Dear Parents that do the Elf on the Shelf thing,
Firstly, I need to commend you on your commitment and dedication. Thinking up something different to do with your elf doll every day for almost an entire month, year after year, is no mean feat. I know loads of you guys do it, because over the last few years, December on social media has become an elf-saturated vortex of people displaying the imaginative and adorable ways that they have posed their elves each day, presumably to surprise and delight their children. Good on you guys! However, I will not be encouraging any elves to adorn my shelves. Not a chance. It’s nothing personal. In fact, it’s fair to say that it’s not you- it’s me.
Getting one’s shit together.
The whole shebang requires a level of organisation that I just do not possess. I’ve seen all the planners you can download, enabling you to plot out your poses well in advance. I think these are probably the reason I saw all the posts appearing in my Facebook feed in November; over-excited parents were already anticipating their elvish shenanigans. Being a disorganised, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type, just the thought of all this planning sends my anxiety levels (and blood pressure) in a distinctly skywards direction. Clearly, the parents in the same disorganised boat as I am are throwing caution to the wind and doing it anyway, because it’s the beginning of December and my social media feeds are also peppered with articles full of
lame excuses reasons you can give your kids in the morning when they wake up and see that you forgot to re-position the damn elf.
Where “CREEPY” comes in…
I know that the idea of the elf is often to encourage good behaviour, but let’s just examine the idea for a minute. You introduce a toy to your kids. It’s a toy they aren’t allowed to play with, generally. They are told it is watching them and reporting back on their behaviour to Santa Claus. I have heard parents tell kids that he can see them even when he’s in a different room. He apparently moves around at night but only when no-one is watching him. I’m sorry, guys, but that is creepy. The fact that you manage to sell it to kids as FUN is impressive in itself! I’ve even seen articles like this one that suggest getting your kids to accept this elf stuff is actually a way of making kids believe that surveillance is normal and that the whole idea prepares them to live in a police state! That’s probably going to far, though…probably…
When toys come to life.
I get why so many kids like the idea. To them, it’s an extension of the whole Toy Story thing- where toys having a secret world and life of their own is charming, comedic, adventurous and full of excellent life lessons for little ones about friendship and acceptance.
However, I am from a different generation. I am from the same generation that most of you excellent, committed and creative elf-on-a-shelfers are and I have to say, I marvel at your short memories. Because the movies I watched as part of a misspent youth (or so my mother used to say) made a lasting impression. They taught me that toys coming to life was almost never a good thing.
I look into the shiny blue eyes of the Elf on the Shelf and am reminded of the glistening baby blues of Chucky from Child’s Play. If that seems ridiculous, have a think about it. Chucky was a “Good Guy” doll, remember? In the movie, all the kids wanted one; all the kids loved him. The mum who bought him was completely unaware of the fact that a voodoo ritual had placed the soul of a serial killer inside him and being in the body of a doll was no barrier to him wreaking violent and terrifying mayhem. He didn’t even need batteries! They say that the eyes are the window to the soul, you know, and they are just too close for comfort…
This idea became firmly embedded in my mind when this disturbing image was shared with me on Facebook (Thanks to Haidee @ Maybe Baby Brothers!):
You see? Horrifying! This is why we can’t have nice things, people!
Elf on the Shelf, for your amusement?
It doesn’t help that some of you cheeky adults pose your elves in…well, cheeky, adult poses. So for people like me, already struggling after growing up with Chucky and other movies where toys come to life and get up to no good at all, (Anyone remember the 1987 classic Dolls? Or Dolly Dearest? Or Silent Night, Deadly Night? Demonic Toys? Blood Dolls? Are you seeing a theme here??) the creepy factor skyrockets when I see pictures of your Elf on the Shelf getting busy with Barbie.
I just can’t even.
So you can imagine how I felt at my friend’s house the other day when I went to the bathroom. As I was washing my hands, I caught a glimpse of blue eyes flashing in the mirror over my shoulder…
IBOT @ Essentially Jess