I love the idea of Elf on the Shelf. It’s a great idea, a cute tradition and a new way to scare your children into behaving, which I am always a fan of. I also love the success story of the stubborn mother-daughters team that turned their small family tradition into a million dollar empire.
Here are some random thoughts about Elf on the Shelf from yours truly.
1) Ok, I want to buy one of these. Kiddo is two and a half years old now and actually understands the concept of Christmas this year. And by “the concept of Christmas,” I mean that Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer is flying around up there right now and will come down at some point. The presents part is still kind of vague. She could give a hoot about Santa, it’s ALL about Rudolf.
But she would totally understand the whole Elf on the Shelf concept and that would be fun. So ok, I’m going to go get one. Let me just… THIRTY DOLLARS?! For a cheaply made little elf and a book?? Well goddamn! I may need to rethink this.
2) This Elf is kind of creepy looking. But I kinda like it! It sets itself apart from the eight million other Christmas things that my mother has hung up these days (the house looks like Santa Claus exploded in some sort of tragic yet delightful accident – which isn’t a bad thing at all in my book, by the way).
It looks old timey. (Or Olde Tymey.) It harkens back to the days when children only had wooden tops and jacks to play with. (Your friends are getting iPhones, you say? Oh hell no, you get two cans connected by a string. You’ll take it and you’ll like it.) Back when kids played something called “Kick the Can” and “Stick Ball” in the streets. For Christmas they received a blown up pig bladder to bat around like a balloon a la Laura Ingalls Wilder, and if they were lucky, they would wake to find in their stocking a swatch of calico and a single orange.
This Elf also looks kind of scary. Like it might come alive and bite you in the middle of the night. Which is great, because it will add to that fear factor that I’m looking for when threatening my child into behaving. A mother must be both loved and feared. So must elves.
Remember that movie with little Drew Barrymore where that horrible, horrible troll attacked her at night when she was sleeping? And then her cat battled the troll and it ended up getting thrown into a box fan and exploding all over the place? And later her mom or dad found his tiny decapitated arm, still clutching a spear or something? Jesus, that scared the piss out of me as a kid. It was that unspecified fear that kept me in line when it was time to wash the dishes or clean up my toys. And it is that fear that I hope to instill to my own child around the holidays. YOU BEST BEHAVE OR SOMETHING UNSPECIFIED AND CREEPY AND AWFUL WILL GET YOU. Ahh, the circle of life.
3) I noticed there were options. You could choose a boy elf or a girl elf. I am still debating between genders. On one hand, I want to show my daughter that a female elf has an important job in Santa’s Empire. Perhaps she can be a role model for Kiddo, and she may cultivate dreams of working for the NSA one day. But then I kind of feel like this is a rather tedious and thankless job, sitting around all day, watching a two-year old eat her hot dog and watch her Umi Zoomi episodes, occassionally pausing to throw a fit or crap herself. You can take this menial job and shove it, Santa, Sister Elf is off to study IT Network Securities and perhaps do a little traveling. Let the boy elf do this job, it’ll probably just be a stepping stone on his fast-track to the top, the sonofabitch.
So, I’m undecided.
There is also the “Classic Elf on the Shelf” (read: For White People) and the “Dark Skin Ethnic Elf on the Shelf” option (read: For Everyone Else, Clumped Together). How nice that the ethnics can feel included as well! I looked at the options:
That’s it? That’s the “dark skinned” elf? What I’m seeing here is a beige, almost yellowish elf with brown hair and blue eyes, and then the exact same elf who is a slightly darker beige, perhaps “tan,” elf with black hair and light brown eyes. That’s the Brother Elf? The Asian Elf? The Latino Elf (El Elfo? Enano? Duende?)? I mean, maybe in a Marco Rubio sort of way, I guess. But come on. It’s 2013. I want to scare my kid with elves of multiple genders and gender-identities and race and ethnicities. And I won’t rest until I CAN.
In the end, I decided that $30 was too much for my frugal ass to pay for an official Elf on the Shelf box kit. Instead, I decided on a Game of Thrones Jon Snow action figure.
He’s small and easily hideable, free since he was a gift, has great hair and yields a sword. We’ll call it… a “Christmas Sword.” Look at those empty, souless eyes! This elf does NOT fuck around. We’ll call him… “Jon Snowman Elf.”
Let the holiday traditions begin!