I love Christmas. Cheesy pop music, melodic carols, twinkling lights, the laughter of children, the magical whimsy of Santa, family time, copious amounts of eating, drinking and merry-making. I bloody love all that. I want you to know that, before you read the rest of this, so I can’t be accused of being a miserly old curmudgeon with a side order of Grinch. I love Christmas. Mother-pukking love it.
But I am about to draw the line, to say, “enough now”, to call time on the “fun”. Here is the line: the Elf on the Shelf [that relentless children’s book series-turned-merchandise enterprise]. Beady eyed, creepy little hypocrites. I hate them. They suck. They are the worst thing to happen to Christmas since the inclusion of the sprout.
Why do I hate them? Why wouldn’t I? Firstly, they are fugly. They are poorly stuffed and unnecessarily gangly-limbed, and their scary dead eyes suggest they will murder you in your sleep. They are your basic nightmare, the Harold Shipman of toys, the decoration of doom. Why would I inflict this creature of the dark side on myself and the impressionable small humans for a whole month?
Appearances aside, they are mean. “Ooh don’t touch me, kids, don’t play with me, I can’t stand dirty little children, I might look like fun but I am basically going to watch your every move in the run up to the most exciting, giddy-making time of your little year, and report back to Santa every time you put a foot out of line, thus turning the jolly jelly-bellied figure of festive comfort you love so much into a threatening ominous monster.”
Any value this has in making the small humans behave is grossly outweighed by the sheer amount of time and effort we parents have to spend coming up with crazy japes for this judgmental little imp to get up to. The creative competitive blather this opens up is just something that has to be witnessed to be believed. I cannot be arsed, frankly. I have Christmas to get ready for; shopping, planning, wrapping, decorating, and excuse me but moving a crummy little telltale round the house just doesn’t factor in my things I can be bothered with.
This is further compounded by the fact that the duplicitous wee informers actually behave like naughty children while all the while passing on any naughtiness on behalf of the kids to Santa. That’s just mixed messages, truthfully. “Ooh check me out kids, I’m gonna tell Santa you pinched your brother so you’ll get no presents, but I’m gonna defecate chocolate-drop turds all over the dining table and walk icing sugar footprints all over the kitchen, that’s how much of an arrogant arse I am.” (My Elf on the Shelf voice, incidentally, is a horrific blend of Joe Pasquale and Britney Spears, in case you’re wondering. Don’t have nightmares.)
The elf on the shelf is just another person you have to clear up after. He’ll trash your house and you’re meant to love him for it. You’ll spend hours thinking about how to outdo last year’s hilarious capers, researching on Pinterest how to nail this “tradition”, and clearing melted marshmallows off the coffee table, when you could be having a cuppa and reading a book. No thanks, I’ll pass.
You can invite this moronic little ne’er-do-well into your festive abodes. Go nuts. Treat yourselves. But I decline. My shelves are festooned with knickknacks and dust. I choose elf-free festivities, even though this might prove problematic when my kids want to know why so-and-so has an Elf and we don’t. And that’s okay. I have that covered too. We don’t have an elf because I have a direct line to Santa, so the presence of an elf spy is not required. How did I get that? I once saved the Tooth Fairy from the clutches of a rabid Easter Bunny, assisted only by a Carebear and an enchanted carrot.