Elfie is coming back on Wednesday. You excited?
He puts up the tree, remember? Then we decorate it.
He’s excited to see you. He texted me.
The problem is, I don’t want to stop. Elfie is a member of the family. That little elf monster thing has invaded our home for eight years now. That’s 56 in dog years.
Of course, my daughter was five when she got him, so the reactions have definitely changed since then. Today, as a teenager, she’s not really on the Elf on a Shelf bandwagon anymore. Silent stares say so much.
I can relate to that. When she was a baby, I’d do that new-parent thing where I declared my kid wouldn’t participate in money-grabs by big companies. You make all sorts of loud arguments against things that most kids do and proudly tell everyone how your child won’t ever touch a screen or eat a grain of sugar. You will be different.
Then the world gets hold of them and suddenly you’re texting your kid about what Lululemon thing she wants from Santa. Welcome to the funhouse, Daddy Christmas.
For the first four years, though, no elf. In my made-up mind, Santa Claus was enough. We didn’t have room for an elf here. Other kids have it, but we didn’t. That is, until the day she came home from school and sadly told me how Santa must be upset because he didn’t send us an Elf on the Shelf.
My heart broke over this sad little elf-less kindergartener who knew of this magical being, but didn’t know why she didn’t get one. She didn’t know about how her dad was taking a stand against Hasbro or whoever the hell hawks this gimmick. She just knew she didn’t have one. My brain kicked in at that exact moment.
I asked if she remembered to request one from Santa out loud when by herself. That’s how to make the magic happens at this time of year or whatever horseradish I spit out. She went into the bathroom and closed the door. I could hear her little voice say, “Santa, please send an Elf.” It was break-your-heart elfin’ adorable.
Now, if I was in on some conspiracy scheme, this would have been the time to call my then-wife and ask her to pick one up on the way home. I could have snuck into the living room and sat on the couch, away from the bathroom, and whispered it.
Luckily, I didn’t have to do that because later, he was magically there. Up on the corner living room shelf. There was Elfie.
He brought our tree out of storage to begin the season and hopped around for 25 days. Elfie has wrestled action figures, recreated Spiderman, and gone through an Emo phase. That little guy has been through the ringer.
She doesn’t remember the time he was accidentally touched, which legend says, “drains him of his power”. We had to sprinkle glitter on him to bring him back to life. It was like a scene from a horror movie.
Or the ratty little kid who told her that “Elfie isn’t a real name” so we had to change it to “Mark” for two weeks before deciding the Mark sucks and making him Elfie again. That little guy has a lot of history in him.
My son never cared much for the elf or his history though. Autism, non-verbal, too cool for the room – take your pick. He’s just not an Elfie-fan. Now, sadly, neither is she. The day has come. Should I celebrate?
I mean, after all, I’m on Facebook too. I see you all complaining about the elf’s movements and I, just like you, have been too tired to think when he does his nightly trek. Those are the mornings when the kids get up to find him in a bowl of cereal.
What is he doing?
I don’t know. Eat.
That was then. This is now. Sure, she might still enjoy it now and again, but let’s be honest. The show is over. My kids are no longer feeling the Elf on a Shelf.
Yet, he’s still coming.
He’s still going to be moving and getting into ridiculous hijinks. He’s going to fly and love and dance and sing and why? I don’t know. I’m the last one left he’s doing it for, but he’s still doing it.
Will he ever stop? Who knows? I don’t want him to. I like it. Is that weird? The pressure of finding him in a new spot each day and the continuity of creating scenarios are both soothing. It’s like making school lunches. You hate it, but there’s a comfort in it. After this, I can finally rest for the night.
Plus, let’s be honest. The Elf is fun and I like him. In the movies I saw as a kid, the grumpiest people stopped doing Christmas magic and, as the credits rolled, they were usually hopping around in holiday cheer. I’d like to skip right to that happy part in my own life. So that’s what I’m doing. The elf stays. No more discussion. God bless us, every one.
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