I love Christmas. I love the lights twinkling in the trees, the cheesy carols, just about every holiday movie ever made; I love the gifts, the wonder, the tradition, the anticipation. I love everything about Christmas… except for the Elf on the Shelf.
By now we’ve likely all heard about the Elf, but just in case you’ve been in hiding or trapped in a Christmas time warp for the past few years, here’s the gist of it: Sold with a book that tells his story, the Elf sits on a shelf (and on toilets, in freezers, atop batches of freshly baked cookies… but more on that later) and keeps a watchful eye over the inhabitants of the home.
When everyone is alseep he flies home to the North Pole, where he reports back to Santa on whether the kids have been good or bad. Then he zips back to the house in time for everyone to find him precariously perched in some new, wildly entertaining spot the next morning.
Apart from being many families' new favorite Christmas tradition, the Elf on the Shelf is also a multi-million dollar industry. As the Washington Post notes, "Within seven years of his birth, the Elf has scored his own Web site, Twitter account, $16 million in sales for 2011, an annual growth rate of 149 percent and a movie deal."
But not everyone loves the Elf, myself included. In fact, it seems there's been a bit of an elphin backlash this year. Here's why:
1. He's creepy.
This seems to be among the top complaints about the Elf: He just creeps people out. Those shiny cheeks, that unsettling perma-grin, the way he lurks around the house just staring at you out of the corner of his beady little eyes all day long. Of course, when you think about it, there's a lot about Christmas that is borderline odd. Santa Claus squeezing down the chimney, having a snack, and tip-toeing around your house while everyone is sleeping, for example? If it was anyone else that would be called breaking and entering.
2. He's naughty.
For someone who is supposed to be encouraging kids to be good, the Elf seems to spend a lot of time making mischief. He tears apart pillow cases, writes all over bathroom mirrors, he toilet papers the Christmas tree and gets into "laundry fights," strewing clothes all over the floor. And, though I'm sure he doesn't do it while the kiddos are around, he's been known to guzzle back midnight bottles of Merlot. And yet, when the children he's (creepily) watching over step out of line, he doesn't hesitate to write a note letting them know that yes, he did tell Santa about the Sharpie-on-the-leather-couch incident and no, Santa is definitely not impressed. Hypocritical much? This isn't happening in my house.