Guest Post by Stephanie Lazenby
As a parent I hold the key to many secrets, like the Tooth Fairy, what a mortgage is and where babies come from. Santa is the biggest secret of all. But now there is a new character being heaped onto to the pile of Christmas make-believe which adds onto my holiday list to keep everything merry and bright. I cannot abide by this latest marketing gimmick that simultaneously guilts my children into behaving properly and to guilting me into buying yet another piece of holiday spirit.
Elf on the Shelf.
Have you seen this? According to the website, each family “adopts” (Read: purchases for $30) a Scout Elf. The family reads the book, The Elf on a Shelf. A Christmas Tradition then together, they name and register his adoption online. This is when the fun begins. Touted as an “interactive hide-and seek game” The Elf hides in a different place each day throughout your house. At night it flies back to the North Pole and in the morning it magically appears in a different place than it was the day before. It could be the freezer, because it reminds the Elf of the North Pole. Or it could be in your bedroom – who knows!
According to the website:
“Excellent listeners and even better observers, these scout elves are the eyes and ears of Santa Claus…The elf will always listen and relay messages back to Santa. Taking in the day-to-day activities around the house…”
Hold it right there.
First off, I thought that Santa himself was the only one who is all knowing and powerful. It says it right there in the song: He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake. Santa’s omnipotent voyeurism always creeped me out as a kid. I would think, “Really? He can see me when I’m going poo? Picking my nose? Or even when I am having my private, special snuggle with Mr. Bear?” I had serious reservations about a man who decided what toys I received by being able to keep tabs on my every move.
I am a little ticked off. Who decided that they can go and change the long-standing Christmas rules on us? Now we have another myth to perpetuate, another creature observing and recording a child’s every move. And you are telling me this elf lives in my house, ready to rat out any indiscretion? Elf on a Shelf sounds like a goody-goody flying back to Santa to narc us out every chance he can get.
I feel as though it can be hard enough to keep the veil of pretend going for my children – I’m all for the magic of childhood, but Elf on a Shelf tips scales into too much. After a full day of work, life and dishes, many of us collapse into bed at night, only to wake up the next morning to the wailing shock of, “Mommy, I think the tooth fairy forgot to get my tooth!” Many a mother has scrambled with a, “Oh no, no honey, you’re just waking up and still groggy! Go to the potty and check and again when you come back!” And then she hauls ass to her purse and quietly sneaks in the money under the pillow. I am convinced that this common parental forgetfulness is why I hear of so many kids who get five or ten dollars from the tooth fairy.
So now on top of roasting chestnuts on an open fire, we are expected to buy and maintain this fallacy about Elf on the Shelf? Not me. I may bake an assortment of cookies this season and put them out for Santa, but I will not host Narc on a Shelf’s frozen informant ass in my house.
Stephanie Simpson Lazenby is a writer and mother of two daughters. She lives in Portsmouth, NH, and you can read her blog and column, Moms in the City, at Planet Lazenby She hopes her girls keep it in their pants for as long as possible.