Hi, I’m Jill and I’m an elfer. I’m a half-ass elfer, which means my marks for creativity in elf placement would land me a solid C minus. Luckily, my kids are young so they’re entertained by the simple fact that we have an elf in the first place. I don’t put a lot of time or creativity behind nightly elf antics unless you count posing him next to an empty bottle “Seriously Bad Elf Ale” with a naked GI Joe and an empty box of Trojans. Then yes, I’m the queen of elf posing, but that was for my own entertainment. My kids are enthralled just to see him move from the shelf to the kitchen table. The magic of Christmas and stuff, you know.

I’ve been noticing a lot elf haters hanging out in my Facebook feed lately. Back in 2011, it seemed like everyone who was anyone had a shelf elf. Okay, maybe just people who had kids, but you get my drift. Maybe the elf was so popular because it was the latest “in” thing. Maybe it was because all the cool carpool moms were doing it. Most people saw the elf as a fun thing for the kids, although there were those Pinterest-crazed over-achieving bitches (we all know one or 26, right?) who got outta control and made us half-ass elf moms look bad.

I’m not sure if elfing is just “so last year” or if the world has just gotten a little too uptight, but here are a few reasons the elf stays on our shelf:

My kids like it

My boys are four and they sort of remember their elf from last year. The looks on their faces when they woke up on December first and saw their little elf pal perched on top of their backpacks (told you I wasn’t creative) were priceless. As the month gathers steam, they’ll bounce out of bed and look for their elf. They’ll laugh their little asses off when they see he’s moved four inches over from the night before, although most of the time I’m having that “oh shit, I forgot to move the elf” moment right about the time they’re waking up.

It’s fun for the grownups

My husband and I have fun with the elf (not that kind of fun, puhleeze, freaks.) I’m not very imaginative but hubs has been known to bust out some creativity now and then. It’s really cute to see my gruff “guys guy” crafting elf fishing poles from soda straws and paper clips so the little guy can fish for goldfish crackers out of a cereal bowl. Stuff like this usually earns him a few “social credits” ifyaknowwhatimean. And to be clear, any dirty antics with action figures or stuffed animals is totally my doing.

Behavior management

Heck yeah, I use my elf as a threat behavior tool. I’m all about “the elf is watching and he’s gonna tell Santa if you don’t stop trying to shove that Nerf dart up your brother’s nose.” Empty threats of no presents or switches and coal in your stocking? Check. That’s what the holidays are all about! Truth be told, I’m busting out the “Santa’s watching you” line by Halloween. It’s a parenting strategy that works for me more than 50 percent of the time.

There are naysayers out there that think it’s damaging for kids’ psyches to have parents make Christmas presents contingent on good behavior. Get a grip. I grew up with a healthy fear of Christmas getting cancelled if I didn’t mind my P’s and Q’s and I survived. They will, too.


Yes, the elf on the shelf is a relative newbie on the Christmas block but what’s wrong with starting something new? Elf mania started to take hold right about the point where we became a family and it’s a tradition we picked up and ran with. Sure, it’s not as time-honored as ugly sweaters, drinking too much eggnog and hanky panky under the mistletoe but my kids associate their elf with Christmas.

And to all of you out there who nix the idea of an elf because “he’s so creepy” I say Bah Humbug – it’s not Christmas without creepy. We’ve been plopping our kids on the laps of bearded strangers at the mall for years. “Go on, little Susie. Tell the nice man what you really want and nevermind that his breath smells funny…that’s just Santa’s special medicine.”

And, you know what’s really creepy? The Grinch tucking Cindy Lou Who in bed so he could rob her family blind. Compared to that the little dude in the red felt onesie is a boy scout.

Merry Christmas and elf on, bitches! And if you don’t like it…then just elf off and leave me to my fun.


Jill writes about adoption, motherhood and midlife on her blog Ripped Jeans and Bifocals. She has a degree in social psychology that she uses to try and make sense out of the behavior of her husband and three children but it hasn't really helped so far. She enjoys dry humor and has a love/hate relationship with running. Her writing has also been featured on Huffington Post, Babble, Scary Mommy, In the Powder Room, and Mamalode. Jill is a BlogHer 2015 Voice of the Year and willingly answers any questions that end with “and would you like wine with that?” Hang out with Jill on Facebook. and Twitter.


  1. Okay, admission: I actually do like the elf, (don’t tell anyone). I think the tradition is cute and we should hang on to those cute little traditions we can do with our kids while they still believe. However, I do think his face is just a bit creepy. Definitely not as creepy as the Grinch, though. 😉

  2. I’m much like you!! Just this morning I woke up realizing I didn’t move him so I snuck into the hallway where he was perched on our small hallway tree, stuck my arm out while brushing my teeth with the other and tossed him down the stairs with hopes he would have landed somewhere where it would have looked perfect. It didn’t land perfect. Then my daughter say him and said it looked like someone tried to murder him. I told her she must have caught him in the act and he froze where he was, like the Toy Story toys! She picked him up and moved him to a safe place! I hate moving that elf and as you can see, I’m not that creative either!

  3. I don’t really have a firm stance one way or the other as elves go. I think I’d be an utter failure though. I have a hard enough time just keeping the tooth fairy on a roll.

  4. I totally would’ve done the elf when mine were shorties. They were beyond the years of believing when it came out, but I think it’s cute. If your kids like it, I say why the heck not? Everyone has their own traditions. There are no pickles in my tree, either, but I don’t knock my friend who has 11 of them. LOL

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 😀 Elf on, Mama! You’re rockin’ this tradition thing.

  5. This is awesome! I write this as I am mentally preparing myself for the cleanup that has to happen tomorrow, including my dusty elf that has had an over-extended stay on the mantel with the 3 wise men and a few angels.

  6. Pingback: In defense of the Elf on the Shelf • Ripped Jeans & Bifocals

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