Unitasker Wednesday: The Elf on the Shelf

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

I like the holidays. I really do. I enjoy spending time with my family and sharing a good meal with good conversation and watching my son in the Christmas pageant. I look forward to exchanging gifts with my nearest and dearest and trimming the tree. I’m someone who prefers her holidays to be simple and free of rats who tattle on you to Santa Claus, like The Elf on the Shelf does:

If you have kids under the age of 15 and celebrate Christmas, you’re probably a fan of the Shelf Elf and now believe me to be the most awful human on the planet. “She doesn’t like the Shelf Elf? She picked the innocent Shelf Elf as a unitasker selection?! She must hate puppies and rainbows, too!”

If you don’t have kids and don’t celebrate Christmas, you’re likely confused by this little guy — this creepy, big eye, pointy nose, weird little guy. Which, is exactly as it should be. You should be confused and scared and in complete agreement with me.

Some background for the uninformed: There is a book you can buy for about $30 that tells the story of the Shelf Elf. In the book, it explains that the Shelf Elf is a spy for Santa Claus. He watches over your family throughout the day, takes scores of mental notes, and then while you sleep he reports back to Santa what happened that day. The next morning, the Shelf Elf is back, but he’s in a different spot in your home. Children are supposed to behave until Christmas out of fear that the Shelf Elf will give Santa a bad report and they’re supposed to want to hunt for the Shelf Elf each morning when they wake.

I have so many issues with this. First, how do you know your elf is honest? How do you know he’s reporting accurately what he sees to Santa? I liked it better when there wasn’t a middleman and Santa just assumed everyone was nice. Timmy? Nice. Sally? Nice. Bobby? Also nice. I’ve seen Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town and I know Santa is a generous spirit who is eager to forgive grievances and sounds an awful lot like Mickey Rooney. Second, the elf is a SPY. He’s a spy who repeatedly breaks into your house and you’re so terrified of him and what he’ll tell Santa that you don’t call the cops. When did Santa become a thug who orders elf operatives to break into your home? I’m not okay with this. Santa does not rule some kind of elf underworld. Third, why would anyone eagerly want to hunt for a creep like the Shelf Elf? If I were a kid, I’d flush the eerie thing down the toilet and hope that Santa just thought he took up with some lady elf in Reno. Finally, where’s the motivation for your kid to behave the rest of the year? All this disturbing piece of plastic with beady eyes and freakishly long limbs lacking muscle tone does is instill terror in my kid for most of the month of December. I’d rather my son behave all year round because of a belief in the golden rule, compassion, and empathy, not because of an anxiety-fueled ulcer resulting from a fear of an elf mafia.

Except for horrifying children and adults, I’m not sure the Elf on the Shelf has much task at all. Dude, he seriously gives me the willies.

P.S. Please don’t take this post too seriously. I’m just having fun.

104 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: The Elf on the Shelf”

  1. posted by Kim on

    I seriously hate this stupid elf. I’m so glad I’m not the only one! My daughter thought I was a terrible parent for not letting this creepy thing into our house. And she doesn’t even believe in Santa!

  2. posted by Marie on

    I have never heard of this creepy thing before reading this post. I blame you for the nightmares I am anticipating tonight.

    Even if my parents knew of this, I highly doubt they would have used it. I was an annoyingly logical child. I probably would have been calling ADT and demanding a refund for their crappy home security system not catching the little bugger.

  3. posted by falwyn on

    Let me preface this by saying, we actually do the elf thing at our house, though not in this form (more like Marci above, actually, she’s where I first heard of it, hi Marci!), and enjoy it very much. (It probably helps that the Elf Magic elves that we use look more like little ragdolls, and are not about spying.) The funny thing is that, before reading about elves on Marci’s blog, my mom sent us an Elf on the Shelf kit. But when I tried to introduce it to my kids, they were immediately freaked out and we (haha) shelved the idea. They were all about the other elves, though. I think there may be an almost generational gap between people for whom the Elf on the Shelf face reminds them of kewpie dolls or other such things from their childhood (thus nostalgic), and other people who have no such pleasant associations and find it creepy.

  4. posted by Tracy on

    My parents did this to me when I was a kid, and I loved it! Well, actually, I hated the fact that I had to behave and not fight with my brother when it was around, but we bought the whole story, hook, line, and sinker! My dad would wait till we weren’t paying attention, take the elf and hit the ceiling fan so it would move, and then he’d say he saw the elf fly, and we’d be like, “Yeah, I saw it fly! It went from there to there!!” And if my brother and I were fighting we’d say “Stop! The elf will see and tell Santa! We won’t get any toys!” It was a tiny little babysitter! Best Christmas tradition ever!

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