Why are parents tearing their hair out with yet more pre-Christmas admin? Just chuck your Elf on the Shelf in the bin and save yourself the hassle, writes mum of two Kirsty Ketley
Christmas traditions have evolved somewhat since my childhood of the 1980s, and being a parent myself now, I love creating new ones with my children.
I am all up for matching PJs and Christmas bedding, Michael Bublé on repeat and hot chocolate bombs, but the one new tradition that doesn’t happen in our house is Elf on the Shelf. To say I hate it is perhaps a bit harsh, but I do have a very strong dislike to it and here’s why.
Firstly, I really cannot be bothered. The time and effort that goes into having an Elf come to stay is time and effort that I really don’t have at this time of year. Parent admin is never-ending as it is, and there is so much more during December – I barely keep up with what my kids need throughout the month.
I definitely don’t need to add a Twinkletoes (or whatever you call an Elf these days) on top.
I once thought about jumping on the elf bandwagon, until my daughter was at a friend’s house and one freaked her out. You see, many young children have vivid imaginations and I have spent many hours reassuring both my children that their teddy hasn’t moved all by itself. or that ghosts and monsters are not real.
I am not then going to welcome an Elf into the house – who quite frankly is creepy as… – and undo all my hard work.
Then there is the worry that the Elf is going to wake me in the dead of night and remind me that I haven’t moved it, as so many parents report.
Sleep is precious, the kids now sleep through – I’m not allowing an Elf to ruin it!
It isn’t just a case of moving little Elfie about the house though – the pressure is on parents now to get creative. Kids want to be surprised by Twinkletoes’ shenanigans.
Undecorating the tree, ‘pooping’ in the Cheerios, or using toilet paper as a parachute to swing from the chandelier, after leaving flour footprints and chaos in its wake. It’s a naughty elf and, isn’t that just a little hypocritical? I mean, sending an elf to watch the kids and report back to Santa, while being less than well behaved itself?
For me, the whole concept is unnecessary. As a kid, the threat was just that Santa was watching. How he was watching never occurred to me, but I always knew that he would be there.
You see, telling your kids that Santa won’t come is an empty threat, which I think most parents – including myself – have said several times throughout December. But which parent is actually going to follow that one through and leave their kid with no presents on Christmas Day?
I am very up for people doing Christmas their own way, and so if you love Elf on the Shelf, that’s fine – but you sure as hell won’t find one in my house.