On the surface, Elf on the Shelf is just my kind of thing. When I was on maternity leave with my youngest baby, for instance, I would set up my oldest daughter’s Minnie Mouse in various scenarios around the house every day while she was at preschool. Occasionally I pack my kids a Pinterest-worthy lunch. And I make them an Advent calendar every year with a different activity for every day. But there is no Elf in our house, and there never will be. For a few reasons.
- I will not threaten my kids with consequences I won’t follow through on. An Elf that comes from the North Pole to keep an eye on my kids so Santa knows who goes on the naughty or nice list? I don’t think so. First of all? Creepy. Second of all, I am not willing to take Christmas away from my kids. I have taken away birthday parties and other activities, candy and toys. I believe in follow-through. Christmas is not on the table. As tempting as it is this time of year, I don’t even remind them that Santa knows who is naughty or nice.
- As mentioned above, we have an Advent calendar of activities. I don’t think Christmas is the time to give my kids extra presents or extra toys. So, I make our calendar with activities instead. Some days it’s as simple as reading a Christmas book, watching a Christmas movie, or walking around the neighborhood to look at lights. Other times it’s a bigger activity – like watching The Nutcracker, or Breakfast with Santa. But since I’m already daily making sure I’m staying on top of the calendar, plus all the other stresses of the holiday season, I don’t need to also keep track of where the Elf is every morning.
- Christmas is already commercial enough. (Do I sound like Charlie Brown?) Of course, there can’t just be the Elf and the book. Now there are different outfits, accessories, plush elves, DVDs, and more. It’s too much.
I don’t judge the parents who do Elf. In fact, sometimes, I admire their creativity! But it’s definitely not my cup of tea.