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.
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!