Birthday Elf On The Shelf Is Making This Dumb Farce Even Harder To Maintain
My parents maintained the Santa lie successfully until I was six-years-old and caught them setting a stuffed koala bear under the tree one night. In the morning, they presented the koala as my “gift from Santa.” I decided at that moment that my parents were liars, but whatever. It was obvious that I would still be getting presents from this imaginary dude, so the knowledge that he didn’t exist didn’t wreck my world. My parents got off easy. I had zero problems with years of lying if it meant the lies culminated in presents.
I can already tell my son is not going to be as easy to appease as I was. My four-year-old is already throwing me more shade about this whole holiday web of lies than I ever threw my mom. And it’s because of this dumb Elf. I’ve decided the Elf on the Shelf is responsible for about 65% of my parental untruths. Here’s a conversation that transpired on a trip to Barnes and Noble last week. Birthday Elf on the Shelf is a thing now, which is a massive mind-fuck to a four-year-old who is still trying to get a handle on this whole Santa thing.
“Mommy! Look! Elf on the Shelf!”
“I see honey, but Santa already sent us an Elf, remember? ‘Elf?’” My son named our elf, “Elf.” He had barely turned three when we got him and wasn’t very adept at things like choosing monikers for magical elves.
“Oh.” Expression of massive confusion surfaces. He’s eyeing me for answers, and frankly, I’m eyeing him back as if to say, “Don’t look at me kid. I can’t even begin to make up a story about this birthday elf. I haven’t Googled it – I have no idea what his deal is. Please don’t ask me.”
“Is my birthday elf, Elf?” He’s looking a little worried now, as he tries to figure out if the elf he has at home might be willing to perform this extra function.
“I guess?” I offer. Pathetic. He’s totally not convinced.
I pick up the elf and try to make sense of the little demon. He’s in a polka dot outfit. I’ve only had one cup of coffee. I cannot make up a story. I don’t want to just read it off the back of the box — that seems like a cop-out. I pretend like I’m making a call and consult Google:
The Elf on the Shelf: A Birthday Tradition tells the little-known story of the North Pole birthday tradition.
Includes special instructions for families to invite their scout elf for a birthday visit.
The book also includes a special Claus Couture Collection® Birthday Outfit just for the elf.
Are you serious? The “little-known” story of the North Pole birthday tradition? Who okayed this bullshit?
“The birthday elf is for kids who were naughty and didn’t get a visit from Santa at Christmas.” Did I just say that? “You aren’t getting a birthday elf because you are a good boy and you will always get a holiday elf. The holiday elf is better. The holiday elf comes from Santa’s workshop – this one doesn’t.”
My kid is so confused. He’s giving me a weird look, but not as weird as the one he’s giving the elf. My massive lie seems to have worked; he’s looking at the elf sideways, with the disdain it deserves.
Yes, I’m a big, fat liar. I totally blame holiday marketing. Hopefully my kid won’t hold it against me when the whole farce inevitably unfolds for him some day.