Birthday Elf On The Shelf Is Making This Dumb Farce Even Harder To Maintain
My parents maintained the Santa lie successfully until I was six-years-old and caught them setting a stuffed koala bear under the tree one night. In the morning, they presented the koala as my “gift from Santa.” I decided at that moment that my parents were liars, but whatever. It was obvious that I would still be getting presents from this imaginary dude, so the knowledge that he didn’t exist didn’t wreck my world. My parents got off easy. I had zero problems with years of lying if it meant the lies culminated in presents.
I can already tell my son is not going to be as easy to appease as I was. My four-year-old is already throwing me more shade about this whole holiday web of lies than I ever threw my mom. And it’s because of this dumb Elf. Iâ€™ve decided the Elf on the Shelf is responsible for about 65% of my parental untruths. Hereâ€™s a conversation that transpired on a trip to Barnes and Noble last week. Birthday Elf on the Shelf is a thing now, which is a massive mind-fuck to a four-year-old who is still trying to get a handle on this whole Santa thing.
â€œMommy! Look! Elf on the Shelf!â€
â€œI see honey, but Santa already sent us an Elf, remember? ‘Elf?’â€ My son named our elf, â€œElf.â€ He had barely turned three when we got him and wasnâ€™t very adept at things like choosing monikers for magical elves.
â€œOh.â€ Expression of massive confusion surfaces. Heâ€™s eyeing me for answers, and frankly, Iâ€™m eyeing him back as if to say, â€œDonâ€™t look at me kid. I canâ€™t even begin to make up a story about this birthday elf. I havenâ€™t Googled it â€“ I have no idea what his deal is. Please donâ€™t ask me.â€
â€œIs my birthday elf, Elf?â€ Heâ€™s looking a little worried now, as he tries to figure out if the elf he has at home might be willing to perform this extra function.
â€œI guess?â€ I offer. Pathetic. Heâ€™s totally not convinced.
I pick up the elf and try to make sense of the little demon. Heâ€™s in a polka dot outfit. Iâ€™ve only had one cup of coffee. I cannot make up a story. I don’t want to just read it off the back of the box — that seems like a cop-out. I pretend like I’m making a call and consult Google:
The Elf on the Shelf: A Birthday Tradition tells the little-known story of the North Pole birthday tradition.
Includes special instructions for families to invite their scout elf for a birthday visit.
The book also includes a special Claus Couture CollectionÂ® Birthday Outfit just for the elf.
Are you serious? The â€œlittle-knownâ€ story of the North Pole birthday tradition? Who okayed this bullshit?
â€œThe birthday elf is for kids who were naughty and didnâ€™t get a visit from Santa at Christmas.â€ Did I just say that? â€œYou arenâ€™t getting a birthday elf because you are a good boy and you will always get a holiday elf. The holiday elf is better. The holiday elf comes from Santaâ€™s workshop â€“ this one doesnâ€™t.â€
My kid is so confused. Heâ€™s giving me a weird look, but not as weird as the one heâ€™s giving the elf. My massive lie seems to have worked; heâ€™s looking at the elf sideways, with the disdain it deserves.
Yes, Iâ€™m a big, fat liar. I totally blame holiday marketing. Hopefully my kid wonâ€™t hold it against me when the whole farce inevitably unfolds for him some day.