Okay, guys. I’m going to go ahead and preface by saying I’m no Scrooge and I am not bashing any of you parents who have gone the Elf on the Shelf route. I think the actual little Elf, itself, is precious and I understand that the idea behind it is less so teaching kids proper behavior and more so good, festive fun. This post is mostly targeted at myself and my inability to properly “mom”. With that said…
Mother of three boys and ruler of utter chaos, here. I know most of you have 2+ children, are rulers of your own chaotic kingdoms, and are still able to fulfill your Elf Shelf duties. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t envious of those time-management skills. And while I love my boys and the insanity they bring (that’s a lie. I am not a fan of the madness), I am the queen of absentmindedness. Case in point:
I struggle to remember what needs to be put on my grocery list. If I remember what needs to be written down, I forget to remember to put it in my purse. And if I remember to put it in my bag, the list will, inevitably, somehow get left behind in my car. And if, IF, that list actually makes it’s way into the grocery store, a breeze will steal it away in a last-ditch effort to give my attempt at organization the ultimate middle finger.
I left my phone at home Friday. Actually, I thought I’d left it on the roof of my car and lost it to the great outdoors. However, my husband was kind enough to send me a picture of it via messenger of it sitting on the bathtub. Because that’s CLEARLY where it belongs. (FACE. PALM.) Once I finally retrieved it, I realized I’d forgotten my wallet at the office. With my debit card, checkbook, and license in it. And also, my Burt’s Bees which, obviously, is infinitely more important than say, MY LICENSE.
I forgot to take my keys out of the front door last night after I’d unlocked it to get my heathens inside. After a frantic thirty minutes of searching for the “lost” keys the next morning, I found them on my way out said front door to search my vehicle. Y’all. I can’t make this crap up.
So do you guys really think I need to attempt to remember to move an elf every damned day of my life? No? I didn’t think so.
Listen, I’m from a generation where we didn’t need a rogue North Pole spy to remind us to behave — especially during the holidays. We fully relied on, and were totally okay with, being told once that Santa, an old man who knew our every flippin’ move, could see us 24/7. We didn’t need to see that Christmas-y creepiness to believe it — our parents took full advantage of our fear and
innocence stupidity. Nothing was ever moved, there were no elaborate schemes, and mom didn’t have to bold-faced lie to us with an outrageous story-line about why an Elf had or hadn’t been moved because THERE WAS NO FREAKING ELF NARC.
As a product of the eighties, I distinctly remember belting Alvin & the Chipmunk’s version of, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” on my Fisher-Price cassette player every day of my existence when I was a kid. Yes, even then I was that obnoxious person who played Christmas songs on loop all year ’round. There was no doubt in my mind that I risked “losing it all” if I didn’t get my act together. My parents didn’t have to waste precious hours of sleep and ungodly amounts of aluminum foil to keep us in check. The simple white-lie of Santa’s existence was enough to go on.
And I get it. These days, kids literally (think they) need elaborate plots and twists and turns. Most of these kids have everything on demand — and I’m not even talking about the bratty ones. No, today is very much an on-demand kind of life. So maybe the purest form of Christmas magic is simply fading into the background. I remember the excitement of driving around neighborhoods just to look at lights and decorations. These days? That simple kind of happiness just doesn’t exist. I can’t even say that my kids are ovely-excited at the prospect of light searching. Sure, they love the festive twinkling of lights that only come once a year. But does it thrill them? Not the way it did when we were kids. Now, if there aren’t a couple of inflated Nutcrackers in addition to the lights, it’s just… “meh”.
I guess I’m just too old-fashioned, and too absent-minded, to fully appreciate the newness that is Elf on the Shelf. Or, perhaps, I’m just stuck on the simpler magic. The things that left me breathless. The things that, growing up, I couldn’t wait to share with my own little ones.
I suppose, though, that traditions are fine but are sometimes meant to be broken or bent. Not only that, traditions are best when they’re made or reinvented with the ones you love. Rest assured, there is no hate for the Elf and his (or her) antics, and if y’all could package up some extra energy and Ginko Biloba and send it my way, that’d be swell. 😉