By Megan Hanlon of Sugar Pig
I didn’t think it would happen to us. Not to *my* friends. We were smart. We were practical. We knew the risks. We had read articles from doctors advising against it, heard about the struggles of other parents, and agreed that we would never turn into Those People.
But when December came, one by one they fell victim to the contagion. They all bought an Elf on the Shelf.
I didn’t understand what was happening. These are otherwise level-headed, rational parents who for some reason looked at their lives — working from home, schooling from home, navigating a pandemic, plus taking on the load of Christmastime — and thought, “You know what would be great? If we added even more daily responsibilities in the name of enchantment!”
I wanted to talk them off the ledge, shake them into sensibility, take their temperatures and suggest bedrest. But it was too late — the elves had already been named. It had begun.
Oh, my dear friends, what have you done?
Even my husband, one of the smartest men I know, caught the sickness and tried to talk me into getting an Elf on the Shelf for our home. Our son’s classroom has one named Snowelle Snow, and our second-grader is obsessed with its witchcraft. She had even convinced Santa to add a second snow day for the children to enjoy being off school and tormenting their parents who just wanted to sit down after shoveling the driveway for the third time!
Desperately seeking an explanation, I asked him why? Why would you bring an elf into our home? Why would you sentence us to years of brainstorming and executing elf-sized pranks in varying places around the house when there is already SO. MUCH. to do during the holidays?
“To add magic,” he said. I blinked in disbelief.
How is Christmas not magical enough already?
First, you meet an unshaven fat man in a mall (who’s also been watching you year-round) and tell him your secret desires. He takes this knowledge back to his home, which has no fixed address but allegedly exists in some sort of remote commune no living person has ever visited.
Next, elves — little creatures with bat ears and funny costumes — build your gifts at lightning speed without any documented training in electronics, plastics molding, safety, physics, sculpting, sewing, or woodworking. One by one, the elves wrap and load gifts for every child in the world onto an antiquated and impractical mode of transportation that only operates in cold climates: a sleigh.
Then, a few weeks later, the besuited fat man pilots his trillion-ton sleigh inexplicably pulled by wingless flying caribou — one fitted with an incandescent flame-colored nose for navigational purposes — to your house, where he somehow climbs through a totally enclosed gas fireplace system without waking the dog to leave presents beneath a plastic-and-wire evergreen erected annually in your living room.
And that’s not sufficiently miraculous?
We don’t need an impish elf playing with other toys and making messes that we have to clean up. We don’t need magical reindeer food, a luminary landing strip to light the driveway, or flour sprinkled around the fireplace to look like Santa left snowy boot prints despite the early snow having melted weeks ago. All we need is the legacy of generosity and grace we are given, plus the charms of a legend that embodies happiness, surprise, and wonder.
Friends and loved ones, please put the elf down and repeat after me: Christmas is magical enough.
This post was originally published on Sugar Pig.
About the Author
Megan Hanlon is a work-at-home-mom and recovering journalist who grew up in Texas but accidentally moved to Ohio. She shares her life with a husband, two children, and a disobedient Boston terrier. Read more at http://sugar-pig.blogspot.com or follow her on Facebook and Twitter at @sugarpigblog.