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December 26, 2014

Happy Boxing Day; the official holiday of surviving the Christmas Day maelstrom. The recycling bin is full to the brim with boxes, wrapping paper and one or two premier empty wine bottles, we have laundered the pajamas we spent all day in and the Toblerone bar has been opened and demolished.   (Okay, the Swiss chocolate eating was all me – but it is a tradition that Santa puts a Toblerone bar in my Usually Lovely Husband’s stocking each year and I find it and eat it.   I am a stickler for traditions after all.) New clothes are being jauntily modeled and the one size fits all gift my offspring most wanted this year has been tucked away into their wallets. It was a successful Christmas day with only one family dispute and one animal vomit.  What Christmas is complete without the kids insisting that the dog must try each one of the new treats that Santa brings and the cat gets all hopped up on catnip and one or other leaves us a warm oozy Christmas gift on the floor?   And I defy you to find one household that does not have an emotional outburst from extended family togetherness or a breakdown over some new gadget installation. Joyous Noel indeed.

elf-on-shelfSpeaking of holiday traditions – I feel I simply must go on official record as being completely against the newest small child commercial gimmick that is buying shelf space (literally) these days.   Have you heard of this “Elf On the Shelf” Phenomenon? It’s this creepy little elf doll with heroin addict eyes that sits around your house staring like a child predator at your offspring and then supposedly reporting back to Santa their evil activities throughout the day.  The public gets all up in arms about the NSA spying on citizens and creating paranoia yet no one has mentioned these disturbing little elves which may be causing psychiatric harm to our youngsters with their prying eyes and tattle tale scare tactics in a much more sinister fashion.elf-warning

In case you haven’t been privy to the “Elf On The Shelf” fright campaigns for children during the month of December, here is the down low. This is the label on the back of t
he box this little psychosomatic trauma comes in.

So this freakish mother named Carol had this elf doll that she told her kids was a “Scout Elf” from the North Pole sent to keep tabs on their nefarious behaviors in order to make sure Santa knew whether or not to put them on the good or bad lists at Christmas.  The kids are not allowed to touch the “Scout Elf” but they can tell him all their secrets so that she can sit in the next room and eavesdrop while they talk to this doll like a priest in a confessional.   The elf moves secretly around the house each day so that the children are never sure where it’s prying beady little eyes may be watching them from and quickly learn that no room provides sanctuary.   Carol “unwittingly learned that an added benefit” to this elf doll spying was that it “helped the children to better control themselves.”

To top that off.  This is the letter that comes with Captain Creepy Doll to your beloved children.elf-return-letter-printable

Oh. My. God.   This woman must have been pretty desperate to get her kids to behave. Obey your Mom and Dad?  Sounds like the words I would not allow at my wedding twenty five years ago. I think we all know which Mom at the preschool Carol was and we steered our kids clear at birthday parties and field trips from her little monsters. Carol is now filthy stinking rich from mass producing this infiltrator because parents everywhere are buying this ugly little goblin in a red and white suit and telling their kids that their moves are being monitored “AT ALL TIMES BECAUSE THERE IS A CREEPY LITTLE GNOME OGLING YOU RIGHT NOW”. Wow, Edward Snowden and Michael Rogers (Director of the National Security Agency) got nothing compared to Carol.

I know that many of us grew up knowing that Santa was magically aware of naughty and nice behavior, but you never felt his eyes physically following you across the room when you pinched your brother and ran away. Talk about developing paranoia from a young age.  We had better hope that the benefits for Mental Health improve dramatically by the time the wave of young children involved in this current elf trend reach adulthood.

When our progenies were young, Santa was the guy who made your stomach super nervous when you saw him in person and whose booming voice apologized over the phone when the Lego set you wanted more than anything in life was not available that year. (Thanks Uncle Ralph) He was kind, a little scary and magical all at once. He never would have sent spies to our house to specifically seek out bad behaviors to report back each night. It almost seems that this “Scout Elf” is just daring you to smack your sibling in the head with a Tonka truck.

catSo kids, come on round to my house. My cat may stare at you unblinkingly after she gets some good hits off her new catnip, but she won’t be reporting your nose picking and extra cookie snitching back to the North Pole. Santa in my world will be benevolent and continue to turn a blind eye to the avarices of small children because he knows in his soul that there is good in all of us.

PS – if anyone has truly had luck with The Elf On the Shelf curtailing disreputable activities could you let me know?   I hate the whole disturbing shelf elf trend, but I may just stick one in the fraternity house where my oldest son lives if there is a glimmer of hope that the college guys may stop and think once in a while. (Love them!  I mean it!)