I Love Christmas But I Hate Elf On The Shelf

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elf meme

I started writing for Mommyish in May of this year and I am not joking when I tell you that I have been waiting since then to write about Elf on the Shelf. More specifically, why I think Elf on the Shelf is the worst thing to happen to Christmas since fruit cake. I know plenty of parents think this is a harmless new tradition to enhance the “magic” of the season for their little ones but I don’t see it that way.

And contrary to what certain Elf lovers might think (*ahem* Megan Zander) I am not a Grinch. The furthest thing from it. I have a December birthday and this time of year is my very favorite. In fact, I would argue that it is my deep and abiding love for the Christmas season that makes me dislike the Elf as much as I do. I don’t enjoy the commercialism of Christmas to begin with and to me, the Elf is a symptom of that problem. Get him out and prop him up all around the house for weeks so your kids can obsess daily about the presents they are earning? Big old nope. Santa is enough commercialism for my taste and I cannot understand why we would want to emphasize that aspect of the season even more. Here are the reasons why the Elf will never make an appearance at my house.

1. Kids can see him for sale at the store. How is this magical, exactly? I don’t like feeling tricked and I guess my first-born inherited that trait. Last year, at age six, she went to Hallmark with me on a Christmas shopping trip. She pointed out that little stinker and his overpriced book, appalled that there were dozens of him, and I was like “Yep. Anyone can have him for $30. Magical, right?”

2. The Elf is one more thing to make kids feel bad. You know how some kids get nothing for Christmas? No, seriously. We live in a nice neighborhood in a town without much poverty but my daughter still came home from school last year telling me a little girl in her class told her that she got no presents for Christmas. Can you imagine how those children feel when their classmates come to school every day for weeks rambling about some Elf that visits them in the night and scatters sparkles and marshmallows everywhere? $30 is a large amount of money to some people. Particularly when all it gets you is a children’s book and a cheaply-made elf doll.

3. Christmas is already magic enough without adding a new commercial tradition. Isn’t it pretty damn amazing for most kids just to know that Santa is on his way? To hear stories of the reindeer, the elves, the cookies, the gifts. Do we REALLY need to make even more special, little things for our children to revel in?

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  1. LeggEggTorpedoTits

    October 25, 2014 at 8:11 am

    I did not even know this was a thing and this is how I imagine the elf on the shelf when kids are naughty:

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 8:18 am

      I’m sorry, he IS creepy! He looks at you wherever you are. His eyes FOLLOW you! Hahahahaha.

    • LeggEggTorpedoTits

      October 25, 2014 at 8:39 am

      That just skeeves me out! I might hate Christmas if my Mom had done that…it’s the equivalent of “Big Brother Is Watching You” only with “My Little Elf”….ic—-ky.

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 8:42 am

      Yup. But the tattle-tale aspect is no joke! That is a BIG thing living in a house with a 7 and 5 year old. We tell them daily not to tattle on each other but now the Elf is tattling on them? It’s an odd message to send.

    • LeggEggTorpedoTits

      October 25, 2014 at 8:46 am

      Seriously and, if your kids are a little precocious, they’re totally going to call you out on it. What’s up MOM? Why is Elf allowed to rat people out? Eh? EH?

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 8:49 am

      And my daughter is way ahead of the game. Probably by 5 she would be calling me out on it. She is already questioning Santa. 🙁

    • LeggEggTorpedoTits

      October 25, 2014 at 8:58 am

      We only really celebrate Christmas as a thing for our extended family because we’re Vaisnavas, and we never told our kids that Santa Clause was real, but more like a personification of the joy of the season. Well, my daughter simply refused to believe that Santa doesn’t exist…and when Santa came riding down our street on top of a firetruck, she turned her little face up to me, pointed her wee chubby finger at the truck and said, “I TOLD you he was real! I TOLD you!”. Point well taken, squeegie.

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 9:06 am

      AWWWWW! That is SO cute! Our town does the fire truck Santa thing too. Another free Christmas treat that my kids love. 🙂

    • LeggEggTorpedoTits

      October 25, 2014 at 9:08 am

      Shhhhh….I kind of love it myself. I get a little thrill when I hear the siren and all of the kids start leaping from their doorways with big expectant grins!

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 9:09 am

      Oh stuff like that gets me choked up. I still remember SO vividly when I believed as a kid. It is precious.

    • AP

      October 25, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      My hometown did that. It was a great tradition, until I got to high school and was old enough to know kids who were volunteer firefighters.

      Turns out Santa and his crew (except the driver) start drinking at 10 am and are wa-aa-sted the whole day.


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    • denise870

      October 28, 2014 at 1:25 am

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  2. Megan

    October 25, 2014 at 8:13 am

    I still love you.

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 8:17 am

      I love you more. And your dumb Elf.

  3. bea

    October 25, 2014 at 8:25 am

    No! No, just no. It is too lanky. It is too creepy. It is too *shudders*

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 8:25 am

      I know. My husband was like “if we did this, you know I would set him up so he’s staring at you when you wake up”. NOPE.

    • bea

      October 25, 2014 at 8:28 am

      OH GOD. I would have to sucker punch my husband. That would truly be awful

    • LeggEggTorpedoTits

      October 25, 2014 at 8:41 am

      Lanky….like a spider with an elf head….nooooooo no.

  4. chickadee

    October 25, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Reason #86 why I am glad my daughters were born in the 90s.

    Seriously. The only mommy-one-upmanship I had to deal with was at this one playgroup we went to. Since it was never held at anyone’s house, I would agree that of course! everyone does x and move on, knowing that these mothers would NEVER KNOW that we did y.

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 8:34 am

      I SO wish I was raising my kids in the age before social media. I am pretty thick-skinned and I don’t usually give shits what other parents do but I will admit to feeling like a schmuck sometimes when I see elaborate stuff on Facebook. The comparing sucks!

    • bea

      October 25, 2014 at 8:44 am

      Omg, some of the pictures I see on facebook at Christmas time are god awful. Some of the trees have over a hundred presents under them

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 8:46 am

      I KNOW. I mean, I will wrap up even a box of Crayons because I know the kids just love tearing stuff open but I still don’t spend more than $150-200 each total, including stocking. I think even that is kind of a lot for their ages but stuff is expensive!

    • bea

      October 25, 2014 at 8:49 am

      That is awesome. I always told my mom to just get me a bunch of stuff from the dollar store, cause y’know more presents that way. She loved it. And I got all the bubble bath and dollar makeup I wanted

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 8:51 am

      Awwww- I love little things. I learned it from my mom- she always said she wrapped anything that could be wrapped and that’s why us kids thought she spent untold amounts of money even though it was probably around $100 per kid. She was very creative- I am trying to follow suit. 🙂

    • bea

      October 25, 2014 at 8:53 am

      Moms are da bomb diggity 🙂

    • Angela

      October 25, 2014 at 9:50 am

      So true. I wrap up little matchbox cars for my kids too. We’re on a super tight budget this year and I can only spend about $50 per kid for Santa although they’ll also get a small gift from my husband and I, plus gifts from grandparents. They’ll still be super stoked.

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 10:00 am

      $50 can go a long way for little ones! They don’t know price tags!

    • rockmonster

      October 25, 2014 at 10:20 am

      I hope that that’s for multiple children.

    • Ursi

      October 25, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      I hear that. I really don’t want to judge people who can provide a lot financially for their children if they want to give them a hundred presents I shouldn’t care, but the idea that you get so many gifts that you couldn’t even open them all that day?? After awhile it’s not fun or special, it’s just more wrapping paper, more stuff, more things you’ll play with for five minutes and put down forever because there’s too much to deal with.

    • whiteroses

      October 27, 2014 at 12:52 am

      I know for a fact I went overboard with my son’s gifts last year- because he opened some of them, stared at them, got overwhelmed, and took a nap. I put aside half his gifts and am giving them to him again this year. He’s only two, so he won’t notice, and it’ll save me some cash.

    • Gest

      October 26, 2014 at 10:56 am

      I like the stfu parents postings after Christmas where they share just giant piles of presents with the kids parked in front of them. I was like holy shit that is tacky and stupid and then of course I see one pop up of my friend’s kids positioned in front of a pile. At least it was the aunt posting it with “our spoiled little princesses!” Instead of my friend. Gag me.

    • chickadee

      October 25, 2014 at 9:45 am

      Yeah, it’s really difficult to raise small ones now. You have to be so much more aware of what they are doing or seeing, and there are so many avenues for making yourself feel inadequate. I stayed at home until my youngest was 3, and if I had been sitting at home with fb and Pinterest telling me that a GOOD mother would be doing 30 things before breakfast, I would have been grey by 29. Or insane.

      And talking like this makes me feel like my grandmother….

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 10:00 am

      My mom is constantly amazed at the things I concern myself with in regard to my kids and I am definitely on the low-key end of things for parents of my generation. It was a lot easier 20 years ago, for sure.

    • TheQuirkyDiva

      October 25, 2014 at 11:45 am

      I am convinced that those people who do the elaborate stuff on Pinterest and Facebook aren’t real. They are a big Eastern Syndicate, like Lucy says in Peanuts Christmas. Either that or they secretly work for Hallmark. Because honest to crap, who has the TIME for that???

    • whiteroses

      October 27, 2014 at 12:50 am

      I figure the folks who have time for all that aren’t the ones who are reading fifteen books in a row or Skyping with daddy or going to the park or library or zoo. You make time for what you want to make time for, and ain’t nobody got time for that, you know?

      Admittedly I’ve found some cute stuff, which I’ll probably end up doing, but honestly, my son is going to have a Christmas that’s a weird mishmash of Australian- German- American- Italian traditions that I couldn’t find on Pinterest anyway.

    • andrea

      October 27, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      I stay off of Facebook pretty much always anymore, and I feel really good about that.

  5. Grr! Arrgh!

    October 25, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Ah, this reminds me, it’s almost time for my yearly tradition of having too much mulled wine at a party, then ranting to my husband about how the Elf is going to contribute to the errosion of our civil liberties by getting children accustomed to living in a survailliance state. What – everyone’s allowed one paranoid theory about life. And holiday traditions.

    This also reminds me that I need to get rid of the Elf someone gave us for baby’s first christmas last year.

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 8:58 am

      Hahahahahaha. I love it.

    • rockmonster

      October 25, 2014 at 10:17 am

      My crackpot theory is that Rudolph is meant to get disabled kids used to a life of menial labor.

    • Grr! Arrgh!

      October 25, 2014 at 10:20 am

      I scared the cat laughing at that.

      Because law school ruins everything, my husband and I now also spend every year watching the Rudolph christmas special and debating on whether Santa is violating the ADA and possibly Title IX by excluding Rudolph and the girl raindeer from the games.

    • rockmonster

      October 25, 2014 at 10:23 am

      Santa is a douchecanoe in Rudolph.

    • FishQueen

      October 26, 2014 at 2:24 am

      I love how he’s all “your family and friends are probably all dead off looking for you. If you’d just stayed out and taken the abuse, this wouldn’t be a thing. Wait…you’re useful to me? Never mind, you’re awesome!”

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      October 25, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      I can’t be unconvinced that there’s plutonium in Denver’s drinking water after all the leaks and fires that happened while the plutonium-processing plant on the edge of town was still operational. Your conspiracy theory looks comparatively reasonable!


      October 25, 2014 at 3:19 pm

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    • AP

      October 25, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      Have yourself a creepy, Orwellian Christmas. Let the NSA read your e-mail via a backdoor in the internet…

  6. keelhaulrose

    October 25, 2014 at 8:55 am

    My parents did the same thing sans elf by singing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” (particularly the part about him watching and knowing if you’ve been bad or good) when we were getting frustrating during that time of year. I don’t need some creepy elf that I’m going to forget to move, my parents version works just fine.

    • TheQuirkyDiva

      October 25, 2014 at 11:24 am

      AUGH! My mother used to do that and it annoyed the bejeezus out of me.

  7. Angela

    October 25, 2014 at 9:11 am

    YES! Thank you!! The elf is creepy, especially if you’re using it to scare your kids into behaving. I’ve also never been comfortable with the idea of using Santa as an intimidation tactic and have flat out told my son that getting gifts is not tied to his behavior. My biggest pet peeve about the elf is not so much that people do it, but when they plaster it all over social media. Frankly I’m not really interested in how elaborately you’ve staged him and I really think it does make other parents feel pressured into going even more overboard for the holidays. Doesn’t anyone remember when we were kids? Christmas was already ridiculously fun and exciting without the help of pinterest.

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 9:27 am

      Yes, it is hard to explain to my kids why their friends have an Elf ice skating through flour on the kitchen counter and we do not. I just refuse to cave to the pressure! Lol. Stand strong!

  8. Personal

    October 25, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Great post!

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 9:40 am

      Thanks. 🙂

  9. Jamie

    October 25, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Have you all seen the commercials where they are trying to make the elf a birthday tradition too?

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 9:39 am

      YES. I quite simply can’t even.

    • rockmonster

      October 25, 2014 at 10:08 am


  10. Jennie Blair

    October 25, 2014 at 9:18 am

    We have one because a friend sent it to my husband while he was deployed (that’s her tradition, I sent christmas crackers). He came home last year and we had a big time hiding it from each other. None of those crazy over done scenes but like easter egg style. I think that’s what we will do with our kid when she is big enough, cuz the elf making mayhem while reporting on your behavior seems hypocritical, and I don’t want her to worry about things like that.

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 9:40 am

      Very true! I know lots of moms who are super low-key with the Elf. I think that’s so much better than having him make messes that YOU have to clean up. I clean enough messes. Lol.

    • Jennie Blair

      October 25, 2014 at 9:08 pm

      It was just something funny we could do to each other. I think the longest it managed to stay hidden was in a coke case cuz it blended in well. I kept trying to put it in places where it looked creepy, like over my husband’s side of the bed just staring down at him.

  11. KL Walpole

    October 25, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Why does Santa need to send the stupid elf to keep an eye on the kids for him in December? Doesn’t Santa see you when you’re sleeping and know when you’re awake, anyway?

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 9:35 am

      Excellent point.

    • Ezzy666

      October 25, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      Those elves need to go on strike. They make the toys and have to keep an eye on kids cause Santa is too lazy to do it himself, Do we even want to think about what Santa is making them do in order to get the many to buy the ipads and other electronics the elves aren’t skilled enough to make? One day the elves revolt. Youtube has videos of the elf on the shelf killing people and stealing the liquor


    • Allyson_et_al

      October 27, 2014 at 2:24 am

      The theme for the Elf Labor Movement

      I love Barenaked Ladies.

  12. Abby

    October 25, 2014 at 9:48 am

    I am so with you on all of this. I can’t stand Elf on the Shelf and the way it’s often treated like this ages-old tradition, when it was invented in 2005. THAT IS NINE YEARS AGO. GAH.

    I’m also just not at all down with the whole “be good so Santa will bring you presents” narrative. It was a point of contention between myself and my husband when we were talking about whether or not to raise our kids believing in Santa (I was on the no side; he was on the yes side), since I was raised with the knowledge that Christmas presents weren’t because we were good but because our parents loved us. I have no intention of passing that particular Santa Claus myth on to my children, and I certainly won’t buy a tchotchke to perpetuate the myth for me.

    (as a side note: I was that asshole kid who told my friends there was no Santa Claus. I have a bad feeling that my kids are going to be those asshole kids who tell their friends that there is no Elf on the Shelf)

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 9:58 am

      Yes, I found out about Santa early too but I can’t remember if I told anyone. I think my 7-year old is very close to not believing and now that she can read very rapidly, I know it wont be long before she stumbles on something that clues her in. I’m sad but not really- I will be happy to tell her one day that it’s because Mommy and Daddy love her that she gets those gifts.

    • Abby

      October 25, 2014 at 10:01 am

      See, my parents never wanted us to believe in Santa for… reasons I’m not actually clear on (it probably related back to church things), so by the time I reached second grade, I’d had about enough of everyone insisting that Santa Claus was a thing and just calmly informed the kids at my table in art class (who were worried about getting in trouble because Santa), “It’s okay, we all know Santa isn’t real.”

      I don’t know what sort of psychological damage I inflicted, but I think this particular incident might explain why I wasn’t invited to very many birthday parties…

    • Kathryn Mackenzie

      October 26, 2014 at 1:42 am

      I think the worst is when the kid reaches the point that they’re asking if Santa is real and the parents insist that he is. Once they start questioning it, is the time to tell the truth. (I say this as a child who hated being lied to, and at the age of 7 had a big fight with my mother over why was it okay for her to lie to me, when if I lied I got punished.)

    • Guest

      October 26, 2014 at 10:43 am

      I remember ruining the Easter bunny for a girl in my reading group. She was being a real dick about it though and how because her sisters got $60 each in their baskets (this was the 90s) that meant he was real. I was like I can’t just let this logic slide so I said your parents put the money in there duh, how have you not been told this yet? She was, IMO then and now, way too old at 4th grade level and still fully invested in it. My poor parent volunteer reading instructor was like noooooo.

    • SunnyD847

      November 5, 2014 at 8:26 pm

      My husband REALLY wanted our kids to keep believing so whenever they would express doubts I’d tell them that Santa only brings gifts to kids who believe. That made them at least pretend to believe for a while longer.

    • chickadee

      October 25, 2014 at 10:04 am

      We did (and still do) the Santa myth, but the E on S creeps me out partly because it is so blatantly an invented tradition. Buy the elf! Here’s the story! March in lockstep! Make your elf be clever!

      Christmas traditions should be more personal and organic. This one feels really manufactured and insidiously mommy-shaming.

    • Abby

      October 25, 2014 at 10:15 am

      YES. I think that’s my bigger problem with it–that it feels specifically engineered to be a cutesy tradition and you’re a horrible mom if you don’t do it. The best traditions ARE the organic ones, not the ones that Hallmark tells you to practice.

    • rockmonster

      October 25, 2014 at 10:18 am

      Hallmark has way too much authority over what America does on holidays.

    • alexesq33

      October 27, 2014 at 10:35 am

      That is ridiculous.
      BRB off to buy a card for “Office cubicle-mate appreciation day” 🙂

  13. LK

    October 25, 2014 at 9:53 am

    God. YES. LOVE Christmas. Obsessed with Christmas. Secretly decorate my house in November and then lie to people about it style of CHristmas cheer. But HATE the elf. Hate the daily photo updates. I don’t give a shit where you hid your elf! No one does! Hate the breathless rationalizations as to why “we do the elf, but not in that CRAZY way other people do the elf.” All the elf ways are crazy! You cannot talk your way into this making any kind of sense to me.

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 9:56 am

      My Christmas tunes are on starting Nov. 1st. I feel ya. And yes, the social media updates are really the worst. Parents say “it’s for the kids” but somehow, I don’t think your kid is going to scroll through the feed on FB and see the Elf-scape you created last night. That is for FB likes, don’t lie. 😉

    • LK

      October 25, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Yeah, it ain’t for the kid. You gotta at least admit it. My daughter is going to super enjoy her My Little Pony birthday party, but let me tell you. The pinboard? The themed giftbags and games? And decor?? Those are for me.

    • Andy

      October 29, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      My daughters’s Mary Poppins party was her request, but the decorations and English Tea style menu? That was all for me.

    • TheQuirkyDiva

      October 25, 2014 at 11:23 am

      I draw the *line* at Christmas music before Thanksgiving. Everything to its season…the only reason I’m even doing any shopping or decorating before T’day is because I’m giving a ginormous party the Sunday after.

    • Kathryn Mackenzie

      October 26, 2014 at 1:44 am

      I don’t do anything for Christmas now that my sister’s kids are adults, but I have Christmas music on my iPod all year round, just in amongst all the songs, so it’s not uncommon for one to come up on shuffle in the middle of May…

    • Allyson_et_al

      October 27, 2014 at 2:29 am

      I’m with you. The only exception is our annual drive to PA for Thanksgiving with the extended family, just to set the mood. Otherwise, no Christmas music/movies/tv specials until Santa arrives at Macy’s on Thanksgiving Day.

    • Spongeworthy

      October 25, 2014 at 10:25 am

      Yea, I enjoy the traditions around Christmas–cutting down the tree, decorating, and of course all the movies (Christmas Vacation, Elf, Christmas Story are my faves)–but I don’t like the gift-giving pressure or the commercial aspect of it. So I’m a no on the elf.

    • LK

      October 25, 2014 at 10:27 am

      OMG, I have been on a total “cancel all the gifts” parade for years. Never any joiners to my cause. All I want it to get to Christmastime and watch Christmas movies and do Christmasy crap that is pleasant and pressure free, but there is never time :S

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 10:47 am

      We have scaled back a lot with our families. We just love hanging out on Christmas Eve and watching Christmas Vacation. 🙂 Drinks, food, family- who even needs the gifts?

    • TheQuirkyDiva

      October 25, 2014 at 11:07 am

      Oh god. Christmas Vacation. I have seen that movie umpty thousand times and I still laugh myself sick.

      Eddie: You surprised to see us, Clark?

      Clark: Oh, Eddie… If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am now.

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 11:14 am

      Hahaha. We quote it year-round. Like, if my husband tells the kids something and I’m not sure if he’s for real I will go “You serious, Clark?”

    • Ursi

      October 25, 2014 at 11:11 am

      Christmas Vacation is our tradition too, best Christmas movie ever!

    • Ursi

      October 25, 2014 at 12:04 pm

      I’m totally on board with cancelling gifts forever. One year I just baked cookies for everyone and if I could set aside time to do that and not have to worry about spending too much money or shopping for individual people every year my life would be so much easier.

    • whiteroses

      October 27, 2014 at 12:44 am

      I buy all my Christmas gifts starting in September. Part of that is because I have to send gifts overseas, and getting that done by the first of November is one less headache. The other part is that I knit for close friends, and by December I’m knitting so hard my fingers literally bleed. I have no time to do anything other than look after my kid and take occasional bathroom breaks. I enjoy knitting for people I love, so it’s fine- it’s just a lot to do. And I’ve done a lot of knitting this year, but I’m still going to be down to the wire.

  14. rockmonster

    October 25, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Praise Jesus, someone else hates the elf! Want to burn down Hallmark channel with me?

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 10:10 am

      For real.

    • LK

      October 25, 2014 at 10:29 am

      Except for the Golden Girls reruns. Those stay.

    • chickadee

      October 25, 2014 at 10:33 am

      How do you know when someone’s acting career is bobbing up and down in the toilet? That person appears in a Hallmark Channel Xmas special.

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 10:49 am


    • Wonder Woman

      October 25, 2014 at 10:52 am

      Hahahahaha…Candace Cameron Bure, I’m looking at you.

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 10:56 am

      Denise Richards

    • Wonder Woman

      October 25, 2014 at 10:56 am


  15. Lisa Walker

    October 25, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Elf sucks. I hate the tattle aspect, commercialism, ugh. When my kids are older in going to make kindness elves that teach them the spirit of Christmas not the present aspect of Christmas ie. pass out care packages to homeless, donate some of their toys, etc.

  16. TheQuirkyDiva

    October 25, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Thank god this became a thing before my daughter was too old to care. As it is, we have always downplayed the gifts/Santa thing and kept it to a dull roar. We try to do experiences with her, like driving around and looking at Christmas lights, going to Christmas home tours, stuff like that. She’s the only grandbaby on both sides of the family and if we went all-in on gifts, she’d be spoiled rotten. We explained to her as soon as she was old enough to understand that in our family each person gets three gifts because that’s how many gifts the Wise Men brought the baby Jesus. And that Santa brings her a special present because, well, that’s what Santa does. Funny thing, the little mercenary now refuses to admit that she doesn’t believe in Santa anymore (even though I know damn well she doesn’t) because she doesn’t want to lose that extra present. TLDR: Managing to keep a low-key Christmas is hard. The elf thing would kill me.

  17. Ursi

    October 25, 2014 at 11:10 am

    A lot of the reasons you listed are reasons I am also against pretending with kids about Santa Claus.

    I would never spoil it for someone else’s kid but I hate the thought of lying about some weirdo creeping in your chimney and leaving presents. It’s a nice story that’s part of the tradition but that doesn’t mean we have to pretend it’s real and they’re being watched. The elf is just some next level bullcrap. Enough with the magical home invasions. I wouldn’t want a kid worrying about a doll that might be watching them. WTF. Ugh, I hate the holidays.

  18. swimmercait

    October 25, 2014 at 11:48 am

    I always feel a little Regina George about this whenever I see them for sale in droves “Stop trying to make the Elf happen. It’s never going to happen!”

    Even when it was new it reeked of commercial desperation.

    • Valerie

      October 25, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      I still can’t get over the price. It is flat-out highway robbery.

    • canaduck

      October 26, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Exactly, so WHY is it still around?? Urrrghh!

  19. tk88

    October 25, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Some kids don’t get presents just because their parents are cruel. I’ve known people who were treated like that as kids. But the fact that poor kids didn’t get as much or more presents was one of the biggest reasons I stopped believing in Santa as a kid. I though that I had lots of toys already so it would only be fair to give poor kids more, but that didn’t happen.

    • AP

      October 25, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      Yup. My dad grew up with meager Christmases. He figured it was because they were poor.

      When my grandmother died, they found a box of all of her financial papers dating back that far. They told a VERY different story.

    • ChickenKira

      October 25, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      That was my big clue too. I didn’t get a huge array of presents by any means, but I did get one or two really nice things, the year Santa brought me a freaking awesome metallic purple bike, and two days later I went to my friend’s house and she showed me the colouring book Santa brought her, yeah, even my little 6yr old mind realised that there was a major inconsistency in Santa’s gift giving.

      I don’t begrudge anyone their choice to present Santa as a real person, I just don’t think I could keep it up, especially given that my husband and I don’t agree with the whole present-bombing the kids thing that is really popular at the moment, so I assume one day ChickenEgg will question why Santa brought her one thing when little Bertha down the road got 100 things.

    • Guest

      October 26, 2014 at 10:51 am

      Yeah, I remember distinctly having a no holds barred Christmas and then going to our family Christmas where my poor cousin was showing me her 3 teeny gifts. None was a travel sized game. I was like OMG she didn’t even get the full size game. She was so happy about it though.

      I still don’t know what I’ll do with my kids. Cause while the 1 thing you want, one thing you need, one thing to wear, one thing to read seems nice I wouldn’t want my kids to think I’m stingy. I also wouldn’t want them to miss out on at least A Christmas where they got tons of stuff (even if it wasn’t every single thing they wanted) like I had as a kid because they were amazing.

  20. Jitterbug_Perfume

    October 25, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    I’d get one if I could do this:

  21. AP

    October 25, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Hallmark makes a singing toilet snowman. I think that’s going to be my tradition. Cuz I’m classy.

    • mamaduck_75

      October 25, 2014 at 6:03 pm

      I have a santa toilet cover that attachment that says “ho ho ho” when the lid is lifted, lol. I’m all about cheesing it up for the holidays!

  22. Katherine Handcock

    October 25, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Everything on this list is awesome. I feel exactly the same way about the Elf – I find the competitive aspect, the commercialism, the emphasis on “good people get presents” (with the implicit consequence, “that little girl at your school who didn’t get any must be bad”)…it’s all a little icky to me.

    We started a Christmas tradition for our kids around the same time the Elf exploded: they pick an Angel Child (or whatever similar charitable gift-giving setup is going on in our area) that’s the same age as them. And we make that kid a Christmas. If someone ever ends up giving us an Elf (thankfully, neither set of grandparents appears inclined, but I’ve been surprised before) the Elf will find the kids in need for us, and we’ll toss the book. I’d much rather spend my money on that than on the Elf.

    • Guest

      October 26, 2014 at 11:00 am

      I think the charitable aspect of Christmas is my favorite part. I’m certain if I ever find my kid is going to school with someone who got no presents over the holidays I’m prob wrap something up and have my kid stuff it in their desk or cubby when they aren’t looking.

  23. Jessie Lamontagne

    October 25, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    I don’t plan on lying about Santa, so no to the elf.

  24. ChickenKira

    October 25, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Now I remember why I blocked that girl I went to high school with from my facebook feed. Her 4-5 times daily elf photos. A few months back I realised I had blocked her and couldn’t remember why.

  25. mamaduck_75

    October 25, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    I’m a christmas freak, so I admit I love Elf on the Shelf, Santa, we do the polar express train ride, I start watching Christmas movies as soon as the weather gets crisp and cool (yep, already watched every movie and special in my collection)…I do go all out like a crazy person. Plus, my daughter’s BD is in November, mine’s in December, my husband’s is in January. I guess it’s what you make it…if you want to emphasize how he’s watching the kids for being good or not, I guess that’s fine, but for us, the emphasis isn’t on presents, it’s more ‘surprise, he’s here!’ and then a month or so of seeing what silly things we can make him do. I don’t overpost on facebook. I admit, that’s annoying. We change out what he’s doing maybe a couple times a week. It’s really what you decide to make out of it. For me, Christmas is so incredibly special because in my childhood, it was the only time of year that there was sometimes a little peace and happiness. The sights, the sounds, the smells, they all bring back something special for me.

  26. Savannah61

    October 25, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    I love this! That stupid elf is creepy.

  27. Kathryn Mackenzie

    October 25, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    To be honest I’ve always found the idea of Santa kind of creepy, the whole ‘he watches you all the time, and if you’re good he sneaks into your house and leaves you presents’ thing just always weirded me out. And Elf on the Shelf is just so much creepier. Watch out kids, Santa’s fucking spies are in the house now, watching you up close, moving around while you sleep…I grew up on horror movies. Dolls that creep around the house are never a good thing.

  28. C.J.

    October 26, 2014 at 12:37 am

    I hate that darn elf, it just creates more work. I thought I was going to get away with not having one until my younger daughter came home from school last year and told me all about the elf that came to her classroom. Her teacher got one for the class and had it do something different every day and leave a note for the kids everyday telling them how great they are. She of coarse wanted one after that. The only good thing is she was happy with it just moving and leaving notes. She did build it a bed to sleep in during the day, so then I had to remember to put it in bed before she got home from school. She recently built it a house for when it comes back. She is 9, I figure this will be the last year so I will just deal with it.

  29. Allen

    October 26, 2014 at 1:09 am

    It probably depends a lot on the kid, but I think a lot of this stuff is only a problem depending on how you approach it. As a kid, my parents were pretty upfront from the beginning that different families did holidays differently. I think the fact that the elf is mass-produced is only a problem if you want the kids to believe it’s a unique, magical item. I remember my mom playing around a couple times, making it look like my action figures had come alive. I could figure out it was pretend, and the fact that I knew my action figures weren’t unique by any means didn’t detract from the fun and “magic.”

    I think the elf looks fun because it’s a chance to pretend like that. I don’t see any reason to do it “by the book.” Holiday traditions are often tailored to the family.

  30. Guest

    October 26, 2014 at 11:03 am

    I just want to know if a anyone (via elf observation or otherwise) has been told “hey you were a crappy kid” and not gotten any presents? Because the only kids I knew who didn’t get presents were poor. The parents I knew who used “Santa is watching” generally had monster children who prob could have done without presents for a year.

  31. CrazyFor Kate

    October 26, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    My main objection to Elf on the Shelf is that I’m way too lazy to do it. If I had one, it’d go on a shelf on the first of December and be forgotten about until approximately June.

  32. LoveInfinitely

    October 26, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I hate the Elf. I hate seeing his creepy Elf face all over FB for days and days and days. Ugh.

    I adore Christmas, but I really dislike what it has become. The focus is on the STUFF all the time. Yuck. Spend time with your loved ones. Eat, drink, relax, reflect. It’s not supposed to be about scaling the mountains of presents.

    DH and I are scaling back a lot this year, except for the three little ones (not ours). I’m making a lot of jams, jellies, and blended applesauces, which will be part of people’s gifts. We would really rather focus on the spirit of the holiday and enjoy everyone’s company.

    Teaching kids to be good so they get more presents sucks.

  33. DarciUrquhart

    October 27, 2014 at 2:20 am

    I have really love christmas to celebrate .

  34. amanda

    October 27, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    THIS…. ALL. of. THIS!!! i totally 100% agree with this entire article.. that damn Elf is creepy beyond belief and serves no purpose IMO. If you really have to essentially bribe your kid to be nice for a whole month just to get gifts on an already overly commercialized holiday, I call parenting fail. Screw the elf. new hastag: #screwtheelf lol

  35. andrea

    October 27, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Yup. The Elf is incredibly stupid. If I had my way, my kids would have never known about Santa or the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny, but I wasn’t about to deny them a piece of childhood simply because I think Santa is an elitist pig. lol. No really, you know how hard it is to justify to your kids that Santa doesn’t regale everyone with the same gifts? Sorry. No laptops from Santa being delivered in our home. Or iphones, or the $500 American Girl car.

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