3 Things I Should Have Considered Before Getting Rid of the Elf on the Shelf


3 Things to Consider Before Getting Rid of the Elf on the Shelf

By “getting rid of our Elf on a Shelf”, I mean writing him off – literally.

I really didn’t like the elf on the shelf . Our youngest son got him when was about 2 1/2 and when I read him the little book that came along with the elf and asked him what he would like to name his elf, he said “Elfer”. His pronunciation wasn’t great and it sounded more like “F-er” – this was what I called him under my breath for his entire tour of duty in our home.

I thought I was alone in my hatred of the elf.

But, after reading a wonderful post by Jen Mann about wanting to throat punch over achieving elf on a shelf moms, I realized I wasn’t alone and set about finding a way to get rid of the elf.

Before I go any further, let me explain why I disliked him. First of all, my son didn’t seem that interested in him on a day to day basis. He would ask on the Monday after Thanksgiving break when Elfer would arrive and tell me how little Johnny’s had shown up on black Friday in the leftover turkey. I would turn to fold a towel and roll my eyes and explain that not all elves worked the same contract length and ours had a no arrival until December 1st policy. This bought me a few days, but when Elfer showed up, I would have to ask him, “have you seen Elfer today?”. Until I asked, he didn’t even seem to go looking.

The second reason I disliked him was because we read the book that came with the elf and it said if you touched the elf he would lose his magic and leave. To me, this meant if he was making snow angels on the table in sugar in the morning when we woke up, he would have to stay there until that night. How are we supposed to eat dinner? Not only that, but that means after everyone else goes to bed, I have another mess to clean up because let’s face it, life isn’t a fairy tale and a real elf isn’t going to show and clean up my messes (or Elfers). Not only that but the overachiever moms made me feel bad about myself for not coming with all that creative stuff to do with our little F-er.

The third reason was that it was one more thing for me to do. That may sound selfish but it is honest. I have more important things to worry about than if the elf got moved from the poinsettia basket in the bathroom (where he was just creepy staring at you) to the donkey’s back in the Nativity scene (where he looked a little sacrilegious). Especially, when I would have to ask in the morning, “Elfer still creeping in the bathroom?”

I had a stroke of genius.

Our grandson had just been born in November and I saw no reason my daughter shouldn’t share in this joy of parenting. That thought led me to pen a lovely letter from Santa to Caleb. Santa explained how Caleb was such a good boy and how Santa felt he could be trusted to do what was right and that little Garrison would be needing an elf and so, Elfer was going to take a year off and then next year, he would be reassigned to Garrison. Santa explained that Elfer asked for that assignment so he could still see Caleb on visits and that mom and dad could report to him on anything noteworthy and that, of course, Jesus saw even the stuff parents and Santa don’t. He explained that it was a great honor to have Santa trust you and be grown up enough to have your elf reassigned. Bam! Problem solved.  Elfer is gone, Caleb feels good about himself, Garrison gets an elf, and I should get a geniuses in parenting award!


As Caleb read the letter, his lip began to quiver. Then he broke into full on sobs. I felt like the worst mom on the planet. Looking back, there are 3 things I learned from this experience.

  1. Don’t make them grow up before they are ready. In a world where too many kids rush to grow up, I rushed mine. He is the baby and unlike a lot of moms who want to keep the baby the baby, I am tired and pushed mine to grow up before he was ready.
  2. Always look for a different perspective. Since I didn’t think he was noticing, I didn’t think it mattered to him.  Apparently, me asking him were Elfer was, was the tradition for him. Since the way he acted didn’t fit what I had in mind, I discounted it.
  3. If you are making an effort, your kids will appreciate it. Our elf never toilet papered anything, bubble bathed, decorated or undecorated a tree. He sat on a donkey, hung out in the bathroom, and from an occasional light fixture and that was enough to make my kid happy. I was the one comparing and deciding that Elfer and, by default and definition, I weren’t good enough.

So, for all you elf haters, remember

if you wait until the kid is 2 to get an elf and don’t quit until they are 20 😉 and if you can hold them off until the 1 st of December every year and have the elf go back on Christmas night, you will only have to find some where to put the elf around 450 times. If you quit when they are 13, it is only about 274 times. So in about the same number of days it takes to grow a full term kid, you can get the elf out of your life without traumatizing said kid. You can do it. If you need ideas, check out those overachieving moms on Pinterest.


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