Dear Elf on the Shelf Mamas,
There's a lot of hate on the Internet directed at you. Some analyze why Elf on the Shelf sends the wrong message. Some want to punch you elf-loving mamas in the throat. And, some just can't even. In fact, a simple Google search reveals that if you type "I hate el--" into the search bar, Google auto-finishes your search to, "I hate Elf on the Shelf!" Which indicates that more people hate Elf on the Shelf than Elton John, elephants, Ellen DeGeneres, or any number of other words that start with "el."
I can't say I've ever felt violent tendencies toward you or the elf. Aside from letting a guilty chuckle escape last year when I saw a Miley Cyrus "Wrecking Ball" elf, I was just your run-of-the-mill Elf on the Shelf hater. I thought your exhaustive Pinterest-inspired elf posts were overwhelming. I had vague thoughts about Elf on the Shelf being too expensive and too much hassle. I resented that your elfie genius was the talk of Roosevelt Elementary and I had to repeatedly deal with my kid coming home asking why we didn't have one. But I didn't begrudge you your fun, just assumed it was one more thing we could never have in common.
Until this year when my daughter's second-grade teacher gave each student a knock-off Elf on the Shelf-esque doll as a parting gift just before winter break. My daughter came rushing home, spilling over with excitement, gushing to her little brother about what it was and what could happen, carefully arranging it on her dresser (with a handwritten note asking the elf to please write "bake") and awaiting the magic. She is so delicately on the cusp this Christmas, wavering on the silver streak between believing and not believing. She hears things at school. Nonbeliever things. She asks questions but doesn't push it. Awaiting the magic is a tense and active state this season.
She went to sleep.
I stared at the elf. The elf stared at me.
What's a MOTY to do? I dressed the elf in doll pajamas and made it hug a small toy. And the next day, it got into her jewelry box. And this morning, I momentarily considered browsing Pinterest. I didn't do it, but the thought was there. You can't unthink that shit.
Anyway, Elf on the Shelf Mamas, I'm sorry I rolled my eyes at you. Merry Christmas!