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Michael Rielly

Why I Hate Elf on the Shelf

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Michael Rielly
Why I Hate The Elf On The Shelf
 
www.blogher.com
November 29, 2013

 

EXCERPT:

 

I'm not happy about this post. I love mocking ridiculous things, but I feel most comfortable poking fun at stuff I like. Things like my college football team, my kids' quirks, my brother's ability to get free stuff from anyone he meets, and how my mom identifies herself by name when she leaves me a message. "Oh, hi Amy. This is your mom. Susan." My favorite target is myself. But today I turn my disdain outward, to a society that complains about consumerism and too many commitments, but spends $30 dollars for the privilege of managing the "magic" of a cheaply made stuffed elf during the busiest month of the year.
 
Talk about a phenomenon. That elf has only been around since 2005, and by my estimation, is in 99% of houses in America with kids. I am the 1%. In case you are also in the 1% or if you don't have kids, The Elf on the Shelf is a small stuffed elf sold with an accompanying book about the "Christmas tradition" of elves being spies for Santa. The elf usually appears after Thanksgiving, and as a scout elf, is responsible for watching over the children of the house during the day, and reporting back to the North Pole in the evening. Each family names their elf, and the kids can talk to the elf, but not touch the elf. Apparently elves are allergic to dirty little children, and any contact results in the elf's magic fading. Sounds like a little shot of cinnamon will cure the elf of the kid germs, but who wants to piss off a narc? A kid that wants a craptastic Christmas, that's who.
 
Fans of The Elf on the Shelf swear by the magical properties that turn their kids into well behaved angels from Thanksgiving to Christmas, but I can scare my kids straight with the mere mention of Santa. I guess that's what I don't get. This is a busy time of year. People are stressed, especially moms, and I truly don't understand why one would choose to take on another task. It's one thing to park your elf on the mantle for the season, and maybe move him or her around a couple of times, but that's not enough. Your elf is supposed to be naughty. Make messes (that YOU make and then clean up). break things, move stuff around. WTF, elf? We invite you in our home, and you tear "poop" up? Fill the sink with marshmallows and have a party with Barbie in the "bubble bath"? We can't say anything because you're in Santa's inner circle? Sounds to me like we've brought a bully in the house. Hey kids, it's okay to let someone treat you badly if they are important. Or if they know someone important.

 

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Michael Rielly

I have to agree. This once cherished tradition has now been ruined by stupid parents that think it's okay to condone bad behavior.

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SCSanta

Not a fan either. It's bad enough that every kid I visit that has one always asks what the elf's name is. (I'm Santa, I should know...right?) But I actually have parents that get so caught up in the story, that they hang me out to dry with questions like..."Hey Santa...tell Billy what Cosmo the Elf told you about what he did last week" or things along that line. Hey Mom, Dad...the Elf doesn't really report to me every day...remember!!!

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Santa Marty

There are no elves on any of the shelves or anywhere else in our 1% home.

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Santa Bruce Geron

I agree with Santa Michael and SCSanta. It started off as a 'sweet tradition' but it has become bizarre. I don't appreciate when Dads tell me that they call their children on the phone with a "fake Santa voice" to ensure they behave but now we have big brother posing as an Elf. Not to mention how the story of the Elf now includes North Pole Behaviour spy. I'm all for expanding and growing more healthy Christmas Holiday Traditions, but this is band-aid solution for poor parenting.

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SantaStephen

Exactly what we need – more confirmations that our suspicions that our every action is watched by big brother. The conspiracy theorist win out.

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Santa Johnathan

We had one when I was a child that was actually from my father's childhood, so we were the first to get one for our children. It is what you make of it...our elf does nothing bad or to get in trouble, only silly things. He did change the milk pink and made a Christmas tree out of toilet paper in the guest bathroom, but nothing bad...just fun.

Again, it's what you make of it. As with most good things, in the hands of the stupid, and the perverse...anything can be ruined.

I'm sure it would not come as a shock...but our elf is custom...hahaha! He has a repainted face and a wire armature added to do more. :)

Seeing friends posting about them on Facebook, and even the giant parade balloon, made me not want to be one in the crowd.

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Morgan Putnam

Never cared for it either.  It always struck me as the worst sort of crass manufactured marketing meme.

 

I suppose it's perfect for a post 9/11 national security state though.

 

EDIT:

 

Another one I really loathe is "hide the pickle" .  Where I grew up that phrase had a different connotation altogether.

 

Don't care for that one at all!

Edited by Morgan

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MsDeeDee

Our daughter and son-in-law have an elf for our two grandchildren (ages 5 & 3).  However, their elf uses the opportunity of his arrival to share more about the meaning of Christmas and encourages them to give, love, help, and learn more about the meaning of Christmas.  He arrived at their home this morning and the picture below is what his arrival looked like.  There are 24 books wrapped so they can open one each day to be read to them before bedtime.  He left a fun and yummy breakfast for them and also a note explaining what his plans are with them this month.  I wish more folks would use their elf to encourage children in the true meaning of Christmas.  

elf_2013.jpg

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JimBoone

I agree about the Elf, but guess in this day of the NSA, it is time to get kids used to being spied on at all times. Narc on the shelf. I do remind parents, if they seem the type to get the joke, that the Elf reports on EVERYTHING that goes on in the house, not just the kids. This gets a laugh and sometimes a guilty smirk.

 

When asked what the elf has said, I look thoughtful and say they told me something about yesterday, and ask the child what it might be, get some interesting and honest answers about behavior/teasing etc, and that gives Santa the opportunity to say to try harder/do better etc.

 

Make the best of a bad thing I say.  I often tell kids that their elfs are complaining and saying they want to go to a diferent house because the kids are so good that it is boring there. Reinforce the positive.

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JohnR Santa

Here is another take on the elf that a very special young lady wanted for Christmas. After watching the video, please help if you are so inclined. Personally, I am not a big fan of the elf, nor of the company that does them (that is another story for another day). 

 

http://www.kctv5.com/story/24107248/santa-needs-special-elves-to-help-cancer-stricken-girl

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Santa Bruce Geron

I'm more of a Dwarf in the Drawer person.

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SantaAlbert

WAIT! Soon there will be a movie...then a weekly cartoon, and on and on. 

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Santa Johnathan

WAIT! Soon there will be a movie...then a weekly cartoon, and on and on. 

91qEN7NoPEL._SL1500_.jpg

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Santa Forbey

My elves are mostly busy making toys and maintaining the North Pole. I simply do not have any I can spare as household spies ... That is what moms, dads and Santa's Helpers are for.

I do have a "Grouch in the House"; but, my wife gets a tad huffy when I refer to her that way! LOL

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Santa Johnathan

For those visiting homes, regardless of if you like it or not, I would ask if there is an Elf on the Shelf and if so, what is it's name. Last year I was very surprised on how many asked about their elf during the season, and visiting with children this past weekend at my show, I had two requests about their family elf. 

 

It's been said here before, but I always ask about the behavior of the elf for the parents to hear. I say quite clearly for parents, "if I find an elf being a bad example and not doing what they are trained to do, they will be required to remain at the North Pole as scout elves must follow a strict code of conduct." 

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Santa Castor

I refute the Elf because he represents the worst representation of Christianity. He teaches the children that God is a being that is constantly watching and waiting for you to screw up and fall short of the requirements to receive the gift. How sad. How much nicer would it be if we could use Santa to reflect the Good News....we all screw up, but the gift is available to all that believe, there is no other requirements. Can't we take Christmas back???

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MsDeeDee

I refute the Elf because he represents the worst representation of Christianity. He teaches the children that God is a being that is constantly watching and waiting for you to screw up and fall short of the requirements to receive the gift. How sad. How much nicer would it be if we could use Santa to reflect the Good News....we all screw up, but the gift is available to all that believe, there is no other requirements. Can't we take Christmas back???

Our grandkids don't have an elf that "watches" their behavior and reports to Santa.  They've been told that only God knows everything about them, He loves them unconditionally and is a forgiving God.  Their elf is just another tool to help teach them scripture, help build nativity scenes for them to finish, help them fill shoe boxes for kids in need, make cookies to take to the nursing home, and many other positive things.  The elf is an inanimate object that does NOTHING without parental guidance in how he is used and the message that is shared.  

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Santa Curtis

Personally, I Find the story and idea a bit creepy. I want children to learn to be nice to others and do good things because it is the right thing to do. Not because, if you are mean or do bad, a spy will tell a powerful person about it. Who will then punish you. If that really worked, jails and prisons would only have first time offenders and recidivism rates would be zero.

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Michael Rielly
Chris Capstone

I'm more of a Dwarf in the Drawer person.

 

First chuckle of my day, thanks bro!

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Santa Johnny Boy

The story of Elf on the Shelf has been around for a long time - someone just picked up on it,  and with good marketing was able to create a fortune.

Here's the original Elves that sold at the 5 & 10 stores for about 29 cents in the 1960's:

gallery_248_924_282952.jpg

I find less kids talking about Elf on a Shelf and think the whole trend will disappear in a year or two.

 

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KKringle

I have some of those original eleves. I also have my own variation of elves that we have in Kringleville. They look nothing like the new "elves on the Shleves", but kids know what they are.  Look, my parants used many tactics when we were kids and yes an Elf on the Shelf was part of it. That was in the early 1970's. It was just like phone calls to Santa. It was part of our childhood and the magic. It is what made us great believers and still does.  We had elves year round though and not just at Christmas.  At Kringleville, almost every child has an Elf on the Shelf. It hasn't affected my portrayal and actually it has worked out OK. When kids mention their elf, I ask them which one is staying with them and then I say, " Oh yes, he or she has been watching you and they are sending me reports that you are trying your best to be good. Of course no one is perfect and sometimes you make mistakes and that is something you should work on." It has not hindered the magic.  I like the idea of the elves moving around the house while the children are sleeping or away, but I think the elf playing dirty tricks on the families is sad.  Why do people have to ruin a good thing?  That is just my two cents.

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Santa Johnathan

What will be interesting to see is how this company will try and remain profitable. If almost every family has one, they don't need to buy one. If they don't need to buy one, how is this company to survive? I see they are making elf clothes, and plush elves, but it doesn't seem they are selling to me. I noticed a cousin of mine on Facebook said she bought one for each of her children, so they all have their own elf!? Now that just seems like a headache...but perhaps that is the next step. 

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KKringle

Just a memory of my early years as a teachers. I had this little rubber bendable elf that used to come into my classroom and when the kids were a recess or in art, gym class etc. he would move around the room and leave little foot prints. Watercolor markers were awesome and cleaned well. The kids loved it. Today those kids are now adults with children and when they see me on the street as myself, they always mentioned how much fun they had in my class and the magic I brought to them. Many also mention my little elf and that it taught them to try and behave because you never know who is watching you.  I was doing that long before the fad of today. It has it's power. I don't think there is anything wrong with fostering good behavior. If you can't buy an elf on the shelf, sew one, make one.  It is not that hard.

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