Thursday, December 20, 2012

Elf on the Shelf & Other Scare Tactics

People either love or hate the whole Elf on the Shelf madness. You buy the elf, read the book, and then spend the entire month of December trying to remember to move that annoying elf before your kids wake up. How many of the crazies (myself included) have jumped out of bed at 3am with the sudden reminder that your elf is still sitting in the same place as the night before. The horror! Parents can use and abuse it to scare their kids into behaving. “Hey kids, the elf is watching. Stop hitting your brother with that fork and get your finger out of your nose at the dinner table or I will tell George to take a note to Santa to take some gifts off of your list.” 

All I know is whomever invented this must be laughing all the way to the Creepy Elf bank. My kids love it. And I have to admit – finding ways to freak them out gives me some sort of sick pleasure. However, I have a few suggestions to the Elf on the Shelf creators and resellers….
·         First, if you want this to actually work, how about you make this an online purchase only? Having to drive my cart at warp speed past the display in Target and then lie my way out of what those elves are doing in the store is a pain. If you want the kids to buy into this fake elf who watches us like a stalker, try not making him so easily accessible in the store.
·         Second, try diversifying the look of your elf. It has been hard to explain why 15 other kids in my son’s class have an elf that looks EXACTLY like our George. This is not Kentucky and I am guessing the family tree for elves extends a bit past a single branch. Let’s change it up a bit. How about a wild elf with pink hair and a tie-dyed suit? Or maybe a red-headed elf? Don’t discriminate against the gingers of the world. They need elf love too.
·         Lastly, how about mass manufacturing an elf without a product tag on the butt. Having to explain why a “real” elf comes with a Made in China tag was a tough one. Thankfully I am an exceptional liar.  

Tips for Parents – Lying to your kids to keep the Elf sham alive…..

My children, as I am sure all kids do, ask some tough questions. And stretching the truth has become some sort of sport for me. I am waiting for my Heisman Award for Lying to be delivered. I even have the pose worked out so they can cast me into a fabulous trophy for all eternity. I’ll let you take a moment to get the visual in your head. Ok, carrying on…..

So what did I say when Gray saw the elf on the shelf boxes in Target? “Mom, why does that look like George?” As I steered them quickly away from that aisle, I thought hard. I will give some kudos to the creators – at least the packaging isn’t clear where you can see the poor fella suffocating in that plastic box. That would be traumatizing. So I said, “I think that is just the book. You know, in case your elf forgets to bring back your first one or you lose it. And I think it has some extra magic dust in it in case some little kid touches their elf you can revive it.” The kids bought it. I then made mental notes to avoid all feminine hygiene and birth control aisles. I think my lying meter is done for the day.

What happens when your elf “forgets” to move overnight? A few glasses of wine and a sleepy parent sometimes lead to George hanging out in the same spot for a night or two. I have several excuses for this one. Feel free to borrow them as needed.
·         I am guessing that George saw you holding your brother down so you could fart on his head. He probably stayed to make sure your brother was still breathing in the morning.
·         He fell asleep. Elves need sleep too you know.
·         Maybe he left and just came back to the same spot because it was a comfy one. Look, his arm moved.
·         Buzz and Woody hog-tied him last night and wouldn’t let him leave until he paid them the money he lost playing poker.

"What is that tag on George’s butt?" Great. Mom forgot to cut the tag off of our REAL elf. Huh. Well, thankfully my kids were being holy terrors that day and George was far enough away so they couldn’t see the actual tag detail. So my response was simple – that is George’s notepad so he can take notes of the bad behaviors and report them back to Santa. I can’t see it really clearly right now (because he was hanging from the air vent in the ceiling) but it looks like he has a lot of notes. You guys better shape up!

Ideas for planting your elf….
Finding a new spot for George is tough after a week or so. Here are a few of my favorites. Yes, for my friends with no children or those that think the Elf on the Shelf is a big scam, this is a bit much. But it cracks me up.

1.      George used a whole bag of marshmallows to take a nice hot tub bath. Beware of sticky marshmallows and the funk they leave on the elf later.
2.      While I am not into making a huge mess that I will later have to clean up (the kids insist they don’t because GEORGE is responsible for cleaning up after himself), taking all of their socks and underwear and throwing them on the floor is a big hit. The kids are almost scared I am going to start yelling at them to pick up their stuff (like I ever do that, please! J) so they run to tell me that George made a mess, not them. This time, George stole our stockings and replaced them with our socks. Eli was seriously concerned about enough candy fitting into his little sock.

3.      Nothing says good times like a little gambling amongst friends. That Lotso was taking all the coin from Buzz and George. Mean Bear!

Do you have some good elf tricks? Or do you think the parents that buy into this $30 nonsense are totally nuts? Give me your thoughts and share those ideas! Happy holidays to everyone!!