It’s that time of year. You know, when we are all at the ready on our respective sides, ready to battle over the most controversial topic to hit the internet since the whole Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays debate. When you find yourself posed at your keyboard, ready to battle on the internet because of that one little thing that’s flooding your various social media streams. Are you ready to stand your ground?!
The Elf. It’s back.
There are the people who announce with much vigor their utter distaste for this new found tradition. It’s not enough for them to hide the pictures or updates from their social feeds. They’ll take the time and energy to write a status making sure everyone on their lists know of their grinch-like loathing for this somewhat creeptastic doll. They don’t want to see your little elf in it’s various positions, getting up to elf business, and they want you to know how they feel about it. Which, in case you didn’t know was hatred. They hate that doll so much. You need to know that.
We can’t forget the other side, of course. The Elf Pushers. The same ones who post daily updates on their social media. They may even have a hashtag for their little elf friend. The pictures range from the basic, “Our elf is back!” to elaborate set ups that were obvious pilfered from Pinterest. Ones that make you wonder just how much time and energy they have, where they find it, and if they drink a lot. They brag of spreadsheets full of the elfing schedule, proud of the time they’ve spent integrating this into their holiday traditions. They don’t care if you want to see the doll. They have a god-given elf right to show you everything this little bugger does for the next 24 days.
Then there is the people like me. We introduced the elf years ago before it became incredibly popular. He’s never done anything naughty, never anything overtly elaborate, and basically, the lazy elf just moves from place to place in our house, and delivers the letters to Santa. Some nights, he doesn’t even move positions. I think we got a dud, in all honesty. I want some pancakes in the shapes of Christmas trees, dammit.
However, this month, I pulled a stunt with our elf that I’m not sure to be proud of or ashamed of. I think I’d be shamed by both of the respective camps on this one.
You see, the kids seem to have lost that part of their ears that allows them to listen. It could be a combination of the fact that the bad weather has set in, and that my husband has been working crazy hours. No matter what the issue is, I’ve become tired of not being listened to, and winding up yelling at the end of the day because OH MY GOD DID YOU SERIOUSLY JUST MESS UP THE LIVING ROOM WE JUST CLEANED FOR THE LAST HOUR?! OH AND YOU DUMPED ALL YOUR CLEAN CLOTHES ALL OVER THE FLOOR? THE ONES I JUST FOLDED? NO. NO. NO.
Yeah. Something like that.
On the night before our Elf, Locker arrived, I mentioned at the dinner table that it was likely he would show up soon. The two kids bounded into the living room to scope out all the places he might hide, remembered the ones he used the year before, and wondered if he was going to bring them a new present like he always does on his first day in our house.
I piped in, “I don’t know, you guys haven’t really been listening very well lately, so I don’t know if you’ll get a present. Besides, that’s not what’s important about Christmas.”
My daughter raced back to the kitchen table, her green eyes wide.
“Where are the broken ornaments, Mama?”
“On the shelf still….why?” I asked curiously.
“We need to hide them so Locker doesn’t see them.”
I burst out laughing because that’s precisely the exact reaction I would have had as a child if I was told that there was a creepy spying doll in my house who was watching my every move. She has a beautiful, clever mind, just like her mother.
The next day, of course, there were no presents. My son asked Locker why there were none before we sat down for breakfast where I explained again that getting presents wasn’t what this was all about. They didn’t really hear anything I said because the two kids were discussing whether he’d just forgotten them. They clearly didn’t get the point I was making. Do you remember what I said about the not listening?
I decided I was going to make my point. So I composed composed what can only be described as a pretty manipulative elf letter. Okay, it probably wasn’t that bad, but I felt bad for making an inanimate object do my dirty work. Obviously not guilty enough because it was printed out and put with the elf before I went to bed. In case anyone calls my humanity into question, I did feel guilt. For a moment. Then I remembered all the nights of high blood pressure, and twitching eyes. And refolding laundry. Do you know how much I hate laundry?
Whatever. It’s not my finest moment, ya’ll. I know. Bring on those pitchforks!
It worked though, for now, of course. I know in a year or two, this will never fly. It wasn’t even the listening that was particularly the issue I wanted to address. I was concerned that they saw this as another opportunity to get something when I really want them to learn that the truest magic of the holiday season comes from being with loved ones and giving back. They discussed all the kids who didn’t get presents, and they decided they’d much rather that some other child got one instead. They discussed all the ways they could make sure they were being kind to everyone, and each other. They talked about sorting through their toys to donate the ones they don’t play with.
As my son got his winter gear on for school, he leaned down the stairs and whispered in my ear, “I’m sorry for not listening, Mama. I’ll do better. I promise.”
I pulled him in for a hug and said, “I know you will. It’s hard work to listen sometimes. Thank you for apologizing.”
This is about as crazy as I’ll get with our elf. Hopefully when the kids realize that it’s their father and I moving the Elf around they won’t be too traumatized by the letter, and we’ll laugh about the lengths we went to to drive home our point. Or maybe we’ll be paying for therapy for years to come because of this damn elf.
Either way, it’s just a tradition. Take it or leave it. But guys? Adults pissing and moaning, or competing over a damn doll? It’s the very definition of first world problems. If you aren’t careful, I’ll send ya’ll a little elf letter telling you to get your shit together and move on.