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Yo Elf on the Shelf… You Are One Creepy MotherELFer!

Yo Elf on the Shelf… You Are One Creepy MotherELFer!

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The other day I was strolling through Chapters, minding my business, when I saw a box that spoke to me (in hindsight I’m not really sure why it spoke to me but now that I’ve gotten to know the toy better, I’m sure it was the elf playing some pseudo mind tricks on me because I’m sure the toy makers who created this horrific toy built that in by design).  So, I picked up said box, read the name aloud and thought to myself, “Aww, it’s a little Christmas tradition… this could be cute for Willow”  until I spotted the actual toy sitting just a few inches away from the closed and sealed boxes.  An endearing creepy-as-hell elf.  Not just any elf people… ”The Elf on the Shelf.

From the moment I saw the elf itself, I knew that I wouldn’t like it.  This thing’s arms and legs are ridiculously long and it’s face is crazy creepy.  It looks like it’s peeking up at you with a look that says, “Just go to sleep… I dare you…”  The thing also doesn’t have feet.  I’m opposed to anything, inanimate or animate, that does not have feet.  All of my drawings, regardless of whether they are stick or full figured, have feet.  Big, giant, prominent, swear-they-are-there feet.  Things without feet are just weird.

Anywho, I digress.

So, back to the elf.  For those of you not familiar, the basic concept is this: people buy the elf and they hide it in places throughout their house and the idea is to scare their children into good behaviour by telling them that the elf is all-knowing, all-seeing and hides… watching them… always.  The children then make a game out of trying to find the elf’s hiding places each day.  I’m not really sure what happens when they do find the elf but I don’t think they can touch it – they just nod to the elf and do a little kid-style hat tip.  Regardless, the parent(s) make an effort to hide the elf each day as a scare tactic for good behaviour.  The end.

Or is it…

Nope.  People… it’s SO not the end.

There are people out there who buy these elves and instead of just sitting them on shelves, like the name so obviously intended, they make the elf do things.  Like… cause mischief and get into trouble.  I’m not really sure of the purpose of this because I know that if I showed Willow how to tear open pillows and throw feathers everywhere, you’d bet that she’d be doing that too and NOT understanding that it’s bad but whatevs.  I don’t judge other parenting styles.

But it’s not just little things that the elf ends up doing each day… it’s BIG, change your whole house around things… get messy and have to clean up afterward things… Things that, going back to my earlier comment about the elf having the ability to play pseudo mind tricks on its owners, people would never do otherwise.  And if you would do these things anyway, you be cray-cray.  Just sayin’.

Think I’m exaggerating?  Here are just a few (hundred) things that people do with their elf on a shelf:

  1. The Elf on the Shelf Master List (there are seriously hundreds of photo examples here)
  2. 101 Elf on the Shelf Ideas
  3. A Calendar Template for Elf Planning
  4. Almost R-Rated Elf on the Shelf Ideas (these are done when your children are in school)

I don’t know…  I just don’t have enough time in the day to prep a “scenario” for the elf and then let Willow enjoy it for 0.045 seconds before having to clean up after the damn elf.  If I owned an Elf on the Shelf, it would sit on the shelf.  As the product’s name states.  It wouldn’t be an Elf on the Shelf Who Makes Me Do Stuff Every Single Day for a Month.

So level with me… do you do the Elf on the Shelf in your home?  Are you as over-the-top with your elf-ness as these links portray or do you simply sit him on a shelf?  Would love to hear from you elf-loving mommas out there and I promise, no judgement (okay, maybe a LITTLE judgement… haha)!

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Comments (38)

  1. Jessica Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
    I don't have an Elf (they too freak me out), but I love your humor. That is all. xoxo
    • Erin Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
      haha, thanks! Let's create a Parents Alliance Against Elf on the Shelves.
      • Jessica Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
        Can I be the Vice President? We should extend the alliance to include talking dolls of any variety and electronic toys that randomly turn on by themselves in the middle of the night.
  2. Amy Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
    We've had our elf, Albert, for 3 years. The most mischief he gets into is taking a spin in Maya's toy car with Barbie. The kids like it. I don't use it as a scare tactic though, my kids don't do anything that I'd have to tell them the elf is watching... It's just a fun thing to do for us.
    • Erin Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
      LOL!! I can just imagine him driving around in a Barbie car. Do your girls ever take him and play with him or is the idea not to touch him at all?
  3. Kristine Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
    Oh dear...sorry am not backing down! I am a Elf on the shelf lover!! My kids absolutely adore our elf and even all the daycare kids are excited each day they arrive to find were "Zerby" yep that's his name is hiding. My little 18 month old daycare girl cant say many words but shrieks with excitement and points and says Zerby! lol. So cute. We do not use our Elf as a threat. Well ok...maybe sometimes...we are human! lol. We use it for positive reinforcement "Wow Julia that was very nice of you to share that with your friends..I bet Zerby will make special note of this and make sure Santa knows'...she gleams with pride. I see absolutely ZERO wrong with this... Chris and I enjoy every night before bed taking the 5 minutes it takes to either simply place the elf on a shelf or come up with something cute, like him bathing in a tub of marshmellows :) Who wouldn't want to do that??!! LOL
    • Erin Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
      Kristine - I think the way you are using it is cute :) I also know that when you have as many kids in your house as you do, things like this do make the season fun! I still think he looks uber creepy tho ;) haha
  4. Hailie Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
    We have one and are having a blast with it :) I agree, they look creepy, BUT the kids (and us parents) are having a great time. I don't do anything overly complicated that would take more than a few seconds to set up or clean up.
    • Erin Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
      That's awesome Hailie! I think it could be potentially cute if used the way you are talking about it. The overachieving stuff scares me tho.
  5. Anonymous Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
    My son loves Ralphie our elf on a shelf. I too only take about five minutes in the morning hiding the elf somewhere my son will be sure to find him. I don't use him as a scare tactic just a cute tradition.
    • Erin Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
      I love your son's name!!!!! :)
    • Erin Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
      Whoops, I just realized that is the Elf's name, not your son's name! LOL I still love that name. :)
  6. Devon Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
    Haters gonna hate! LOL I actually totally agree with you - the elf is the essence of creepy. We love ours though and no scare tactics here - ours is just for fun. Our daughter loves finding him every morning. It has become a great tradition that we look forward to every year.
    • Erin Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
      LOL!! I'm not hating on the elf..... Ok, maybe a little. I just think he's creepy. :D
      • Devon Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
        LOL he's a creepy creepster - don't know how my daughter sees past the creep factor but that must be part of the magic. :)
  7. Dawn Cullo Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
    We pretty much forget to move our Elf everyday. It's only once my husband and I have settled into bed that one of us says "did you move Stevie?". Then one of us needs to get up and move him. We don't do anything crazy with him like have him have a marshmellow fight or un decorate the christmas tree because that is insane! My girls (7 and almost 3) love to see where Stevie is hiding every morning and that is about it. There are times when one of them is mis-behaving and we will say "Stevie is watching" and then they sorta stop their mis-behaving.
    • Erin Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
      Dawn, I LOVE that your elf's name is Stevie... that's what I call Steve!! LOL!!
  8. NatteringNic Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
    Fab post and I could not agree more! Our 6 year old is a nervous kid (ie he asks if Santa is *for sure* gone before venturing down to the tree Christmas AM) so the idea of an elf spying on him would totally ruin his "Yuletide Spirit."
    • Erin Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
      I am a firm believer in my child listening to me because they are going to listen to ME - not listening because of some scary elf... Know what I'm saying? lol
      • NatteringNic Friday - 07 / 12 / 2012 Reply
        Totally. We're the Mamas. We should wield more power than a plastic dude dressed in velvet!
  9. Stacie Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
    We've had an elf "Bob" for the past 3 years & the kids love him. Pretty much every morning they wake up & race to see who can find him first. I used to just move him from place to place each night but now that Pinterest has so many fun ideas, I've tried doing a few more entertaining he tp'd the Christmas tree, hid inside a cup in our kitchen, took a sick day on a Barbie bed & the first night he came, they found him in the bathroom sink full of marshmallows. They have never thought he was scary.
    • Erin Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
      I do think that some of the ideas are cute but I don't know how everyone has time for some of them. Do you find it takes up a lot of your time and does the Elf do something different each day?
  10. Dawn Baker Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
    I think you should be more afraid of scaring your children by your vulgar language than the elf's appearance.
    • Erin Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
      LOL!! Effer is vulgar?! Thankfully I only use language like this online and not in person - Willow can't read yet and doesn't know how to open up Chrome and navigate to our website... Think I just dodged a bullet.
      • Sam Thursday - 06 / 12 / 2012 Reply
        Yeah, I do agree the title of this entry is elfing vulgar. Not a good marketing approach to bash the most fun and popular holiday tradition in recent years. If you had tried it and didn't like it, that would make more sense but just to have an elfist attitude and bash something based on it's holiday appeal is nothing short of pure elfism. I thought people were above all this hate and negativity. What is wrong with people?
        • Erin Thursday - 06 / 12 / 2012 Reply
          I've changed the title to motherELFer. This should help dilute the vulgarity of the previous post title. :)
  11. Ashley E Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
    We have an Elf, it was given to the kids as a gift from a grandparent. They love it. We don't do anything elaborate with it though. He just gets moved to a new spot each night. And sometimes we forget to move him...
    • Erin Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
      We removed the plugin for the Twitter accounts - not sure what's going on with that! Strange. If I DID ever do the Elf on the Shelf, I'd just move him too :)
  12. Ashley E Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
    And sidenote... That's bot my Twitter account. Not sure how it got added.
  13. Jwolfert Wednesday - 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply
    I agree to an extent. The elf is rather creepy looking. My 7 year old was starting to lose her "Christmas Spirit" - I have a 2 year old and 5 month old as well. We introduced the elf (Bob Toodles McElfins) and my oldest has been SUPER excited about the holidays as a result! She wakes up every morning and tries to find Bob. Our elf does "naughty" things every once in a while - McKenzie looks forward to Bob's silly antics. I am a working mother and don't have time to remove my children's photos and replace them with photos of the elf - but he did TP our Christmas tree - totally worth the two minutes it took to clean up. I am so happy that I purchased the elf - it gave us another year of our daughter using her imagination and believing in magic :)
    • Erin Thursday - 06 / 12 / 2012 Reply
      I love that it brought your daughter's Christmas spirit back!
  14. Sam Thursday - 06 / 12 / 2012 Reply
    No WAY! The Elf is ~for~ the kids, the fun is ~for~ the kids and the magic and conversations they have with their friends is ~about~ the kids. you or I or others...the kids. People who hate on the elf are just no fun, cotton headed ninnymuggins holiday poopers. Put your personal grown up "isms" to the side, stop hating on the coolest Elf around and get in the Holiday spirit!! World does not need any more GRINCHES, that kind of crazy Elf hating talk rubs off on the kids and turns them into Holiday haters too!!! LOL ;-) Where is the Elf LOVE??
    • Erin Thursday - 06 / 12 / 2012 Reply
      Just because I don't like the Elf on the Shelf, doesn't make me a grinch... People out there detest ketchup but it doesn't mean they hate tomatoes and fruit in general. Know what I'm saying?
    • Jessica Friday - 07 / 12 / 2012 Reply
      Assuming Erin's dislike of the Elf on a Shelf equals an overall dislike of the holidays is ridiculous. Maybe Erin will celebrate the holidays in ungrinchlike ways like spending time with family and friends, reading holiday stories with her daughter, giving to others, writing gift-giving guides to help others while supporting local businesses, etc. rather than focus on the Elf.
  15. Melody Lachance Thursday - 06 / 12 / 2012 Reply
    wow, this sounds scarey at times, but I love the idea of the fun way people are using this Elf - I have to admit I have never seen these. But Erin, since we don't want to scare children into behaving, how do you think this would work on "husbands" or "Partners" when they just don't behave???? I think he would be overworked for some! Enjoy your blogs.
    • Erin Thursday - 06 / 12 / 2012 Reply
      HAHA!! Melody, I laughed out loud at your suggestion of using it on my husband. That's a great idea.
  16. Erine Thursday - 06 / 12 / 2012 Reply
    We have an elf named Kevin. Most mornings we forget to move him around, but that's okay because most mornings our kids forget he's there. They never go looking for him on their own. We don't do anything crazy with him either, although I set him up on Mia's Barbie scooter yesterday. Honestly, I think the Elf on the Shelf madness is yet another way Moms make each other feel inferior, whether they mean for it to be that way or not. This competitiveness about what you do with the elf is exhausting. There are so many other things that make me feel guilty, I certainly don't need this too. But there he is (this morning he's hung up with the Christmas decorations). Sigh.
    • Erin Thursday - 06 / 12 / 2012 Reply
      YES! This is exactly why I don't do the elf. (1) I have no time. (2) I'd feel bad that my elf wasn't as cool as the other elves on Facebook and Pinterest. (3) Willow is too young to appreciate anything like that. (4) I don't want her being good because an elf is watching and because it leads to presents. That smells like bribery to me and I'd prefer her to learn to be good because I said she had to be good versus an elf reporting back to Santa when she isn't.

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