This year we have cheerfully bought into conspicuous consumption and have introduced ‘Elf on a Shelf’ into the family home.
This is Mary. Named by the girls without intervention. Personally I liked Rosie-Sparkle-Boo-Butt better but they decided Mary was the best name for a Christmas Elf.
I know right? And they have no idea. That is what is so awesome.
The general premise of Elf on a Shelf is that the elf comes into your home and observes you during the day to find out if you are naughty or nice and reports back to Santa each night. Each day the elf is hiding in a new spot and part of the fun is finding the hiding spot.
The story that accompanies the elf says you are not supposed to touch the elf as that kills the magic off and it talks about good deeds and about night time prayers in the story which led to conversations about god which I obviously deflected with a clear and definite ‘ask your father’.
Because theology at bedtime is generally more than my brain can cope with at this time of the year.
Elf in the Shelf obviously works MUCH better in homes that are more authoritarian than ours. This is something we learned pretty much immediately.
As you can see above, Mary the elf was covered in snowman putty on her first day in the family home in case she was missing the snow from the north pole.
They weren’t TOUCHING. They were HELPING.
Honestly. Don’t I know anything?
She has also been HUGGED.
And CHATTED to like nobody’s business.
Because Mary is part of the family and not hugging and kissing her would make her feel like we don’t love her.
Go ahead – argue with that if you can.
Plus my girls are perfect remember – so obviously they are angelic, well behaved and generally a shining example of our excellent parenting at all times with no exceptions. Ever.
And it’s very lucky that I’m not a boy called Pinocchio.
In fact, for me, the best thing about Elf on the Shelf is the conversations the girls have with the magic elf rather than any possible impact on behaviour (Um… zilch, zero, none, not a chance, it’s just make believe mum – everybody knows that Santa can hear you when you think)
I love the joy that goes into these imaginary conversations and new discoveries. I like watching them grapple with real magic versus make believe magic. The earnest discussions about whether the Tooth Fairy and the elves know each other because they are real fairies whereas the ones you see on the TV are generally just stories and the ones you find in the toy catalogues are just advertising.
So much GOING ON IN THOSE BRAIN BOXES.
And the delight when they find Mary’s hiding spot each morning. The breathless retelling of what Mary did last night when she visited Santa and her other elf friends.
It’s ridiculously cute.
So yes. We’re part of that growing culture of people buying into Christmas traditions in the absence of our own, contributing to the dumbing down of society as a whole and commercialising the pagan and christian yuletide messages with nary a thought to the therapy our children are going to require in future years because we lied to them about Santa Claus.
And it’s fun.