Archive for Elf on the Shelf

The Elf on the Shelf

Posted in Reflections with tags , , , , on December 4, 2013 by Justin S. Smith

I hate the Elf on the Shelf. I know some of you are saying “but, Justin, you’re not supposed to hate” or “it’s just a fun thing to do at Christmas with the kids.” To the first, I have no issue hating a piece of crap plastic and felt doll; to the second, fun is subjective and the elf is not fun for me. I hate him or her or it.

Why do I hate it? Well, the reasons are manifold. It represents a perpetuation of a myth that we sell our children every year. It is an increase on that myth taking to the next level of Santa Claus having a mischievous spy in the house reporting on whether you’re good or bad. Commonly this myth is sold to children of religious people who should be telling them that the judgment  of their actions is from the Almighty God of Heaven instead of a fat man living on the North Pole. Further, many of these Christians are screaming about the cashier at Wal-Mart saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” while wholesale buying into this bit of commercialism and advertising it on Facebook. Which is the real reason I hate the freaking elf; the barrage of craptastically  cutesy Facebook posts that clog my newsfeed with vomit inducing sentimentality  throughout the month of December. For full disclosure, I have similar feelings about the thankful posts in November.

Maybe I should be more concerned about the myth and commercialization, but I’m not.  However you celebrate the holidays will not get much response from me. Have a tree or don’t; Tree topped with angel or star; ornaments with scripture verses or sports team logos or Mickey Mouse and Star Trek (shout out Jason and Shelly,) it really doesn’t phase me. Even if your clogging my newsfeed with the Elf on the Shelf, I’m not going to say anything about it…until you call me out.

Up until today, the most comment I’ve made about the Elf was a comment on a friend’s picture of a newly purchased one: “Ugh.” That was it. She knows me well and responded with a playful “Do you mean Bah humb”ugh”??? LOL.” I’ll take the jab that I may be becoming a grumpy old man prematurely. Then today this appears in my news feed (slightly clipped)

“I know some people don’t get into the Elf on the Shelf thing, but our Tinsel brings our house a lot of fun this time of year. I love creating memories for my children. If that makes me a bad mom, then I guess I ‘ll just continue to be a bad mom. Tinsel is here to stay. If you don’t enjoy seeing my posts, then do me a favor and unfriend me.“

My Response:

“I’m sure someone said something unwarranted to you to get such a rant, but unleashing it on the rest of us seems off the mark. I don’t like the EOTS. I usually skip over the posts because my opinion of your traditions at your house should be kept to myself, unless my opinion is called for a reason why I should cease being your friend. It seems if someone did say something negative about your elf, this response is equally bad.”

Maybe I should have just skipped it, but to me the tone says this Elf, this doll, is a sacred cow. It says “This elf that I will post pictures of for 25 days is more important to me than keeping a relationship with you.” Clearly it was because after my comment I was deleted as a friend. I’m still in mourning. It’s hard to type through the tears.

Look, if you want to play with dolls all month and post pictures, I’ll typically keep my comments to myself. If I have to approve of your hobby choice and enjoy seeing your pictures to be your friend, then it’s time we said goodbye and that’s one less person on my newsfeed posting Elf on the Shelf pics. Doesn’t it say something though about how social media has redefined friendship and how shallow we all are because of it?

But just to get in the spirit, here’s a few of my favorite elf pics:

Now you have some more ideas to keep it fresh.

Tomorrow I will have a guest post at Nathan Barra’s In Brief. More on that to come.

J.S.S.

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