Elf on the Shelf makes me weirdly angry. Before anyone freaks out, not the parents who employ his services. Just him. The idea of him. The look of him. HIM.
Yes, there are plenty of philosophical reasons why I don’t like Elf on the Shelf, but let’s stick to the superficial stuff here—not the least of which is that he reminds me of the Poltergeist clown. What is he smiling at? And look into those eyes, I dare you.
But aside from that—and the fact that he’s a blatant marketing ploy, an attention hog and a traitorous spy—he’s just too much work. As a parent, you have to move him around your house every night, concoct clever trouble for him to get in and make a happy mess that he’s supposedly created.
Let’s talk about that last part: You’re supposed make a mess. Oh, sure, sometimes the elf can just sit there, but sometimes he apparently needs to do something clever and “naughty,” like getting into the Cheerios or making snow angels in spilled flour or engaging in a laundry fight with the stuffed animals. I have a 3-year-old and a baby. If I make any more of a mess, the city of New York is going to condemn my apartment.
So, sorry, Elf, you are not welcome in my house. Unless, of course, you make yourself useful. If so, you’re welcome at any time. Here’s my list of demands—er, requests.
• Do the dishes, and scrub the countertops for good measure.
• Dole out (non-creepy) massages.
• Make sure my 3-year-old doesn’t destroy the place while I get dressed in the morning. (This is more difficult than it sounds.)
• Walk the dog in the rain, sleet and snow.
• Make a mean dirty martini.
• Rock the baby back to sleep at 3 a.m. and/or make sure that I don’t fall asleep on the couch, sitting up and with my mouth delightfully open, when I need to feed her at some ungodly hour.
• Get my son to eat something other than chicken nuggets and yogurt.
• Wrap Santa’s Christmas presents.
• Change a soupy, poopy blown-out diaper. Scratch that—change all of them.
• Fold the obscene amount of laundry that I do on a weekly basis, including matching up each and every one of those teensy-tinsy baby socks.
• Coffee. Make it. Lots of it.
• Wipe that shit-eating grin off your awful little elf face.
Those are just a few ideas, Elf, but feel free to improvise to make my life easier! If not, step away from my (cluttered, dusty) shelf and let me Christmas in peace.
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*Photo credit: Sue McHugh