Saturday, November 16, 2013

I hate Elf on the Shelf and 86 other reasons why I am a bad parent

Recently I was wasting time on Facebook instead of doing laundry (#36 of why I am a bad parent) and came across a PDF calendar of someone's Elf on the Shelf's planned adventures. As in, like a day by day outline of where their elf would magically appear to spread Christmas cheer to their children. If you don't know about Elf on the Shelf, you've been living under a rock and you can read about it HERE. 
My personal favorite was the day suggesting I should make a dozen tiny donuts out of cheerios and fashion a tiny take out box for my elf and pose him in a model to scale version of Krispie-Kreme Donut shop complete with a real working conveyor and those tiny paper hats. (Ok, I made up the part about the donut store...) But still, really? Please keep in mind that this calendar was also published on NOVEMBER 16th. Our Elf is going to need a search and rescue party to dig him out of the Christmas Decorations about a week into December.
Don't get me wrong, on week number one of the elf, I was excited to move him about the house and watch Charlie's surprise every morning to see where Chippy could be. I simply moved him from one perch to the next in our house. Then Pinterest happened.
I saw pictures of other elves hang gliding from the ceiling on their parents underwear. I saw Elves spelling out words in m&m's and growing forests of lollipop trees. I'm not too proud to say I bought into this irrational behavior for several weeks. Chippy dyed our milk green and took a bath in a tiny tub with marshmallow bubbles. But soon, the magic wore off and my true self emerged.
Enter reason #47 I am a bad parent. When my kids go to bed I don't even like to get up to go the bathroom. I want to sit. Like I've never sat before. Every night I almost shed a tear when I have to pack lunches or put clothes in the laundry not much less build a house of cards and balance a stupid elf on top of it. There I said it.
Some people may argue that it takes focus off Christ at Christmas. For me, that's just not it. If that were the case then we need to throw 97% of our Christmas traditions right out the window, including presents. 
I guess in the long run it comes down to this for me. Why all the pressure? Especially at a time of year that is the pressure cooker of seasons.
Mom, I am talking to you right now. Let it go. If you want to Elf, by all means, Elf your heart out. Just don't buy into all the hype. Forgive yourself if you have to smuggle the elf under your shirt at the breakfast table and toss him haphazardly onto the ceiling fan of the next room because you forgot to move him from the night before. (Yes, I speak from experience, Reason #59) Get off Pinterest and sit on that couch after 8pm like no one has ever sat on that couch before. Especially at Christmas time. Spend those last 10 minutes of the night reading an extra book to your kids instead of creating a paper snowflake forest for your elf to frolic through. It's just not worth it. Some of the best memories are not the things that we over-design in an effort to make us feel like we are making memories, but the memories that just happen through our presence with our kids.
So this year will we be Elfing? Yes, I suppose so. Will I be making tiny cereal pastries complete with chocolate glaze and sprinkles? Heck no. Chippy's calendar will look something like this:
Day 1: Hang off the ceiling fan. Day 2: Sit on top of the table Day #3....You get the picture. I have to go. My couch is calling.


  1. Okay. I'll join you as a bad parent. . .All our elf does is bring two advent calendars-one is a lego one and the other is filled with goodies. . .the rest of the time, Steopa (Aidan's former Russian name) hangs out with Aidan and then sleeps with him until he goes back to the North Pole on Christmas Eve (He arrives the first Sunday of Advent). There are no snowball fights or any other magical stuff happening here. . .I sit, like you, on that couch and become a vegetable once Aidan is in bed. That's it. Just wanted you to know you are not alone. God bless! : )


    You are not the only one. Enjoy this.