I first heard of the Elf on the Shelf a couple of years ago from one of my daughters. Little did I know that I would curse the day some well intentioned mother came up with this now clearly misguided tradition.
Innocently, I fully intended to pick up one back then but the $30 price tag seemed a little unreasonable. But Christmas 2010 approached and that darn Elf was back in the “begging Mommy” rotation. Maybe they caught me at the right time because I resolved to get the Elf on the Shelf. But with only a couple of weeks until Christmas, I needed to get one in a hurry.
Enter Rachel, my new personal assistant. I assigned her the task of locating the illustrious, soon to be known as elusive, Elf on the Shelf. Oh but I also needed a Black or Latino one that best resembled my children. But we’re talking about Rachel here, so with just a few calls she has one being held for me at the Barnes and Nobles at Carolina Place Mall in Pineville, NC. And a Black one at that. Or so we thought…
Apparently that Elf moves around more places than just in your home. When I arrive at Barnes and Nobles, the Elf of the Shelf being held for me was fair skinned and blue eyed. Now while we come in all shades and colors, this Elf on the Shelf wasn’t going to do if we wanted it to look like the little ones at our house. Someone else had grabbed the last one I wanted despite Rachel’s thorough checking to make sure it would be a good fit for our family. Next time she’ll learn to threaten the lives of the customer service reps answering the phone to make sure they get it right.
I called Rachel from the car to tell her about the mix up. But more importantly to express to her how I needed an Elf on the Shelf, and the right one, by the next day. The babies were waiting for it of course. Rachel didn’t skip a beat as she located one on the other side of town. And in true Rachel form, she told me she would pick it up that same night and bring it into the office in the morning.
When Rachel came into the office with the Elf on the Shelf in tow, she told me how she had spoken to her best friend while on route to the Elf pick up. After explaining to her friend that at 8pm in the cold, she was going to Borders Bookstore at Northlake Mall to get her boss an Elf on the Shelf for her kids; Her friend aptly commented that her job was like the movie The Devil Wears Prada. And at that moment I was truly proud of myself for that!
Now fast forward to Christmas 2011. The Elf on the Shelf now named Elfie has returned for its second year of spying on the kids for Santa to report who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. Which again seems like a fabulous tradition to have for our family. Except…First, that darn thing is freaky. It has this mischievous grin and side stare which can only bring back bad memories of that Chucky doll in the movie Child’s Play. And we know it didn’t end too well for the family that bought that doll.
Now that well intentioned mother who came up with this also certainly didn’t take into consideration that I can barely remember to pick up my kids much less every night remember to move that darn Elf to a new location. Because you see Elfie returns to the North Pole every night and reappears the next morning in a new place that the little ones must uncover. You can only imagine how many stories I had to come up with to explain why Elfie was still sitting on the mantel the next morning. Come to think of it, it’s 2:12am as I write this and that darn Elf has to be moved again. Hold on one second while I move it, or else I’ll forget and have to explain to my worried children that Elfie is ok, but had an upper respiratory infection and the doctor didn’t recommend flying that night (sigh).
Ok I’m back now and Elfie has made it’s move to the breakfast table’s lazy susan. This Elf on the Shelf thing has brought many mommies to tears and children too. It certainly has caused me enough stress as if I need any more. So take this as a warning, unless you want to become responsible every year, from November to January, for the travel plans of yet another individual in your house, leave the Elf on the Shelf in the store! And for those mommies that are already in the throws of life with an Elf on the Shelf, I’ve started an online support group…