat for good behavior either. 

That’s not all. 

The ELF is also adding one. more. thing. to the holiday season.  It’s tough enough parenting right now, let’s face facts.  Your kids are inundated with want, they are sugared up with cookies, they’re tired, and overwhelmed and sometimes cranky.  You have to make decisions that are a good fit for them, for you.  More family, more friends, more giving to others, more down-time, YES.  More obligation, overspending, stress, time I’d rather spend doing something else, or the worry of remembering to move the Elf every night, uh NO.  Nope.  Not even a little bit. 

Plus, it totally reminds me of Chuckie.  That thing just might come after you with a kitchen knife or change your Facebook status to ‘It’s Complicated’ while you sleep.

chuckie elf on a shelf

I know you legions of Elf-ers, if my Pinterest feed is any indication, are all outraged at me right now and that’s ok.  I feel like I should tell you that it doesn’t remotely bother me if you use it in your house, lots of friends have it, including my friend Erin who let me steal her photos of Phineus.  She’s waiting for the day when her kids are like 15 and she can have ol’ Phineus dancing on a stripper pole or engaged in other completely inappropriate behaviors. 

I am not telling you to ditch yours or that you shouldn’t have one.  That would be as assinine as me telling you to ditch any of your other holiday traditions. 

I hear your cries of, It’s fun!  They love it!  It gets them excited for Christmas!  It’s not meant to be taken seriously!  If that works for you and yours, go right ahead.  I’ll laugh along with you at the hilarious pictures of Inappropriate Elf and marvel that you have the time and creativity to come up with these great ideas in the midst of an already crazy holiday season.

We’ll just be Elf-less over here.

Fess up.  Is there an Elf on your Shelf?

35 comments:

Holly said...

I could have written those first 6 paragraphs. No Elf. I could do a kick ass job but…NO.

Jill said...

It's the extra effort to me. I know I would get bored with it after 4 days... but my friends? Some of them are SO creative with it. I love watching what they come up with every day. :)

Amanda said...

Yes! We have an elf! I doubt I would have gotten one myself, but a grandma bought it for us. I do not do as many crazy things as some folks, and do not say anything to Max about the elf reporting on his good or bad behavior--that part of it skeeves me out. I almost did not do it this year (24 hours of panic when I could not locate our elf!) and started to think of a creative reason why the elf was not visiting us, but I started it on Dec 2. Seeing Max's eyes light up this morning when he saw the elf had started to make his lunch was the cutest! I think your post about picking and choosing what activities to do is the important thing!

Anonymous said...

Nope, not here either. One more thing. Even though my son is begging. I am thankful I can now tell him his elf is in his classroom. I also agree with the whole Santa thing. I hate lying to my kids. So I don't lie. I tell them how much fun it is to pretend and this Christmas tradition is a ton of fun but that Santa is a character. When my oldest was little he was more shocked that Dora is a character than Santa. Lol.

Mrs. Sowerby said...

No elf on my shelf and I especially love that you are teaching your children to behave without threat or reward. That is a tricky and difficult thing to do, but as a teacher I THANK you! I get how the Elf on the Shelf can be so fun, but I don't have time for it and also, like you, don't want to use gratification in that way. I also don't tell the kids to behave or Santa won't bring their presents. They see Santa at the mall for pics, but I'm increasingly wondering if we should take away the "Santa is real" thing. I don't know. You are really hitting me in all of the areas I have been wondering/thinking about lately! Well done! Loving your blogs...although I always do!!!

Ashley said...

You had to know I wouldn't have one. First off I'm usually too relaxed (er, hum inebriated) in the evenings to bother setting up elaborate scences. Secondly I already feel like I'm lying to my kids by pulling off the Santa thing. And third I get my hackles all up over seeing pictures of the Elf bringing gifts of food coloring filled junk.

Greetings from the Hotel Bassemonte said...

Thanks to all these elf posts, my elf is suffering from low elf-esteem. You're right, we all need to do what works for us and not worry about anyone else, I just wrote a post about it:
http://www.blogher.com/thanks-everyone-my-elf-shelf-has-low-elf-esteem

Kristin said...

We have an elf, but we don't do much with him. I am one lazy-ass elf mother. :)

Tiffany said...

We have an elf, which my punks love. Personally, I'm a lazy elfer and typically forget 14/25 nights to move him, and if I'm being completely honest, he's never arrived that early.

I have high hopes in making some serious elf magic happen this year, but realistically I'll be thrilled if I actually remember to move him every night. Go me!

Anonymous said...

No elf here. It's great that people do it. I think pretending with Santa is enough for me.

Jessica @ Wanting Adventure said...

YES. Yes to alllllll of this post. I think it's creepy and one more thing that just doesn't need to be there. When we have kids, I don't plan on having a creepy doll moving around the house and reporting back to Santa. After all, doesn't Santa have eyes and ears everywhere and he doesn't need elves living in houses and getting into trouble?

I am so glad that there are some people who aren't on this band wagon. I just don't understand it.

Kristi said...

No elf over here. I have a hard enough time remembering to get a tooth out from under the sleeping heads of my children. Why would I want to add another job to the list - one that I am sure to forget?? I do have friends who love their elves, but I am ready to let go of Santa as well. Not sure my kids will agree!!

Katie said...

No Elf at our house! And I love this post. Everyone and their dog has an Elf on their shelf and my kids are asking when ours is going to show up. NEVER!!!

Renee Anne said...

We have no elf. We will never have that elf. I find him incredibly creepy. Also, I don't have time for that. I have enough going on without trying to think of 25-30 creative things for that stupid thing to do.

Kim Matheson said...

Thank you! I'm pro-choice with the Elf, but I think they're just terribly creepy. And yeah...ain't nobody got time for that (in this household)!

Great post - enjoy the heck out of your holiday preparations and traditions! :)

Anonymous said...

We have an Elf AND we teach our children to behave all year round, regardless of who is watching them. Wish moms were able to blog without including thinly veiled criticisms of other people's choices.

Emily said...

Hell no because 1. it's creepy, 2. it's a pain in the ass, 3. it's creepy, and 4. it's way too much work.

Michelle Albright-Peters said...

Anon, that wasn't my intent and I'm bummed it read that way for you.

Heather Painchaud said...

Exactly! You took the words right out of my mouth! Could we? Sure! Do we? No way!! For pretty much all of the reasons listed ;). From one creative blogger to another - amen sista!

Emily said...

NO elf here. To each their own, but I have absolutely no understanding of how it makes sense to use a misbehaving elf to threaten your children into behaving. (Hello, irony - thy name is Elf?!?) I am completely with you in expecting my children to behave because it's the right thing to do YEAR ROUND, not just when the fat man in the red suit is on the way. Oh - and above all else, that elf is creep as hell. No way it'd come anywhere NEAR my house.

Just A Normal Mom said...

Oh Michelle, I'm so glad I no longer feel alone. I keep my mouth zipped about the elves on shelves all over the place because I'm afraid of someone poisoning my eggnog and then saying, "Well, she was a grinch anyway." Kidding. Sort of. I do, however, say a little thanks that this fad did not catch on to this extent until my son was too old anyway. I had a love-hate relationship with the Santa fib, and it would have been just too much for me to pretend that silly elf went to Santa to report on his behavior every night! But yes, I will laugh at everyone's silly poses and smile when their kids tell elf stories. As long as I don't have to remember it every night!!

Coba Hoban said...

Amen, sister!! To each their own and for many families it is a wonderful tradition, just not mine. I've got other traditions that I like to put my energy and talents into. Plus, as a family with 3 dogs and 3 cats, I could completely picture scarring my children for life when Elf was found mauled on our kitchen floor in a pile of white, fluffy elf innards.
My 4yr-old son asked what I thought about the Elf when we saw them on a recent trip to Costco and I was honest with him. I explained that they creeped me out. When he asked me to elaborate, I told him that I was worried it would try to eat my face off while I slept. He thought that was hilarious and loves to tell people of my fear. He agreed it was creepy, but not as creepy as clowns in his world.
P.S. I am amazed how this expensive concoction of plastic and felt has become so polarizing in the parenting world and I think it very respectful of you to reply to anonymous folks who complain.

~Suzy~ said...

Love your blog 'cause we agree on so much. Even that it's OK to disagree. But no elf for us. I think he's creepy and like you, we have enough to do already. Plus why do people make the elf do naughty things? I don't get it. If her reports the kids behavior to Santa, then why is he naughty?

~Suzy~ said...

Oh and if you feel bad about Santa I have a note saved somewhere on my computer about how to explain and tie into the Christmas story....Ill send it if I can find/remember...LOL Plus there's also the concept of the "Noble Lie" developed by Plato in "the Republic" loooong ago.

SnoopyMeg said...

I agree with Emily....and Big Flynn absolutely FORBIDS us to get one.

Jennifer said...

no elf for us.

Shannon Griggs said...

Just another reason we are seriously bff's from another life. I'm SURE of it. No elf on our shelf, my son was TERRIFIED of ours so after a day or two of that creepy faced imp staring at him, he begged me to tell him to go back to the North Pole.

TheDabblingCrafter said...

I completely agree with the previous person's statement that you can both have an elf and teach your child to behave. There is something to be said for these blog posts that are like "We don't do the elf on the shelf because we're such a good parents"...this is the second post I have read. At least this one was polite. The last one actually came out and called all pro-elf people bad parents.

Kelly S said...

I broke down and bought the MUCH cheaper stuffed toy version of the elf. My hesitation was more about the price of such a creepy little doll. I would have just got a completely different elf or doll all together if I could have found one in time. The rest is the fun part for me. I personally enjoy being creative, but I understand we are not creative equally lol. The best part is simpky the joy, wonder, and excitement it brings to my son, and the good behavior is just an added bonus;)

Anonymous said...

We just got our elf, but ours does not report back to santa! But, I'm super excited to do some crazy things with her :) This year she came early because we were too excited to wait, but next year and the year after, ours is only going to show up the week before Christmas. One week seems much more manageable then 4 :)

Julie Cornewell said...

I don't do the part where the elf watches them and reports if they are goof or not but the kids and I love finding creative situations and positions to put her in. Is it time consuming. A bit and gets harder towards mid to the end of December but it challenges my creativity. Is it a fad that I probably won't do forever? Yeah but for now it's fun.

EJD said...

Complete agreement- for pretty much all the reasons you stated. No elf here & not a bit interested.

Lisa Gair said...

I'm totally going to do elf on the shelf with my kids. Right now I only have my 5 month old daughter, so obviously won't do it this year. But I am really excited to do it in years to come.
I find it pretty hilarious how people are implying that it's lazy parenting as if you are using it as a threat to ensure good behaviour.. but seriously? No. Any parent who takes the time to set this up and have fun with their kid is amazing and no way is it slack parenting (I know nobody actually used those words, but you're fooling no one with the insinuations).

And as to commenters saying it makes no sense that the elf does naughty things. That is because its meant to be FUN and cute. It's not used as a threat for good behaviour.

J said...

I'm not down with the elf. Honestly, I'm a working single mom--I don't have time for one more freaking thing, and certainly not something that will create spectacular messes that I need to clean up. So I've made the personal choice that it won't go down in my house. I don't care if other people do it, but it does seem to be a bit of a ridiculous thing to do at the busiest bloody time of the year. I also like to think that I'm giving my daughter the gift of knowing that she doesn't have to do it all.

Katie Olthoff said...

I'm proudly elf-less. Because of the "one-more-thing" thing. I can't do ONE MORE THING and read blogs like I like to. :)

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