The holidays are my jam.
You will never find a happier, more hospitable, more generous me. I make gingerbread from scratch every year, each time forgetting how gross it is and deck my halls before the Thanksgiving turkey has even been ordered. Give me fake snow, LED curtain lights, and all the Candace Cameron Bure holiday vehicles. I am so in.
I come from holiday-loving stock. My parents only desire was to make sure my brother and I had a better Christmas than the previous one. Oh yes, they brought us to church where we learned all about the real “reason for the season” too, but even a magical pregnant virgin couldn’t compete with flying reindeer, misfit toys, and little elves who could build the exact same Lite Bright that was in the Toys R Us catalog. Every December 25th, my brother and I woke up to a living room filled with Rock Em Sock Em Robots, Legos, and Barbie’s Dream Gated Community. Didn’t matter that some of the toys had Kmart price tags on them or that Santa had the exact same chicken scratch as our mom. What mattered was the cookies left on the mantle had been eaten and the tuft of stuffing near the front door indicated Rudolph was almost positively definitely inside our house.
It was pure magic.
Now I am the parent of a four year-old who is just beginning to understand the magic of holiday fallacies. And because I’m me, we totally bought into the whole Elf on the Shelf deal last year. If you’re familiar, the Elf comes to stay with your family sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas and returns home to the North Pole every night to give Santa a rundown on the day’s activities. The next morning the child delights in finding their elf residing in a new spot around your home.
Pure magic, right?
Well, sort of.
As it turns out the little imp is rather contentious. A lot of people despise this thing. Like hate it’s stupid, stuffed, little guts.
I of course am not one of those people. I revere our elf almost as much as our son does. When she made her return trip Thanksgiving morning, my son could barely hold it together. He woke us up, nearly in tears, and dragged us to the living room where I was certain he’d point out our dead cat (she’s been tormenting the dog for years) or the ol’ bearded one himself ass up in the fireplace. But nope. He pointed to the dining room table where the rosy cheeked “Elfalina” sat perched on a Mason jar.
“She came back,” he whispered.
Do you not see thePURE MAGIC here???
Well, magic mixed with animosity. For some reason people aren’t digging a stuffed doll that not only airs your dirty laundry, but tells Santa it took you six days to fold it. Perhaps you’ve heard the hateful allegations lobbed against elves. Perhaps you’ve been deterred from inviting your very own shelf-sitter into your home. But wait! These are also holiday fallacies (the bad kind) and hold as much water as a tree stand from a dollar store. (Pro Tip: don’t buy a tree stand from a dollar store.)
Fallacy: It’s Too Much Work
Fact: I have a full time job, a demanding kid, and a DVR full of Bravo television that isn’t going to lay on the couch, moderately buzzed, and watch itself! I’m super lazy and yet, I still manage to muster the physical strength to pick up a three ounce doll and move it from a houseplant to behind a canister of coffee.
Yes, I’ve seen the Pinterest pages and Instagram accounts dedicated to the elite elf movers and shakers. There’s one riding away in a bouquet of candy cane colored hot air balloons! Oh look! There’s an elf who was up all night baking and decorating miniature sugar cookies! Oh har har, your neighbor’s elf poops Hershey Kisses. So cute. Hey man, whatever works because your the one setting expectations. Maybe your elf never leaves her perch. Maybe the elf prefers to communicate through Instagram posts. Your elf, your rules.
Fallacy: It’s Creepy
Fact: If your elf is creepy, stop right now, get the box it came in, and READ IT! Does it say Chuckie on the Shelf? Little Girl from The Ring on the Shelf? High-Profile Man in Hollywood on the Shelf? Because our elf is a straight up stuffed, side-eye-giving toy with a cute backstory. If you’re worried about the creepiness factor, have your elf debut with a small offering for your child. Works like a charm. Santa’s been pulling that schtick for years.
Fallacy: It’s an Invasion of Privacy
Fact: “I don’t want that thing watching us!” They shriek. “What message is it sending to our kids?” I heard those arguments from a mom who constantly shares photos of her toddler daughter in the bath and her son’s potty training progress with her 649 Facebook friends. I’m pretty sure they didn’t sign a release.
First, the elf isn’t really watching you. (SEE: Stuffed toy.) The same can’t be said for the roly poly dude who has built an empire on voyeurism, bribery, and some light home invasion. You know, that guy who sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake? Hello, stalker! They learned it from watching him!
Fallacy: It’s Sending the Wrong Message
Fact: Sorry, what message are we talking about? The one where you’re supposed to be good for goodness sake? Again, our boy Santa is already perpetrating that myth. And really, what’s wrong with asking your kids to clean up their mess, eat a vegetable, and maybe not moon their grandparents when you’re Facetiming? Trust me, having a little imp to tag in once in awhile is pretty awesome.
Fallacy: They’re Dangerous
Fact: Well, you got me there.
See? The Elf on the Shelf is basically like having a free au pair your kids are sort of afraid of. At least for the month of December. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to figure out how to make a zipline from my son’s bedroom door the Christmas tree. Pure magic.