Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Elf on the Shelf

We have an Elf on the Shelf in our house. My kids have two elves; Hank, who lives at their dad's house, and Snowflake, who showed up in my house after I moved in. I'm not one of those people who makes the elf do mischievous things, simply because I am lazy. Snowflake just moves from one spot to another, as long as she doesn't fall asleep and stay in the same spot, which does happen sometimes. My feelings about the elf are ambivalent: I'm not crazy about her, but she doesn't bother me, either. The kids love her; my daughter left a yellow Barbie dress out for Snowflake and got super excited when the elf somehow managed to put it on, despite her hands being sewn together. Sometimes, when one kid is acting up, the other kid will mention Snowflake's watching eyes, and suddenly, the house is at peace again.



I do wonder about the ethical ramifications of having an Elf on the Shelf. I forgot to move her the first couple of nights she was here, and I was terrified that the kids might figure out that she didn't move because she doesn't move. As an adult, it seems obvious to me that this thing is just a trick. I wonder why my kids don't question the validity of my claim that this elf flies to the North Pole every night, reports to Santa, then comes back to a different spot. Isn't it a little too convenient that she only moves when they sleep? Doesn't it seem just the slightest bit suspect that she's always somewhere I can reach?How did she fasten her dress when her hands are sewn together?

I worry that when I forget to move her, the kids will be hit with a sudden realization that I have been lying to them, and then all the other lies I've told will come to light, too. I'll have to explain Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy and it will be the most awful day of my life. I wonder why we do this to our kids in the first place. We tell them lies about fictional characters, and giggle behind their backs at their naivete, and how cute it is that they just believe everything we tell them. Would it be better to raise kids without figures like Santa and the Elf on the Shelf? I know I loved the idea of Santa and the Tooth Fairy so much when I was a kid that I didn't believe my mother when she told me, straight up, that none of them existed. I thought she was just having a bad day, saying things she didn't mean. I continued to believe in all the fictional characters for at least three more years.

Anyway, whether it is ruining my kids or not, I'm going to continue to move that stupid little elf until she goes back to the North Pole after Christmas. I won't forget, either: I set a reminder on my phone. If they ask me for the truth about Snowflake, I will tell them, but in the meantime, I'm just going to let them enjoy my lies.

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