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Musings of a mother of three from her subterranean sanctuary

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My Elf on a Shelf Has Low “Elf-Esteem”

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I found a note on my pillow this morning from my Elf on a Shelf. Excuse all the bad puns, I didn’t write it:

Dear M,

I’m not sure how to put this, so I guess I’ll just come right out and say it: could you please kick it up a notch with this “Elf on a Shelf” ritual? You see, every night I fly back up to the North Pole to see Santa, along with all the other Elves on Shelves, and all I hear about is what a great time all the other elves are having at their homes. Many of them are making complete messes out of the place – stringing underwear from the ceiling, making “snow angels” in a pile of flour on the kitchen table, toilet-papering the house. There’s even an elf-shaming website with pictures of naughty elves having a blast (on a related note, Santa is opening an AA chapter in the North Pole after seeing these pictures). Not all of the elves are naughty though, some are just creative and crafty: driving in a car with Barbie, dressing up in costumes, hiding in the fridge, just go to Pinterest for a million free ideas (I know you’ve been afraid to venture onto that site, but trust me, it’s time). Every night all my elf friends share their fun stories and then they look at me and I’m like, “Uh, I sat on the mantle again today.” At first they were sympathetic, now they avoid eye contact. Listening to their stories is giving me a complex and now I’m suffering from really low elf-esteem.

Look, I get it, you’re kind of - dare I say - lazy, and your house is already a total mess so you don’t want me adding to the clutter. I understand, I don’t have to be a naughty elf. And I know you’re not the least bit crafty – I saw what happened to that Gingerbread House you got from Target that was supposed to be fool-proof.  And I know you used to be somewhat creative but motherhood has made you too tired to think of what to pack for a school snack let alone a new hiding spot for your elf. But don’t you realize that when you say you’re too busy or tired, you are really just creating an elf-fulfilling prophecy of laziness and mediocrity? [What? You don’t like my elf puns? Sorry, but that’s how we elves speak, you can call us “elf-centered” or whatever you want, but you might as well get used to it ‘cuz it’s not gonna stop. And trust me, it’s not as annoying as my distant cousins the Smurfs and all their “Smurferrific” nonsense].

This picture of me drowning my sorrows in ice cream and wine is the most creative thing you’ve done with me, and you only took it for your blog post, the kids never even got to see it. But it’s a step in the right direction. I know you can do it - and you might even like it once you try it.

I’m not asking to swing from the chandelier like a super hero or break into the cookie jar or play cards with the teddy bears, but would it kill you to think of just a couple more spots besides the mantle and the windowsill?  I know the kids are excited about me no matter what, but I don’t want to lose status in the North Pole. I’m happy to come up with other ideas for you - maybe I’ll write an “Elf-Help Book” one day. Heck, thanks to the People I Want to Punch in the Throat blog, there’s already an awesome “Elf Calendar for Underachievers” on the web you could consult – it was designed for people just like you.  Please don’t repeat that story you told the kids last year about me loving the mantle so much I decided to stay there for five days in a row, that was just weak. If you have trouble remembering, why don’t you try setting an alarm on your iPhone for every night at 10pm? Then you won’t have to make up an excuse, or worse, remember in the middle of the night in a panic. Believe me, nobody hates it more than me when you race down at 3am in your boxers, ratty t-shirt, and black socks – it’s humiliating for both of us.

Sorry if I sound mean or elf-righteous, the last thing I want to be is a Scrooge.  The truth is, I’ve been under a lot of stress lately. Christmas season is always hectic for us elves, and now this year there is suddenly all this backlash against the Elf on the Shelf, with elf-haters ranting all over the internet about how we are ruining Christmas and traumatizing children. Forget the “War on Christmas,” there is a real “War on Elves” going on right now, and frankly, I’m afraid to fly back and forth to the North Pole every night in case some elf-loathing lunatic attacks me.  I’d be packing heat if my manufacturer had had the foresight to sew pockets onto my felt suit (don’t worry, I’d only use it for elf-defense).  It’s a scary time for Elves on Shelves right now, so forgive me if I’m a little tense and taking it out on you.

I suppose it is a busy time of year for everyone, not just us elves, and we all need to calm down and enjoy the season, in whichever manner we choose to celebrate it. Some people enjoy going all out on everything, and others don’t. Maybe you could put in a little extra effort and you might have some more fun - or maybe that doesn’t work for you. You and I both need to come to terms with who we are, and who we are not, and we have to stop worrying about what other people think or do and just do what works for us.  And if that means collecting dust on a mantle for two weeks, I guess I will just have to learn to accept that. Your kids seem to like me the way I am, so maybe I need to be ok with me too.  I was happy with the way things worked around here too before I started hearing all these stories of wild elves that seemed to be having more fun than me. So I take back what I said earlier: if you want to maintain any sense of elf-worth, don’t go on Pinterest. Ever.

Ok, this letter has been therapeutic for me and is helping me work through my elf-esteem issues.  I need to remember: elf-awareness and elf-acceptance are the first steps toward elf-love. 

Love,

Watchie

p.s. Tell your kids thanks for naming me “Watchie” - it adds to the creep factor that all the elf-haters keep warning you about.

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