U: The Unknown
“Christmas gift parent advisory: do not buy the Elf on the Shelf. It is advertised to change places in your house while you are sleeping but it doesn’t. We returned our first box and haven’t had any better luck with the second. So far the elf has just been sitting in the box. The kids have been so disappointed. Just giving everyone a heads up on this.” – -Facebook post by my husband, December 24.
Okay, so we know that as parents we actually have to move the elf ourselves. Most chimed in with comments on his Facebook page that conveyed that they (wink, wink : )) understood that we knew what our role was. However, we did have one person suggest that I call her because “…my brother and wife have had one for a few years and what they do is hilarious I plan to get one on sale for next year. It’s not what the elf does – it’s what you do with the elf.” Now that response, Michelle, is hilarious.
The Elf is mainstream holiday culture. We got ours last year. In a culture where easy and consistent access to technology is available to our kids, the Elf for parents represents a third-party way to impose a looming threat over their Christmas gifts. Gifts that by the way, are totally technology related. We put restrictions on technology and tv time. We said that if they limited their screen time the Elf would give Santa the green light to deliver presents on their wish list, which included a Wii.
Parents are willing to pay $29.95 for this small Elf in a big box with a story. At least I feel better when I look at the mother/daughter team that chose to capitalize on this tradition. We take him out the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) and he works for a month. That’s about a dollar a day. Worth it, I’d say.
Our Elf is pretty boring. Others, as witnessed by Facebook posts and photos, have elves that are much more mischievous. Some fly paper airplanes, some get entangled in toilet paper, others make a mess in the kitchen or slide down the banister (see Pinterest for ideas).
I’m making a promise to get more mischievous next year – that is, if my future 8 and 10-year-old will even pay attention. I, in intro-Elf mode, have to say the guilt of forgetting to move him nightly mirrored the times when I’ve forgotten to leave money from the Tooth Fairy. I have made up a ton of excuses as to why the Elf might have chosen not to move from his post from the previous day. That was as creative as it got. Next year, I’ll be armed with new ideas! Any Elf on the Shelf stories to share? Michelle?