I fell for it two years ago: the pixie elf propaganda. For parents of the preschool to elementary set, the elf makes a good campaign: he’ll watch from a shelf or such and report back to Santa about a kid’s behavior.
“Cute!” thought I, imagining the fun my daughter would have each December morning as she discovered whatever silly antics the elf had gotten into overnight.
“Fun!” thought I, perusing online photos of elf-drawn marshmallow bubble baths and elf-hosted toy figurine dance parties.
“Simple enough!” thought I.
The elf is simple enough, and fun, and cute . . . from December 1st to December 7th.
By December 8th, I am fully within the Forgotten Elf Danger Zone and despite phone alarms and reminders, each evening bears substantial risk that I will forget to move the elf to a new location. Thus begins my elf/self aggravation.
By December 9th, I am bereft of staging ideas and suffering an acute lack of elfthusiasm.
By December 12th, I am over it in a dark and sinister way that involves plotting the elf’s disappearance. Would an elf abduction and a ransom note calling for “good behavior, or the elf gets it” work just as well as having the little sprite preside from a tree branch? I’m thinking so. Maybe on December 16th a mysteriously unmarked box with a tiny piece of red felt inside could arrive. Maybe on December 19th, a snapshot of the elf holding a postmarked Christmas card. Maybe I need an elf intervention.
Last month, I noticed posts about some parents who use the month of November to bring their children’s dinosaur figurines to life. “Dinovember,” they call it. I saw the scenarios they staged with their prehistoric pets. Cute . . . fun . . . simple enough. I can almost get behind that idea a little better because after 10 days, when the novelty has worn off, the dinosaurs could simply become extinct again. That’s much nicer than an elf-napping. Well, not ‘nicer’ in the species eradication sense, but at least not a violation of the North Pole Criminal Code.
Last week, I noticed a store display for a cutesy plush reindeer that is a messaging system for delivering letters from children to Santa via reindeer trips back and forth to Santa’s workshop. NOOOOOOO. I ran from that display with a quickness. High knees! Those parasitic reindeer were poised to feed off of my remaining shreds of Christmas spirit. Lengthen your stride, Shelby! MAKE HASTE!
Are there parents buying these reindeer? More importantly, are any of them the same parents who already succumbed to the elf? And finally, are they Dinovemberers? Because that trifecta can only lead to one clinical diagnosis: psychotics. Surely the APA is working up a special classification for them as I write this.
My only hope at this point is that my five-year-old will age out of the elf program before my five-month-old becomes old cognizant enough to buy into it. I’ve got a very narrow window of opportunity for escape. And while I wait for my chance to jump out that window, I’ll be watching social media for photographic evidence of those dino + elf + reindeer families, finding great relief in the comparative normalcy of my daydreams of elf-sized, chalk-outline crime scenes.
Comparative normalcy. A girl’s gotta have goals.
Shelby Slawson, attorney turned mommy turned writer on a quest for trophy wifehood, authors the blog “Other Such” at www.othersuch.net. She is also a member of the E-T's community columnists. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.