December 24, 2011

Effing Elf on the Shelf

Tonight we say goodbye to Henrey, our family's 'Elf on the Shelf'.  If you are unfamiliar, this modern day money making and parental torture scheme consists of a boxed set containing a book and a small elf doll.  The book tells the story of these elves that swoop down into homes during the Christmas season, to watch the children and report back to Santa each night, turning up in a different spot upon their return each morning. 

A couple of years ago, a classmate of The Princess' told her about the 'Elf on the Shelf'.  She was enthralled, so we dropped $30 at the local booksellers and acquired our very own elf.  While presented as a family addition, The Princess took charge, naming him (quirky spelling included) and registering him on the 'Elf on the Shelf' website (cha-ching).  Those first two years were a delight, as the kids would look for Henrey each morning as he worked his way to each child's bedroom and around the house.  We played the free online games and got emails from Henrey a couple of times a year.

This year, some mother with too much time on her hands purchased and assumed the responsibilities of an 'Elf on the Shelf' for The Princess' class.  From Thanksgiving to the end of the semester, 'Jingles' entertained the third grade with his antics.  He was a very active elf, sometimes moving around several times a day while the class was out of the room.  Jingles wrote notes, sprinkled glitter and did various other mischief around the school.

 Jingles' presence and antics spurred much conversation among the third grade.  The other children with elves at home shared the quirky things their elves do and demand.  The Princess reported to us each evening, all of these things that we were previously unaware of, but now required to comply with.  First it was note writing - with The Princess penning long missives that she taped near Henrey each evening, all of them requiring a response.  Thank goodness a classmate had informed The Princess that elves write in 'candy cane sparkle' ink, so we knew what to expect.

Then it was food.  The Princess was informed by her helpful classmates that elves like candy, so she left pieces of candy next to him each night.  Jingles wrote the class a note extolling the elves' love of cheese and crackers.  When I refused to set out cheese and crackers on a nightly basis, The Princess wrote Henrey a note telling him to help himself to the crackers in the pantry.

As if the holidays aren't busy enough, the responsibility of making sure an Elf doll shows up in a different spot each morning is somewhat challenging.   Henrey sometimes likes a spot so much he spends two days there.  Don't judge me, I have a lot on my plate.  Then one day The Princess reported that elves don't just sit - they are usually found in funny positions, laying in plants and hanging from things.  Boom and Bang took an active interest in assisting Henrey in this department, until I put an end to it after finding Henrey wrapped around a candlestick in a manner that made me feel as if I should stuff dollar bills down his shirt.

In response to the popularity of the 'Elf on the Shelf' scheme, there is now a complete line of products, a paid area of the website, and, my favorite, a parody book about a bad 'Elf Off the Shelf', Horace.  Horace tries to hook up with Barbie, commenting that he never would have guessed she was such a prude.  Now that is a funny read.

When I Googled to find the picture of the book, up popped several websites about creative things to do with your elf.  One was aptly titled 'Elf on the Shelf Ideas', with photos of elves found playing Guitar Hero, having 'snowball' fights staged with mini marshmallows and other Christmas figures, making a photocopy of his butt...hilarious stuff, but Good Lord, who has the time for this?  (And yes, I did bookmark the site for future use). 

The list of things we know about elves now is a long one.  After recounting it all one night, and complaining about the thoughtless parents that set these precedents for the rest of us, I joked that we should set Henrey up in a manner that would result in The Princess going to school and reporting that elves require a six-pack and a hundred dollar bill each night, to guarantee a good report to Santa.


CenTexTim said...

In the picture Henrey looks like he has to take a whiz really, really badly. Must be from the nightly six-pack...

InsomniacSeeker said...

The "stuff dollar bills down his shirt" - cracking me up.


KatWA55 said...

OMG..This elf thing sounds like a fascist plot to control parents. I hate the little bastard dictator and I've never even seen one before. This plot sounds like it was planned by the same parents that set the standard of renting limos for the 8th grade dance! (Do I sound like a grouchy old fart?)

Harper said...

It was fun and useful when it was just a friendly elf that moved from spot to spot each night. We had the behavior correction of 'Henrey is watching you' for a few weeks, to add to the Santa is watching you reminders. These other parents set the bar too high - same parents who 'allow' the tooth fairy to sprinkle glitter around the bed and leave high dollar gifts along with double digit denomination bills for one little tooth. I used to be thrilled with a quarter...