Screw You, Tommy. Screw. You.

Most of you are probably familiar with the Christmas Elf. You’ve seen him in all the stores as soon as the holidays officially arrived. You know, a week before Halloween. I admit, I didn’t know much about him until last year when my boys started reporting other kids in our neighborhood had elves and I began hearing, “Why don’t we have one, Mom?”

So I told them to wish for one, real hard, and wouldn’t ya know it, the tiny little guy showed up in our house. And by showed up, I mean I went to Target and paid $30 for the “kit” so my boys could have even more joy and wonder over the holidays.

Each child names his own elf. The boys named ours Tommy.


Did his eyes just follow me?

There’s definitely parent benefit to this deal. The elf’s job is to watch kids and report back to Santa. Talk about bribery. I can’t count how many times I’ve said, “You’d better watch your behavior, the elf is watching!” And it works. It really works. But at the same time, it sort of pisses me off that they’re being good for the damn elf and not just cuz they’re supposed to be…but oh well, tis the season of trying to get on that coveted nice list.

It was kind of sweet, too. In case you’re not familiar, the elf moves every night. Each morning when the boys awoke, their first thought was to find the elf, and to hear their squeals of delight did provide me with a smile. At first. But thirty days of remembering to do this (and I didn’t always remember) can beat even the most enthusiastic parent down.

The boys would report to me what their friend’s elves were doing: “Tyler’s elf brings him presents”; “Olivia’s elf writes her notes”; “Caden’s elf has special clothes.”

Oh, so we’re upping the ante are we? I hear you loud and clear, Tommy.

Loud. And. Clear.

I not only had to remember to move him each night, but had to answer endless questions in tiny, swirly elf writing about his age, his life back “home”, and Santa, with little candies and gifts accompanying the return notes. Worse, the marketing dynamos behind this ruse had come up with little outfits you could buy to dress the elves in scarves and booties. Cuz why wouldn’t a stuffed doll be cold?

Tommy was starting to cause me some serious anxiety. In affect, this little elf had me by the round ‘n fuzzies.


I was being tugged in two directions: the innocent exuberance in which the boys loved and interacted with the elf was truly precious. On the other hand, I felt resentful towards the whole expectation behind it, and I was getting competitive with other elves.

At war with an elf. Who wasn’t alive. In fact, I’m the friggin’ elf. My god….I gave him the finger when I walked by…..something’s so wrong with me…..

I made it through last year, but I have to say I was thrilled when it was time to pack that little effer away.

This past Sunday we were unpacking all the Christmas décor, and my 6yo found Tommy inside a Santa hat. I could’ve sworn I deliberately put him in a box in our closet to avoid this very scenario.

I was immediately hit with a barrage of questions:
“How could Tommy be in our Christmas stuff?”
“I thought he was supposed to come from the North Pole?”
“Why didn’t he bring us presents?”
“Is this a different one?”
“Is Tommy dead?”

Well played, Tommy. Well played. I have two words for your tiny elf ears:


Have you ever waged war with an inanimate object? Is there a holiday tradition you’re not crazy about? Do you have one of these elves? If so, how do you feel about it? I heart your comments BIG!


    1. SYPH!!! Yes, they will be lovers, fer sher! But she is so naughty. He’s sneaky and passive aggressive though…hmmmm. Not sure how this will play out. Tommy and Syph. Perhaps she should send him a love letter?


  1. My children are too little to know any better so I have been spared this particular holiday experience. Thanks to the Good Lord. I say now I will never let such a creature into my home, but I know better than to say never.


    1. If all their friends have elves you’re hosed, Sarah. Maybe by the time your lil ones are old enough, this elf thing will have lost steam and not be so popular. I wish that for you cuz it’s a beating and a half!


  2. Want me to take care of the elf for you? I have some Italian blood in! I have to say, LOVE this post…had me laughing all the way (kinda like jingle all the…you get it!) Can’t say I have ever waged war on an inanimate object but an imaginary one, yes! The tooth fairy and I battled it out ’til the bitter end. This was a great post Beth 🙂


  3. Oh my gosh I was just reading along and all nodding my head and into what you’re saying because my sister-in-law does this for her kids and is the queen of doing all the over the top cutesy stuff which makes me already exhausted of being a parent in like 10 years— but when I reached the end of your post I let out such a high pitched laugh that my dog about fell off the bed. That is the funniest freaking thing (so sorry for your children though) ever!!!! “Is Tommy dead?” Oh my gosh– what did you say? That he was just hiding there to play a trick? Oh man. This is so good.


    1. OMG, Aussa, I could have written 4 posts on the hoops I had to jump to talk myself outta this one! So I told them that since “the book” (he comes with a book) says that Tommy comes back “during the holidays” and the holidays technically start when people put out their decorations, that Santa had clearly heard us talking about doing our decorations and sent Tommy to hide in the Santa hat, specifically so that one of the kids would find him, and that it was okay that they touched him (kids aren’t supposed to touch him or he loses his magic) that one time cuz he didn’t technically get his magic until the 1st night. I pulled ALL that outta my ass first thing in the morning thankyouverymuch. And they fell for it!

      It didn’t end there, sistah! They wrote notes to him, asking if he was the real one and left him food and I had to secretly answer and throw the food away. It blew my kids’ minds!!! It was the talk of all the neighborhood kids all day. I’m sure all the other moms were giving me the bird behind their backs cuz their kids were asking about their elves, but WHAT COULD I DO? Tommy started it by showing up early! That was obviously a passive aggressive move towards me! Ass.

      I’m not backing down. If he wants to play dirty….he messed with the wrong mommy.


      1. Hahahahaha this is so so so amazing and I feel like the whole saga should be chronicled in one big piece for a parenting magazine or something (okay, obviously I know nothing about parenting magazines but it should be somewhere!) I love that you came up with all of that– it’s brilliant! And I love that you spread panic through all the other kids who wondered why Santa didn’t send their elf to hide or let them touch it etc. Wow, just wow!


  4. I refuse to subject myself…ahem…my kid to the elf. First of all it creeps me out. Secondly, his kindergarten teacher used the elf to turn those 29 hellions into Christmas angels from December 1st until they returned to school after the holidays. He’d be waiting in someone’s cubby or wearing someone’s indoor shoes. My kid was afraid to find that ugly thing anywhere near “my junk!”
    Plus, if you took your kid shopping (which is probably all the time because the dad’s can’t handle kids for 2 minutes and the football game is on) they will see that freaky thing eyeing you up from…a shelf.
    Stupid Tommy.


    1. I know! What do the marketers think we’re telling our kids when they see the same damn elf in stores that are in our homes – that we’re telling them came from “magic” and “santa”? My youngest always asks me why there are elves in the store, and what they’re for? So I have to come up with even more lies….GAH!


  5. We used to have about a dozen of those little effers when I was a kid. They had a seam across their knees so they would bend, and their hands were stitched together to make a loop. You were supposed to jam the bent knees up through the arms and set them around for ambiance, I guess. I could make a FORTUNE selling the vintage version of those.

    But now you’ve given me another money-making idea – little caskets for Elf on the Shelf for people like you. . . .


    1. Hey, that’s how mine is! With the sewn together hands and the creased knees! EW. Hey, I’d love a casket for Tommy….yeah….he’ll need one, no doubt. That effer is a goner as soon as my kids think he “leaves for the North Pole” on the 26th.

      You probably could make a fortune on the vintage elves! But sell them to little old ladies, or the odd collector. Moms won’t buy them. Unless it’s to hack them to death in the backyard.


  6. Oh my, I can’t tell you how much I love this post. Seriously. Actually, I’ve never even heard of these elves. It sounds exhausting. But being at war with yourself- now THAT is something I’m familiar with.


    1. haha! That’s genius! He and Malibu Barbie would be so good together! But she’s really innocent and Tommy is sort of dominant. OMG. 50 shades of elf! He would totally be her DOM. I’m getting all sorts of uncomfortable visuals…..


  7. Oh, dear Lord, the effing Elf has to come back? I usually start with great gusto and creativity. You know, I put him in a “bubble bath” of marshmallows and have him replace our stockings with our underwear, and tons of great stuff like that. And it lasts one week. ONE WEEK. Then my creativity gets drunk, and I pass out on the couch and completely forget to do anything, and my kids think that the elf hates them, and I blame it on their behavior the previous day whilst popping Tylenol and drinking gallons of water. Then I think of something clever to make it up to them, and it’s a vicious cycle. Mom drinks wine. Elf doesn’t do anything cool. Kids get sad. Mom makes it up to them, until finally the effing elf flies back to the North Pole, and mom can drink again without guilt. And frankly, he only slightly influences their behavior. You know…when I remind him that he’s watching. Because he’s always watching.

    Tommy and Mr. Elf should get together and go bowling.

    Tis the season, eh?

    Oh, look…I can comment again. My iPhone is on crack. Looks like I have to comment old school computer style. That’s the only solution I can come up with.


    1. 1. seriously, there are certain blogs I can only comment on via my computer. Just accept it and move on or you’ll go insane.
      2. I SO GET YOU! I forgot to move the fucker LAST NIGHT and I feel terrible! I know FOR A FACT that TOMMY made me forget as revenge for this post cuz that’s the type of passive aggressive asshole he is! SEE? See what I’m dealing with???? I’m so pissed. But I will not back down. I have a plan that’s going to blow my kids’ minds. They’re going to think our elf loves them SO MUCH. Yes. I WILL WIN.


  8. This sounds both hilarious and terrifying! I’ve never heard of this elf tradition before (maybe I’ve been living out of the USA for too long). Good luck in your “war” against Tommy this year! I don’t think I’ve ever waged war against an object… unless video games count, of course (some Super Mario games can be impossibly hard!). 😛


    1. Oh, yeah video games can count fer sher! and yes, it’s all over the place in the U.S.! I’m surprised it’s not abroad yet….give it time, give it time. It’s like a virus.


  9. This was absolutely frickin’ hysterical, Beth! And frickyouverymuch for making me laugh so hard when it still hurts (post-bronchitis)… xoxo’s. No thank you on inanimate objects in the house with creepy eyes following me! I love the gesture for your boys though. I hope there is video when you eventually are sent over the edge and you and Tommy are engaged in fierce battle. I hope the Easter Bunny gets a head’s up on your household next Spring though 🙂 And THANK YOU for clearing that up about the tooth fairy…I always wondered if she was promiscuous! 🙂


    1. Oh Mike, I’ve missed you! I’m glad this made you laugh but HATE that it hurt! Yuck! Bronchitis is the worst!

      I hope there is not video when I beat this effer to a pulp. It won’t be pretty.


  10. OMG, Bethie. You had my brother and I running around the house trying to find all of those little mementos Mathair used to blackmail us into behaving all of December. She never used an elf rather a stuffed Abominable Snowman equipped with a camera inside it’s belly. Yeah, she’s like half-assed MacGyver. Like you she’d be all hyped up about keeping tabs on us the first few days, then Vin and I’d use ole Bumble as a soccer ball. We were ceremoniously reamed for it afterwards and told that Santa didn’t reward spoiled little brats with violent tendencies, but I never said Mathair was one to coddle. Quite to the contrary. She stood up for Bumble, but inevitably ended up hating the little bastard once she realized Vin and I were expecting little presents from him, and inside information on the North Pole. Thankfully Vin and I are grown and we don’t put Mathair through the whole “Elf” ordeal. Of course, we still expect to find cameras stashed somewhere in the house. I think the Christmas tree was the last culprit. LOL.


    1. Bumble the abominable snowman spied on you??? LMAO! Brilliant! Twisted….but brilliant. I didn’t think Mathair had it in her…but now I see her wicked ways. Lol
      Love this story!!!!


  11. I think the effen elf should have a tragic accident. Then use the accident as a teachable moment for the kids. Maybe run him over backing out of the drive way and show the kids why they shouldn’t stand behind cars. 1 Thing for sure if he where in my head the way he’s in yours I would use my creativity to end the effen Bastard…LOL


  12. Hahaha! Yes, Tommy’s brother/cousin/uncle/no-relation-what-so-ever did make his way into our house last year via my darling sister. However, he really didn’t make much of an impact. I suppose he finds my two too old. No, not tutu. Two too.
    He just sat in the same spot night after night. A real dullard. Perhaps HE COULD MOVE TO YOUR HOUSE!


  13. I only know this elf on sight because a person I graduated high school with posted pictures of him every day last year on Facebook. They were kinda cute, and now I guess it makes more sense now why she was always moving him for every picture. Just yesterday, she posted Tommy’s first pic of this holiday season. In a way, I guess I waged war with an inanimate object when I was a kid. My mom had some really ugly candles shaped like Santa, Frosty, and a Christmas tree. The wax was all crumbly, and when she wasn’t around I would take my fingernail and help it along its way hoping for the day she would throw them away.


    1. hahaha! I love that you tried to kill your mom’s candles because they were so fugly! Great. Ness.
      I like your spunk. We wouldn’t gotten along great as kids!
      Please don’t tell me she still has them…


  14. LMAO!!! I just heard of Elf on a Shelf last year. We don’t have it in Canada…well at least not where I live although this year I noticed a cute kiddie elf. Eeep! It’s a good thing because I have a feeling I would’ve been all over this when the boys were young. Apparently I am ‘slightly’ competitive (according to my side of the family). ;P

    Oh…last year I decided my older son was too old for a stocking. (Read: I was too lazy to buy anything and wrap it.) He was 2 weeks shy of turning 20. Apparently he tweeted about it. The big baby! Baahaahaa!


    1. He tweeted about it? Oh that’s funny! You know you’re in trouble if your kid tweets about you!!

      I’m so surprised to hear the elf is only in the States?!

      One year my brother and I complained to my mom that she was no fun at Easter any more and we still wanted to do egg hunts. Btw, we were in High School (can you say loser?) Anyway, she did the most amazing Easter egg hunt in the freakin’ world….seriously! We were having to go into trees, in the garage, INTO THE NEIGHBOR’S HOUSE (they were good friends)!!! My mom is insane, but that satisfied us. Like forever and ever and ever. We never asked for one again. lol


  15. WE are anti elf on the shelf at our house, as in like locked and loaded for the zombie apocalypse against it.

    This is hilarious. Good luck in your showdown


    1. for the zombie apocalypse….hahaha! That’s too funny. YOU are smart people. Seriously. I don’t know how others get away with it when they’re all over the shelves in stores! Actually, it was when the neighbor kids got them that I got in trouble. *sigh*


    1. Kate, it’s not crazy at all. I can see the appeal – the cute little elf sitting around looking all adorable in the stores. The problem is…. *lowers voice to a whisper* they don’t really move around and bring gifts by themselves. It’s just gonna sit there. And stare at you. With this smug looks on its face. OH, maybe that’s just Tommy with the smug look, but the rest of it is true. If you’re cool with that, then by all means get one!


    1. hahaha! I love that name! Where did they get that? It might be worth it with a stellar name like that.

      I feel like I just spotted a Yeti. Do you know how many people are looking for you? Glad you didn’t fall into a chasm or get abducted by aliens…..I miss your blog already, but no explanation required, K? I get it.


        1. I have never, ever wanted to be abducted! You are nuts. Freaks my shit. That (and demon possession) genuinely scares me at night. Nothing else. Not serial killers. Not ghosts. Not spiders or snakes (in normal number, of course). But alien abduction and demon possession are hard no’s. *shudder* There’s just something a little too creepy and a little too real about both.


  16. My son is only two so we don’t have an elf…yet. Thank God! The idea of having to jump through all those hoops freaks me out. Not to mention THE LIES! Not that I’m above lying. I’m sure I’ll learn to embrace it as a basic tool of parenting soon enough.


    1. Maybe you won’t have to ever deal with it, Jennifer! I have friends whose kids are as old as mine or older (6 & 9) and they’ve gotten away with not having an elf…so there’s hope for you! But if you do, I have one word of advice to help you through it: wine.


  17. I have no idea how I missed this post! Glad I stumbled though because this is hilarious. I can actually see you giving the elf the finger!
    I don’t have an elf and probably never will. I have actually had other moms look at me like I have a third eye because of this fact. Too flippin’ bad!
    I haven’t got the time or the energy for the elf and my kids better behave because they’re afraid of me, not an elf!
    I say have a funeral for Tommy and then find a good child therapist…less painful.
    Sorry, that was wrong. I just don’t like the elf.


  18. I would gladly commission a tiny elf casket. Don’t think for a second I wouldn’t. He was an asshole this weekend ON MY BIRTHDAY. I gave him the finger many times. Tool. Tiny elf tool. I’m glaring at him from across this room right this second.


  19. “Have you ever waged war with an inanimate object?”

    During all the years I had my Toronado, I had a stuffed (toy-not real) armadillo who rode in the back up on the rear dash. The California sun eventually bleached him out, but he didn’t seem to mind.

    What I DID MIND though was his propensity to regularly chastise me about my choice of women and my excessive boozing while protecting HIS way of life (I was in the Navy during these times).

    His name was Leroy (I had named him after my pet raccoon from the Seventies: Leroy Rastus Coon.)

    My Leroy ‘Dillo and I argued constantly, sometimes in the presence of others. I did not think it weird, but I think these ‘conversations’ cost me some relationships with women. Just a theory.



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