Sometimes I’m just glad my kids are old enough that I can still fake being an adequate parent with a minimum of effort. At 13 and 15 they are still willing participants in the magic of Christmas gifting, albeit with a wink and a nod.
To bring about Christmas magic I need only bake the cookies, deck the halls (with help. That’s why I have teenagers anyway), and get us to the church Christmas pageant on time.
When they were younger we read all our favorite, classic Christmas stories, watched the annual Christmas specials and one memorable year rode The Polar Express to the North Pole.
One thing they missed, having been born too soon, is having our own personal Elf on the Shelf.
Elf on the Shelf is a fairly recent phenomena where one adopts a cute little pose able Christmas elf and then sets about seeing what crazy hi-jinks that elf gets up to each night. By day the elves are quiet, frozen in place to preserve the magic. At night they are on the prowl.
Much like their boss, Santa, who is busy at North Pole HQ this time of year, they see you when you are sleeping and know when you’re awake, they know when you’ve been bad or good and they’ve probably been worse themselves for goodness sakes.
Judging from the endless photos shared via the Internet and social media — most of the elves are brats! More than one family reports their elves are found bathing in bowls full of marshmallows, hiding in houseplants and swinging from chandeliers.
One cunning elf was seen tooling around in a minuscule Barbie doll car. In that case, however, he may just have been trolling for a date. Elves get lonely too.
Cute enough, but it is the elves that engage in petty vandalism that concern me. More than one elf has been photographed smearing lipstick all over the bathroom mirror. Do you know what a good tube of rich red goes for these days? Never mind what a bear lipstick is to get off!
Another elfin adventure is to engage in a pillow fight with a child’s stuffed animal — resulting in feathers all over the floor. If a child acted like that it would be coal for Christmas.
I’m not sure why the elves get away this nonsense? Do they have something on Santa? Let me tell you Elf, if you ruin one of mommy’s good down pillows and her vacuum cleaner in the resultant clean-up, it’s going to be a very un-merry moment for you indeed. Elfin doggie chew toy anyone?
Despite my tough-love stance on elfin antics, according to the photos circulating around, more than one elf seems to have taken a walk on the wild side. Forget Elf on the Shelf. It’s elf on a bender.
I’ve seen more photos of elves hanging off liquor bottles than I care to count. Granted elfin binge drinking would explain the smeared lipstick and their propensity to wake up in a pile of marshmallows.
Still, some folks with a warped sense of humor have taken even elves gone wild too far. All this hanging from lampshades, partying like rock stars and careening Barbie’s Corvette into a ditch have turned a happy Christmas elf into Santa’s own version of a tiny trooper in need of a gingerbread intervention — and rehab. Think Lindsay Lohan in elf form.
Sadly I think we are too old around here to have our own personal elf. Still, I’m tempted to try. Our elf would spend quiet evenings tidying cupboards, washing dishes, perhaps shingling the roof.
I also think it would be funny to perch it at the edge of Mr. Wonderful’s pillow right before he wakes up. “He sees you when you’re sleeping, he startles you awake” indeed.
Realistically, as someone who could barely remember to activate the Tooth Fairy on a semi-annual basis, being wholly responsible for overseeing nocturnal elf antics on a nightly basis is way beyond my pay grade.
Around here, all our elves like a good night’s sleep.