Prior to being a parent, I would see my friend’s posts with funny photos of Elf on the Shelf, and it seemed like a delightful tradition. However, once I was a parent I realized how much work it entailed, and having to remember to move the darn elf around every night seemed daunting. While that may seem a little lazy or feel party pooper-esque, I have a few valid reasons for why we refuse to do Elf on the Shelf.
We Believe in Honesty
When I was young, I guess I remember believing in Santa, but it didn’t come as a real shock when I found out Santa was a huge dupe. When I married my husband, we had a long talk about whether we would participate in the Santa illusion. We lean towards the non Santa believers that could ruin other kids’ experiences. So we don’t flat out say Santa doesn’t exist, but we never say he does.
My husband grew up in a family where lying was the worst offense he and his brothers could commit. So when his parents doubled down on Santa a few times and then he found out they had lied… he was devastated. He couldn’t believe his parents would lie to him. Thus, we don’t lie to our children. If someone is a jerk, I tell the girls. If I’m a jerk, I admit to it. It’s our family norm. Moving around a mystical elf that doesn’t exist seems like a lie and that goes against our family norm.
Living A Simple Life
My mom is one of the world’s best shoppers; she finds everything, everywhere and while we always love her gifts, we definitely don’t need most of the gifts. I grew up opening far too many presents. Then came my girls’ first Christmas: there were mountains of presents and my girls were only 7 months old. They couldn’t open them all or even play with any of the toys. We attempt to live a quasi-simple life, so for Christmas my girls get ONE present from us. Sometimes they talk about it being from Santa, but I kind of just ignore the comments. Last year we painted a wall in our house as the girls’ Christmas gift. They now draw on it as often as they like. It was also fun for my husband and I to do something together late on Christmas Eve.
The Tradition of Giving
Christmas is ultimately a religious holiday. While I grew up Catholic and I would call myself a decent Catholic, the reason for the season is giving. Our goal is to help others. We want our daughters to know we are very fortunate and we don’t need any gifts to tell us we are blessed. We have adopted a family, helped people we know, and one of our goals is to help at a shelter (although we haven’t done it yet). This year, the girls’ school has a giving tree; we are going to choose tags to help those in need buy food and have a nice Christmas.
So, while this isn’t all about Elf on the Shelf, I ultimately feel that we are shying away from it for more than one reason. I’d love to hear what you think and whether any of you out there share my same sentiments.