It's time, my friends. Time to prime our houses for Christmas. In recent years, that's meant dusting off... Him. The Elf on the Shelf. That mischievous nark who graces mantles and social media feeds across the country every Holiday season. The elf that comes to stay at your house, watches you during the day (to let Santa know whether you're being good or bad), and then pulls little pranks at night. Which is somewhat unsettling, because there are innumerable coal-worthy things the Elf on the Shelf has seen me do.
I have an ambivalent relationship with Elf on the Shelf. On the one hand, I hate the idea of this creepy little snitch looming over my children's every action. On the other hand, I'm all about whimsy and, barring the whole "jolly spy" aspect of things, I think it's cute to have a magical visitor to get everyone into the Christmas spirit. So my family has decided to modify Elf on the Shelf just a little bit: he's not here to watch and report back to Santa (because, let's be real: am I really going to withhold Christmas presents even if my kid is kind of a brat sometimes?). The Elf comes to our house every December to celebrate with us.
Still, I'll admit that sometimes, knowing his back story, having the elf gazing down on all the comings and goings of our home is a bit unsettling. Because oh the things he has seen, you guys, including the following:
Be Way Less Into Christmas Than Halloween
Sorry. I know this is a cardinal sin among the IRL Buddy the Elves out there, but I can't help it. Christmas is great! It really is, but it just isn't Halloween, which is the High Empress of all the holidays. So, sorry, I'm just not going to put the same effort and enthusiasm into Christmas as I do for Halloween. I will, however, put Santa hats on the various skull, bat, and spider decorations that stay up all year long. That's pretty festive, right?
Throw Away Christmas Cards Immediately After Opening Them
If it makes it any better, I always feel guilty about doing this, but I do it anyway. But unless the card is, like, super pretty and conforms with my own persona aesthetic, I usually read it, appreciate the kind gesture of the sender, and then toss it in the garbage because WTF am I going to do with a Christmas card? Especially if it's one that's just printed with a generic message and signed. Not a damn thing.
"Well, that's kind of understandable," you might say. "But you don't do that with Christmas cards that are pictures of families, right?"
Absolutely I do. Not all of them. Like, if you're reading this because you know me we are probably close enough that I want to hold onto your pictures for a month or so. But sometimes I get random pictures from people I have literally never met, in which case they get the same treatment as the generic holiday cards.
Eat Advent Chocolate Before The Assigned Day
My enormous wooden advent calendar is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. The doors and compartments are all pretty big and you can fit decent amounts of chocolate and even little toys in them. We tend to stick with candy... which I regularly eat before it is due to be eaten. But you know how it goes! Sometimes the holidays are chaotic and rushed and you realize you haven't eaten and you need something.
Or, you know, you just remember there are miniature peanut butter cups in the house, so you work backwards from December 24, go to town, and make a note to replace what you've taken so your kids don't get disappointed.
Do "Stuff" In The Living Room
The walls between our room and our kids' room are thin, dudes. And I don't think there's anything dirty or coal-worthy about any kind of sex, just FYI... but anything more scandalous than hair-braiding feels dirty when you look up and see a dopey, unblinking elf, watching you from a perch of judgment, smiling.
Not Move The Elf For Days
Oh, are we supposed to move you every day? Whoops. My bad, elf.
Complain About Christmas
Yes, yes. 'Tis the season of joy and goodwill and getting back to what's really important. It's also a season of too many social commitments, too much shopping, mall traffic, and (where I live in New England) increasingly crappy weather.
It's not all jingle bells and mistletoe, people. There's a lot of anxiety and obligation that goes along with this holiday that I need to vent about from time to time.
Listen To My Sister's Annual "Reading Of The Porno Descriptions"
This is a very particular holiday tradition in my house. It started a few years ago after another family tradition: watching Scrooged after my kids go to bed with my parents, siblings, and husband. Well, that year, it was still pretty early. None of us were tired and so we decided to scroll through our options to see what else was on. My younger sister had the controller and would read out descriptions of classic holiday movies. Nothing appealed to us. Finally she got high enough into the channels that she'd gotten to the softcore porn... this did not stop her from continuing to read the descriptions (because this is the kind of young woman my sister is). Nothing about her tone changed, either. She just started reading completely inappropriate, vulgar things in front of our family. At first we laughed, then we were aghast, then we started laughing again.
It is now a (casual) tradition that she reads at least one porn description every Christmas Eve.
I doubt the Elf on the Shelf is pleased.
Get Too "Merry" At A Holiday Party
Whatever, you judgmental elf. Don't you look at me with your demon eyes. It's a paaaaaaaaaaaaaartaaaaaaaaaay and I'm going to be a little bit of a ho-ho-ho, m'kay? Woo! Merry Christmas!
Toss My Kids' Toys Without Telling Them
Look, square footage is limited, people. We can't have a batch of new toys coming in without a batch of old ones going out. I'm already tripping over my kids' crap on the regular. Ever step on a Lego? It's not fun. Plus, these kids have five sets of gift giving grandparents (one of whom is a self-described, over-the-top Christmas fanatic) in addition to my husband and me. I begrudge none of them their god-given right to spoil their beloved grandbabies... but that means I've got to make a few trips to a donation center between now and December 24, because this is a home not a Toys R Us warehouse.
Swear Like A Sailor
I'm sorry, but there are only two little creatures for whom I regularly and unequivocally curb my swearing: my children. Once they go to bed I revert to my natural state, that of a boorish, vulgar blasphemer. I'm not going to spend any extra energy hiding it from an elf... even if that elf is terrifying and looks like he's taking all this sh*t in, waiting for his moment to exact revenge.
Limit My Kids' Cookie Intake While Literally Living On Christmas Cookies
I'm a hypocrite and I would be sorry, but the cookies are so good that I can't be because I regret absolutely nothing.
Redecorate The Tree
Because the children, bless their hearts, decorated it wrong. So after they go to bed it's up to me to re-arrange everything so that it looks beautiful. And I know, I know that's not the point. I know that the best Christmas tree is the one decorated with love, as a family.
But is it? Are you sure the best Christmas tree isn't the one decorated with an expert's eye for balance and color and an artisan's precision?
Said Unkind Things About The Elf
Because OMG, look at that creepy mofo.
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