A lot of parents have expressed the moral dilemma many of us feel about coming up with elaborate schemes to lead our children to believe in Santa for as long as possible, even after they start questioning you and the cracks creep into the foundation you’ve built of the excitement of Christmas morning. And of course Santa is not the “reason for the season” but when have you ever heard someone exclaim, “I felt just like a kid on the Lord’s birthday!” I remember the year I “found out” and honestly it was a let down, yet somehow I picked myself up and moved on with my 8 year old life.
But now there’s the Elf on the Shelf thing, which is apparently an army of little Caucasian-male-Christmas-themed leprechauns who spy all day then fly to the North Pole every night to narc on you. Back in the beginning of December I went to my kindergartner’s Christmas party at school. Every child in the class was talking about their elves, except for my Avery. I watched her closely to see if it would register that there is no elf on our shelf, but she didn’t seem to notice.
You may be wondering, as several well-meaning mothers have asked me before, “Why don’t you do elf on the shelf?” And I will tell you, it’s because I don’t hate myself. And by that I mean I’m a lazy son of a bitch and I don’t feel like keeping track of it. You guys can have all the fun scrambling around every night and then bitching about how much work it is to the other moms, but do not put that on me, Ricky Bobby. I’ve started thinking about what I will say when my girls inevitably ask me why there is no elf on our shelf. I think I might go with something like, “Santa wants to keep tabs on you himself,” or “His name was Jingles P. Sinclair and he died in a fire.” I’m open to suggestions.
To each their own. I choose to do the Santa thing with my kids and I will as long as possible. I love to see their bright eyes and heightened sense of anticipation when they imagine what the magic of Christmas morning will bring. And mostly, I love the leverage. It’s honestly my favorite part about Santa. Kids misbehaving? One word…Santa. I basically don’t even have to parent in December, I just start humming “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” and the fights resolve themselves. Now that’s what I call Christmas magic.
A long time ago…
Advertisers: We need a snappy new song to get the kiddies jazzed about all the swell toys Santa will bring when he comes to their town!
Parents: Right right right, we’re totally with you. And, hear us out, what if we also write in some sort of leverage we can use against them to get them to do whatever we want?
Parents: Just spit-balling here, but what if in the song we tell the kids that Santa watches them while they sleep and we threaten them if they pout or cry. We haven’t fleshed out all the lyrics yet, but maybe something like, “You better watch your back,” or “You better watch out and stop that crying or you’ll be sorry.”
Advertisers: Gee, um, it sounds a little dark–
Parents: Yeah, no that’s the thing: you put it to a catchy tune. Keep it light breezy but also, you know, vague and threatening. Then after we scare them we buy them toys.
Advertisers: We’ll be in touch.
Happy Holidays from my family to yours, no matter what your traditions! XO, Emily