Why Every Parent Has a Love/Hate Relationship with Their Elf on the Shelf

They say Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. But, if you’re a parent who has welcomed an Elf on the Shelf into their home it’s anything but wonderful. I know, I know. We do it to ourselves, so we shouldn’t complain. But, we do.

This is the time of year when parents everywhere search for new and interesting places to position their elf so that their kids will really think that this freakish looking doll with a perma-smile actually flew all the way to the North Pole and came all the way back each and every night. This is the time of year when parents lie in bed feeling as if they forgot to do something only to awake in a soaking night sweat when they realize they forget to move the dang elf.

In case you’ve been under a rock, the story is that these elves do Santa’s dirty work. If Santa was the Godfather, the elves on the shelf would be his soldiers. Every day they are Santa’s eyes and ears. They see everything your kids are doing. From the good stuff like setting the table to the downright nasty stuff like when your kids use each other as a tissue. When the kids go to bed, the elf goes back to the North Pole to tell Santa what he saw. Then he flies all the way back and parks it in a new spot in your house.

Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

For the entire Christmas season.

In my house we start December 1st. The torture lasts 24 days.

God forbid the elf stays in the same place for two days. That would mean he didn’t go back to report to Santa. That would be bad. There’s also a catch. No one can touch the elf. If someone touches the elf, he loses his magic. This means he can’t report back to Santa. This means you have failed as a parent. Just kidding.

I have to give kudos to the creators of this torturous, addictive, but fun little creature. Kids eat this up! When our “Sweet Abigail” arrived this morning it was better than a Peppa Pig marathon on steroids. There was squealing and jumping and clapping. I’m sorry, did Jon Bon Jovi just enter my kitchen? Oh no, silly me. It’s just our elf.

My youngest daughter stared up at her in awe. She tried to have a conversation with her but soon realized it was useless. But, that didn’t stop her from continuing to tell Sweet Abigail what she wanted for Christmas. I quickly told her she had to be good or Sweet Abigail would tell Santa not to bring any presents. She didn’t question one word that came out of my mouth…for once.

My older daughter was just as happy to see our old friend. For her it was better than finding a dollar in a winter jacket. This was Sweet Abigail. This meant the Christmas season has officially begun in our house. Joy to the world!

During dinner time the girls were talking about where they thought they would find Sweet Abigail next. Thank God, because I know I am going to run out of ideas! But then my older daughter asked me if Sweet Abigail got hungry because she doesn’t eat all day. Good grief Charlie Brown! Is the mystery fading? Is she starting to doubt our mythical creature? Not a chance. I quickly told her Santa feeds her very well when she goes back to the North Pole so there was no need to worry.

She ate it up like apple pie on Thanksgiving. Crisis averted.

See what I mean? Kids believe in Elf on the Shelf just as much as Santa Claus. All kidding aside, it is fun to watch their innocence. Why wouldn’t kids believe that there is a jolly old man who brings toys to all the kids once a year? Why wouldn’t kids believe that there millions of elves that take the red eye back and forth to the North Pole every night? The answer is they have no reason not to…unless we mess it up for them…or unless they grow up. Bah humbug! We all know they are going to grow up one day and look back and laugh at their elf on the shelf days. When they do, we’ll all be wishing we could hide that dang elf for one more night.




Mommy, Why Doesn’t Our Elf Talk?

‘Tis the season for Christmas trees, candy canes, Santa Claus, and Elf on the Shelf, of course.

Ours just came to visit this week. We try to prolong it as long as we can so that we don’t run out of places to put her and don’t forget to move her every night.

Sweet Abigail, that’s what my kids named her, is the belle of the ball in my house. To say my girls love her would be an understatement. Forget, “Good Morning Mom”. It’s more like “Where is she?”


I don’t even need to ask who they’re talking about because I know they’re looking for Sweet Abigail.

All was sugar and spice, coating with Christmas cookie goodness, until my five-year-old started asking questions. A lot of questions.

“Mommy, is she real?”

About as real as Santa and Tooth Fairy, I wanted to answer. Instead, I went with a simple “Of course she is honey”.

“Mommy, why can’t I touch her?”

“Because you can’t. That’s the rule, remember?”

“Oh yeah.”

“Mommy, if she’s real, why doesn’t she talk back to us?”

For the love of candy canes and gingerbread houses! Are you working undercover for the reindeer network or something little girl?

Trying to think of something quickly, I said, “Santa told her she can’t talk to the kids. She just has to watch and listen to what’s going on so she can go back to tell Santa.”

She’s not buying it.

“Are you sure she’s real?”


Just a little white lie honey, sorry.

Please stop asking questions! Thank God my three-year-old isn’t as inquisitive. She takes more things at face value. A stuffed elf that’s real and flies back and forth to the North Pole every night. Sure Mommy, whatever you say.

But not my little detective in training. She’s not buying the magical story I’m selling. Let the elf be! Leave Sweet Abigail alone!

After my daughter finally stopped giving me the third degree about this little freaky being, I began thinking about the whole thing.

It is kind of crazy that we expect our kids to believe that this little elf flies all the way to the North Pole every night to report to Santa and makes it back inside their homes, finding a new place to park it for the day, only to do the same thing once night falls. Talk about some serious frequent flier miles! Not only does our elf do this, but so does every other elf on the shelf. It’s like they’re part of some crazy gang, minus the spray paint and secret handshakes. The whole thing sounds believable, right?

Then again, we tell our kids that a jolly old man named Santa works in the North Pole where he has more elves that make toys for the boys and girls. He somehow comes down the chimney, or finds another way to force his way into the house without turning on the alarm, just to leave toys. Somehow he makes all the rounds to all the kids….everywhere.

I’m not trying to be a kill joy or anything, but it is kinda funny if you think about it. So, maybe my daughter isn’t too far off asking me so many questions about our precious little Elf on the Shelf. I’ll be curious to see what other questions she comes up with as the season continues. Should be interesting!