Dec 3, 201105:41 PMChina Mom
The Great Elf on the Shelf Controversy Part II: This Time It's Personal
He kept looking at me – eyeing me from that stupid shelf. At first I ignored him. I rushed past him, pretending not to see him. But over time, he wore me down with that literal come hither stare. I’m talking, of course, about The Elf on the Shelf. And the “shelf” I’m referring to is the end cap at Target.
I'd resisted his advances…until yesterday. Now he’s sitting there. On my shelf, with – I swear – a smug expression on his face. In the battle of wills, he won.
Yes, I caved. I am the proud owner of an Elf on the Shelf. And I should start calling him her because he’s wearing a skirt and is now a girl. More on that later.
I resisted as long as I could. You may recall my post from last year. I miss that girl. She had such resolve. But the more I thought about it, I just couldn’t justify not having our own elf any longer. Which may be the most ridiculous sentence I’ve ever typed for countless reasons.
For one, all – and I mean all my daughter’s friends have elves on their shelves. She’s never complained about not having an elf – not once. But I know what it’s like to be the only kid in class without the latest fad. So that’s reason number one with a little mommy guilt and residual unresolved childhood issues of my own sprinkled in for good measure.
Then there was that little voice inside my head reminding me that she’s only going to believe in this stuff for a brief time. All too soon, I’ll be wishing for the days when I could do things like move a silly felt elf around the house every night. That took care of reasons two through forty-seven.
So yesterday at Target I didn’t rush by the display. I stopped. I picked up the box and read four little words that sealed the deal: “Brown Eyes, Black Hair.” Of the two remaining elves on Target’s shelves, one had my child’s hair and eyes. And with that, I cried “Uncle” to the whole affair and tossed the box in my cart.
After school I surprised my sweet girl with her own elf, whom she promptly named Candy Cane. Seasonal, yes...or she’s either a stripper or a drag queen.
Then, over a mug of hot chocolate, we read the Elf on the Shelf book together. And, Piper got a little freaked out by the fact that Candy Cane will be watching her every move and reporting her behavior to Santa every night. She got a little agitated and said, “Mommy…I don’t want to do this.” I thought she was going to cry.
I suggested we finish the book before making any snap decisions. She reluctantly agreed and stared out the window. But by the end of the book, she was comfortable with her privacy being invaded by a little felt doll for the next 23 days.
Later, right before dinner, she said quietly, “Mommy? Thank you so much for my elf! I love it!”
And what happened, then? Well, in our house they say – China Mom’s small heart grew three sizes that day. And then the true meaning of Christmas came through. She bought not one elf on the shelf, but two. Kidding!
Sorta. The true meaning of Christmas did come through at that moment. I’d gotten caught up in the hullaballoo of the holidays. With everything else, finding creative places to hide a doll every night seemed like one more thing to think about at a time of year when I have too many things to think about.
But Christmas isn’t that silly elf. If anything, she represents the joy this time of year brings my daughter. I was looking at Candy Cane through my eyes, not hers. The fact that she believes in the magic of the season is my inspiration.
And the fact that I even have a daughter at all is reason enough to delight in moving that little elf every night.