This is our third year partaking in the Elf on a Shelf tradition. Our elf’s name is Elfie, and he stays with us every year from December 1 to December 24.
This year when D-Bop and Cookie discovered Elfie on that first day of December, we decided to read the story about the Elf on the Shelf to refresh
my their memories. When we finished D-Bop stared into Elfie’s plastic, creepy eyes and asked, “Is it all a joke?”
“What do you think?” I asked.
Pause. “I think it’s real.”
I can’t help thinking that for a moment HE GAVE ME AN OUT and I SHOULD HAVE TAKEN IT.
Because this is my experience with Elfie each year:
12/1: This is going to be so much fun and will totally add to the magic of Christmas! This year I’m going to stage epic Instagram-worthy scenes!…But tonight I’m tired so I’ll just put him in the Christmas tree.
12/3: “I know this is the third night in a row, D-Bop, but let’s read about the Elf on the Shelf again!”
12/5: Oh my God- this is totally making their Christmas! Every day they jump out of bed looking for Elfie! And now D-Bop is quoting the book by looking for ‘little old me!’ This is just too much fun!
12/7: (waking up at 3am and jumping out of bed) I forgot to hide Elfie!
12/8: (although I promised myself I wouldn’t do it this year) “D-Bop, I said clean up. Elfie is watching you. What is Santa going to say when Elfie gives him a bad report?”
12/9: I feel really bad I used Elfie to threaten my littles. Tonight is going to be extra special. Tonight Elfie is going to swing from the chandelier!…Except we don’t have one. Ok, he will hang from the light fixture!…Hmmm, he doesn’t really stay. Ok, Christmas tree it is.
12/12: I’m out of hiding places. It’s only the 12th? Crap, can I just put him in the tree again?
12/15: (7am) “Good morning, Cookie. Shit! I forgot to hide Elfie and HE IS IN D-BOP’S ROOM. Mac Daddy wake up! Take Cookie! No, the house is not on fire, but I forgot to hide Elfie! HURRY BEFORE D-BOP WAKES UP!!”
12/18: “D-BOP what do you not understand about Elfie watching you and reporting your bad behavior to Santa?!”
12/19: I feel really bad I used Elfie to threaten my littles. WAIT—HOW AM I GOING TO GET THEM TO LISTEN TO ME when Elfie flies home on Dec. 24?!
12/23: WHERE THE FUCK SHOULD I HIDE THIS GODDAMN ELF?!
But then somewhere in that month an exchange like this happens:
Me: Cookie, did you tell Santa what you want for Christmas?
Cookie: Yeah. (Pause. Realizes she hasn’t.) D!
Cookie: Ho ho ho. Elmo.
Me: D-Bop, she wants you to tell Santa that she would like an Elmo doll for Christmas.
D-Bop: Oh, ok. EL-FIE! Please tell Santa that Cookie would like an Elmo doll for Christmas. Thanks Elfie!
And just like that my heart melts. Elfie has made his case. He will HAVE to return next year…and every year… Until my littles do discover that it’s “all a joke.”