If you do not have The Elf On A Shelf, I am pretty sure you have heard of him. If you have not heard of him, here is a quick run down. He is an elf that you name and you put him in funny poses around your house and tell your kid that he is watching his/her behavior and reporting back to Santa at night, while your child sleeps. Then, apparently, the elf has time to get into mischief before your child bounces out of bed at 6am. The idea is to promote Christmas and good behavior in children. There is an old story that Santa's elves are always watching us and reporting back to him, so this took that idea to an actual figurine level.
Xavier is really into Christmas this year and loves anything and everything about it! People have been asking me if we got an Elf On A Shelf for Xavier this year. I politely say "no it's not really our thing". The fact is, there are almost too many reasons as to why we are not getting one, that I am having a hard time narrowing my blog post to just the main ones. So here are the main reasons why I am not getting an Elf On A Shelf, and you should consider not getting one also.
JUST SAY NO TO ELF ON A SHELF
1) You could shorten belief
Did you ever think about what would happen if Elf On A Shelf got lost amidst the Christmas decorations? Do you just get rid of him or buy a new one? Do you tell your child the truth? Not to mention what we tell our children about Santa, we mainly expect them to know that, you do not have to see to believe.
If you introduce Elf On A Shelf you are bringing in an element, that if not done correctly, can severely ruin the magic of that belief. What if at six your child finds out the truth about Elf On A Shelf, because that cheap one you bought at that department store finally bit the dust. You do not feel like getting another one, and endlessly putting him in different positions every night. What if you have to tell the truth about Elf On A Shelf? What if you have to then, tell your child the truth about Santa? At six? It's so young, if you could, wouldn't you rather keep that magic around in their lives as long as you can? I know I want Xavier to believe in magic for a long time, so I am not tainting his belief in magic with an Elf On The Shelf that will inevitably not make it past the age of 4 years old in my house. (We have cats).
2) Commercialism at it's best
I am all for buying good products. I am all for getting some gifts on Christmas, but this Elf On A Shelf is another marketing ploy for more commercialism. If you doubt, the Elf On A Shelf does have other family elves you can also get.
"Oh kids, if your bad Mr. Elf will report to Santa and you won't get toys". Really? Are you gonna return all the stuff you trampled over people for at that Black Friday sale? Come on people, wake up! Are we so lacking in discipline ideas that we resort to a stupid red elf? One that WE have to move in order to bride our children? If you enjoy buying gifts for your children, why not try spreading it out throughout the year? Then, you can leave the spirit of Christmas more for giving than bribing.
I don't know about everyone, but the last thing I need to do is add another thing to my "To-Do" list for the month of December. We have so many other meaningful activities like visiting family, gathering with friends, playing with children and baking Christmas treats. The last thing I need to do is find funny, yet believable things an Elf is supposed to be doing every night before I go to bed. There are days I barely can fit in a shower. Sorry Elf, no room at the Inn.
I think that this Elf is horrible for child behavior. You simply cannot rely on an Elf to keep your child's behavior in check. What happens when you go away? What about the rest of the year? A good parent loves, but teaches through love when they discipline. An Elf On A Shelf will never accomplish that and when used, it will take away all the steps you gained.
For almost an entire year you made your children behave for you because you are family. Now for this one month, you want your kids to behave for an Elf? or Santa? As a result, bribery of gifts? This is a horrible lesson for children. I do not need an Elf On A Shelf to discipline my child, if I want to bribe him, I can on my own.
5) Children are smarter than Elf On A Shelf
I know many children believe this, but do realize they believe it, because someone they love discovered it with them, and told them about it.They know you are excited about it and about their reaction. If you just randomly moved your child's toys around in funny positions would he/she think they moved in the night? Some children may, and some may not. My child is a "may not". I have rearranged his toys many times and put them in different and funny positions, and he has noticed, and laughed, and said "silly mommy".
Somehow at two my child already can see what real souls are and he knows that an Elf On A Shelf is a "thing", not a "who" and that is something I am not going to teach him otherwise. He can imagine whatever his heart desires, but I will not force a different belief on a child that already sees otherwise. Please take that into consideration when buying these.
What to do if you have one?
1) If you are lucky and just got it as a gift and have not introduced it to your child yet keep reading, if you already introduced him to your child and want to get rid of him skip to read #2.
There is actually nothing wrong with your elf. In fact this famous Elf On A Shelf was in a ton of 1970s and 1980s Christmas tree ornaments and decorations. I already have a sleigh with a miniature version that we have had since I was a child. Feel free to decorate with him and name him if you want, but do not make him any different than any of your child's other toys or dolls. He is either a "no touch, look only" or he is a fun Christmas doll your child can play with. Perhaps him and Barbie will hit it off after all.
2) If your child knows about it and you have been using the Elf On A Shelf. You have to get rid of it! As bad as it sounds, it's true. You have to tell your child that they have grown up so much they no longer need "Mr.Elf On A Shelf" anymore. It is time for Mr. Elf On A Shelf to watch over another little child now. You child can now move up to the real magic elves. The ones who are watching, and with you all year round. They help keep you safe and report to Santa if you are struggling, or do extra good on something. I know I always believed elves were similar to guardian angels, kind of like a special type of Christmas angel that watches over you this time of year.
Remember this time of year is a magical and emotional time of year for all of us. Many of us celebrate some holiday, some of us celebrate more than one. Some of us miss the loved ones we cannot be with. Some of us travel for miles in snow and rough flights just to be together for a day, because it's a special day.
Perhaps we have special angels around us this time of year because it is when we get the least amount of sun. It is dark and cold, so much so that we bring in trees, and lights, and fires to brighten our homes during the rough winter. Perhaps it is a great time of year to help out your fellow man by giving to each other a gift that you know will brighten their spirit and help them get through the rough times. Perhaps we should focus on the reason for the season, instead of presents.