Monday, December 22, 2014

"The Elfin Wars" OR "Once More Into the Breach"

I read this article in The Huffington Post, and it really got my knickers in a knot.  The key quote: "If you feel like a bad mother for not buying into the Elf on the Shelf, that's on you." Well. Can I just say that I feel like a bad mother multiple, multiple times in any given day, but never once has it had to do with an Elf -- shelved or free-range.

Here is the comment I left at the end of the article:
"The problem with "that's on you" is that YOUR kids are coming to school telling all the other kids that they got tickets to "The Nutcracker" from their elf. YOU are hosting parties for your elf, and staying up all night getting your elf up to cute capers and shenanigans, and nodding knowingly and disdainfully to other Elf-Lovers at the class Christmas party when a frazzled fellow mom expresses her angst about how much she still has to do before the grandparents arrive, and how the dog chewed the family elf, and how she wishes she could just once get her shit together. Most anti-elf mommies are not actually Grinchy about Christmas -- or even about the Elf. We do object to the Elf on the Shelf as a competitive sport. 
If you want to tear apart your house in the middle of the night every single night in the lead up to Christmas, that's on you. If you want to wrap a gift for every child in your house to be delivered every single day between Thanksgiving and Christmas, that's on you. But when you post it on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, the Huffington Post, you are dumping it on me. When your kids make other kids cry because their families got "lame" elves, that's dumping it on them -- and by extension on me.  
By all means -- let's all parent our own kids. And let's support each other in our frailties, insecurities, and mistakes. But mommies competing with each other in the Elfin Wars (like the Hunger Games but with more powdered sugar) is one more reason why I will continue to speak up. 
[Interestingly the whole notion of Advent as a time of spiritual preparation for the birth of Jesus never seems to come up when mommies are flinging Elf anger back and forth at each other this time of year.]"
Harrumph, is what I really meant to say.  But the good news is that according to the article's title, I am [finally] a "cool mom." So that's something.


Advent book!

An Amish Christmas is a great book that introduces the Amish customs of the Christmas season. Even without Santa or twinkling lights on the Christmas tree, these children see the wonder of Christmas -- and have lots of wintery Christmas fun, too!


  1. Good for you! I bought one of those elves in 2005. I read about them, and there was no mention of the antics or the festivities, or gifts from elves or any of that from the family that started the tradition. I thought the elf idea was cute, and the kids loved it, and never once has our elf left a treat or gift or made a mess or any of that stuff. I don't have the time for that, nor the resources, nor do I want my kids to feel like every day of advent is a holiday in which they "get". In fact, my children leave gifts for him (their idea, not mine!) and they write him notes. His mere presence excites them, and that is what we intended. If other people want to go nuts with their elves, that is their business I guess...unfortunately the unintended consequence is the feeling of lameness that can befall the rest of us if we aren't careful!

    1. Sounds like a great tradition!

      I hope your family is having a wonderful and love-filled Christmas season!