Being Mum · Ted's Take On...

Why There’s No Elf on Our Shelf


This is Buddy, our Christmas elf. He’s been there for every Christmas with Fred and Ted have spent together and this year he’ll be meeting Alfie for the first time. One thing we’ll be making clear is that Buddy is most definitely just an ornament.

There’s four main reasons why we don’t do the elf on the shelf which I’ve explained below. This isn’t intended as a judgement on those who do the elfies, I actually really enjoy seeing some of the posts!

Competitive Parenting 

Social Media is a tough place to be a mom. From the passive aggressive perfection of the Pinterest parent who can cook a three course organic meal while teaching her kids Mandarin and and doing kegels to the brazen confidence of the ‘slummy mummies’ feeding their children popcorn for lunch, you can’t win as a mother online. No matter what you do it’s not enough. 
I feel like we already have so many scales of measurement and comparison that the last thing we have time for is the competive comedic placement of a doll. The elf feels like one more way to pass judgment on mothers. The reward for the elf lies not in the delight of the children who discover him (no one shares those images) but in the approval on the post-bedtime pictures of dutiful parenting and doll posing. This begs the question who is the elf for? Our kids? Ourselves? Other people?

Confusing for Children 

I can’t help but feel that the mischievous antics of the elf are bound to be confusing for a child trying to be ‘good’. Most kids would be in trouble for freezing their sister’s Elsa doll, making snow angels in the flour or drinking the maple syrup, yet when the elf does it it’s hilarious! 

Surely the elf communicates a double standard to children. And surely this double standard would encourage kids to test the boundary?
Conflicting Christmas Message 

Christmas is a time for strengthening family bonds, for drawing closer by building traditions and making memories. That’s our ultimate goal, a natural outcome of which will be positive relationships built on honesty and trusts and this by happy coincidence leads to naturally improved behaviour.  

Yet into this unique time of year we introduce a spy and a threat, someone to undermine our feelings of good will and remind us that being imgood is only worth the effort if there’s something in it for you. 

Expiration date 

Santa has a tougher gig every year. Kids are savvy these days and Santa’s visits are limited. Adding the extra fantasy of the elf into the mix is surely just complicating a situation already on a knife edge of belief and implosion! 

The elf is far trickier to pull off and infinitely more fake in appearance and antics than Santa. My main concern with the elf is that he’d discourage Santa from coming. 

A fifth reason

…honestly I’m just too lazy!

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