When it comes to the Elf on the Shelf, we parents are divided into four separate camps. There are those of us who adore the 'lil fella, those who despise him and his creepy face, those who are sort of "whatever" about it all and those who live peacefully, in a bubble, oblivious to the elf-world.
For a long while I was contently a member of the latter camp. Then we moved from the UK to Canada and my peaceful bubble was popped. The elf was everywhere, the kids loved it and before I could put my UGG-clad foot down, we'd added a new little buddy to our holiday traditions: Summer the Elf.
And so began the nightly moves from one not-so-crazy spot to the next while a barrage of Facebook updates, showing the wild antics of other people's elves, highlighted how dull our elf's life was.
Other people's elves were pooping rainbow colored chocolates while our elf lounged next to the toaster. Other people's elves made snow angels in fluffy piles of flour and had a jolly-old-time messing up the kitchen while our elf sat alone in a window sill (wishing she lived in a home where fun happened). Other people's elves "came in like a wrecking ball" while ours hung upside-down from a dusty chandelier for nights on end.
We didn't hate the elf. She didn't hate us. But, I admit, enthusiasm was low on the parental front.
Yet, as uninspired as we were, the kids liked the elf and seemed happy to find her in her ever-so-basic locations each morning. So, my husband and I settled into a sort of "whatever" approach to life with our elf.
Boxing Day marked the end of our first elf-filled holiday and Summer went back into her box. We'd had a semi-successful first round of elf-antics together but I wasn't sad to see her go. Nobody was.
The next year, it was time to get the half-assed elf party started, so I took Summer out of her box and began to set up a simple scene to greet the kids with in the morning. The series of events that followed wound up being an unintentional 8-step program ending with the exile of the elf from our home. That's right, the kids wanted her to leave and to never come back.
Although unplanned, I knew that we'd stumbled upon a practical (and only mildly traumatic) set of steps that other parents (especially the elf haters) could easily replicate if they wanted to have an elf-free Christmas season.
So, here they are! If you want to end the elf-capades, this 8-step (two part) process should do the trick:
PART ONE (at night):
1. Sit elf on small doll's chair.
2. Place sitting elf alone in dimly-lit hallway, outside kids' rooms.
3. Ensure something wakes kids up in the night. (We lucked out with some random night-walking but you may have to get creative and steal blankets or something.)
4. When child walks out of room to discover a small, creepy thing in her doll's chair, be there to hold child as she screams in horror.
5. Upon child's request, hide elf so elf isn't "wooking" at child.
PART TWO (the next morning):
6. Just as the prior night's trauma is forgotten, husband must chase kids, elf in hand, while making haunting ghost sounds. (Tip: Craning elf's neck from side to side greatly enhances creepiness.)
7. Capitalize on terrifying and ridiculous situation by asking kids if they'd like elf to go live with another family.
8. Kids say YES.
BAM! Just. Like. That. You get to go back to an elf-free holiday season, like it used to be. You're welcome.
This post ran originally on Martinis & Motherhood.
Did you know that Shannon Day and 36 other fab writers have created a book for moms? Well, it's actually a martini guide too! If you like funny, ridiculous, and heartstring-tugging stories of motherhood (+ easy-to-make martini & mocktini recipes) then you'll love Martinis & Motherhood: Tales of Wonder, Woe & WTF?! It's the perfect stocking stuffer or hostess gift for the special moms in your life.