Elf on the Shelf, love it or hate it, you probably have one of those shifty-eyed buggers hiding out in your house right now. Exactly who came up with the idea of stealth, elf surveillance we may never know, but people keep shelling out 30 bucks a pop for the honor of not looking like the only tool who didn’t love their children enough to pay exorbitant prices for an 8.5″ doll. You don’t want to ruin your children’s Christmas, right? How will your kid feel if, when their playground pals ask them excitedly with a sparkle in their eyes, “What’s your elf’s name?” they have to fess up that they don’t have one?
So you bought the friggin elf. Now you are spending way too much time scouring Pinterest for elf-hiding ideas and you live in a constant state of anxiety that you just might suck at this Elf on the Shelf thing.
You probably do.
But just to be sure, here are my top 10 signs that you are failing miserably at creating a magical Christmas for your children:
1. When people are at your house and point out your elf you quickly explain that it was a gift. Because the thought of actually admitting that you would choose to buy into this trendy, commercialism crap makes you cringe in disgust.
2. The name of your elf differs from day to day and kid to kid. Last year it was Snowball, this year it’s Jingle. One kid calls it “Elfy” and the other one won’t even look it in the eye. And you obviously never even wrote it’s name in the damn book.
3. Wait, there’s a book?
4. You come up with your best elf hiding ideas after your second (or third) glass of wine.
5. You and your spouse think it’s hilarious when one of you comes up with the idea of putting the elf inside the gas fireplace, and then you both realize that it would only take 3.4 seconds before your kid would turn the fireplace on and then watch in horror as the elf was burned and melted to death.
6. You realize that you forgot to move the elf after you are already in bed and you spend more time thinking up an elaborate tale to tell your kids in the morning to explain why the elf didn’t move than it would have taken to just get up and move it.
7. When your kid runs excitedly into your bedroom early in the morning, to tell you that they found the elf, you pull the covers over your head and remind them to never, NEVER, wake mommy up before the sun has risen.
8. Your elf has taken more than one “vacation.”
9. You regularly use your elf as a stand-in for actual parenting, eliciting fear and obedience from your children when they misbehave, threatening that “The elf is going to tell Santa about this!”
10. (But seriously, that is the whole point of this elf thing, isn’t it?)