Alt-Parenting: The Elf Must Die

elfDecember 26, 2013: I wake up in a cold sweat. My heart is racing. Panic sets in. It’s the Elf … I forgot to move him again! Then I remember that Christmas is over, and the Elf is safely hiding in my lingerie drawer next to my vibrator (a place that has sadly remained otherwise untouched for years). I breathe a sigh of relief and try to go back to sleep.

This scenario is all too familiar. Most people I speak to readily admit that the Elf on the Shelf is a major source of stress and annoyance in their already hectic holiday lives. I know there are a scant few of you who pride yourselves on discovering adorable antics in which your Elf can engage so you can delight your children and impress your Facebook friends with photos of your creativity. Maybe you even peruse the various Elf on the Shelf Pinterest Boards to gather fresh ideas. Perhaps you’re even frightening enough to be the person creating those Elf on the Shelf Pinterest boards. Good for you. The rest of us, however, must revolt.

Like many, I received the Elf on the Shelf as a gift a few Christmases ago. At first I bought the concept, hook, line and sinker, as I gleefully introduced our Elf to my then 4-year-old son. He named him Sharper (Why? We’ll never know.), and he’s become a Christmas staple. Four years later, I despise that motherfucker and am desperately trying to figure out a way he can meet an untimely death without traumatizing my children too badly.


Admittedly, the first time the Elf makes his annual appearance it’s fun to watch the kids’ reaction. It’s also convenient to have him play watchdog and report all bad behavior to Santa. I quickly run out of fresh ideas, however, as there are generally only a handful of cute, fun hiding places in our house. This brings me, at most, to December 7, giving me 18 loooong evenings to, before falling into bed, find NEW creelfative hiding places — a process I’ve come to dread and resent.

If I forget, the kids are crestfallen. Why didn’t he move? They actually believe he’s real. I thought my older son was fairly intelligent, but his unwavering belief — even at the age of 8 — that this tiny stuffed doll moves at night and reports back to Santa simply mystifies me.

As December 1 approaches, I’m starting to get anxious about the Elf. It’s not because I’m a Scrooge-type; I actually love Christmas and can’t wait to put up the tree, shop like a hoarder, and bake 10 dozen cookies that will never be eaten. It’s what I do every year and I wouldn’t change a thing. That frigging Elf on the other hand …

So here’s what I propose: If we can agree to a national, or even statewide recall of the Elf, my dream would be realized. I know this is lofty, so how about a compromise — an agreed upon understanding that on December 10 the Elf must begin his long journey back to the North Pole and help Santa load the sleigh. That sounds realistic enough. It balances the Elf fun with some sanity for parents.

If you agree, please put a teal-painted Christmas tree at your front door, signaling that the Elf will not be seen at your house after December 10. Together we can make Christmas fun and relaxing again. Ok, that’s never going to happen, but at least we won’t have 25 long days of stressing over that creepy little stuffed doll. Who’s with me?