To Elf or Not to Elf: That is the Holiday Question

To Elf or Not to Elf: That is the Holiday Question

We’re in this together, whatever side we fall on.

Planning fun elf scenes can be exhausting!

“I got them the Lego Advent Calendar this year,” I told my bestie as we chatted about upcoming holiday plans. “It seemed to quiet the complaining about our lack of elf,” I added.

I had already planned on the Lego Advent Calendar, in fact I bought it back in October. Our December celebrations are usually a simple countdown, a great book, and the craziness that comes naturally with the season.

elf-on-shelfWe live on a training installation, which means all holiday events are crammed into the first few weeks before the massive Exodus of students. Which, of course means my husband is working insane hours trying to finish 400+ leave forms and get said students to their final destinations. Then everyone relaxes and has time to actually enjoy the holiday.
So when my son started complaining about being the only kid in his class that doesn’t have an Elf on the Shelf, I calmly explained why we don’t. Well, almost all of the reasons we don’t. I explained that we don’t need an Elf to watch over us while we live life and report to Santa. The magic of Santa is that he knows what’s going on anyway.

I explained that we do other things in preparation for the holidays. That I never had this elf growing up and we still had fun. I explained that our family has traditions that differ from other families and that is what makes us all unique.

Here’s the big one I omitted from my list: I don’t want to.

I have no moral or religious opposition. I have no problem with the elf. I think the pictures of the elf in your house are adorable. But I don’t want to do it. I don’t have time. I know myself, if I did it, it would consume my attention. I would forget why we celebrate Christmas and I would become obsessed. No, thank you.

There are some great reasons to participate, and some equally great reasons not to. Let’s look at some of those.

Reasons to do it:

  1. It’s a fun and interactive Advent Calendar. Without chocolate.
  2. It’s fun to be creative and play around with the Elf. And play tricks on the kids.
  3. The Elf can help with behavior, especially when the kids are hyped up on sugar. Which, when one parent is absent at times, is really helpful.
  4. The Elf joins in the holiday traditions. Traditions are good, new traditions are fun.
  5. The kids love it! Really, is there a better reason?


Reasons not to do it:

  1. I dislike trendy things. I didn’t watch Finding Nemo, I didn’t read Harry Potter. I don’t do things because society says I must.
  2. I’ll forget. I know I would forget to move it. Or I’d stress myself out about moving it. Or the dog would eat it.
  3. The Elf is kinda creepy looking. I know I’m not alone in this.
  4. The Elf, and his cousin the Birthday Elf, are taking over! 24 days are enough, I’m not doing a birthday thing too.
  5. There are other, better traditions that require way less work. And sometimes, not doing what everyone else is doing is important too.

Bottom Line Up Front: Do the Elf, don’t do the Elf, but don’t make it the only thing you worry about this season. Celebrate family and family and focus on the time you get to spend together. And if you forget to move the Elf, we understand. We’re in this together.


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