Seems like a great concept: every year as we put away our Thanksgiving platters, and take out our Christmas tree, we think about the Elf and all the merriment he’ll bring our children in December.
We plan his pranks, and antics – the blue milk, the tiny sooty Elf footprints leading away from the fireplace.
We set him up riding Dinosaurs and breaking chunks off the family gingerbread house and it’s just so freaking adorable. But is Elf on the Shelf actually bad for your kids? Are we setting our children up for years of disappointment by shoving so much magic and merriment into one month? Maybe…
Why Elf On The Shelf Is Actually Bad For Your Kids
1. Food poisoning. Blue milk sets a bad precedent. Think about it – sure, blue is fine for December when it’s a one-time thing and the Elf is there to take the blame. But what are we teaching our kids? What happens when they go to drink lumpy milk? Or sour milk? The Elf’s not around anymore, mom and dad. Someone’s going to have to take the blame for that upcoming tummy ache.
2. I-Spy. Do we really want our kids thinking it’s okay to live in a police state? That little Elf is nothing more than a mischief making snitch. I mean, yeah, we ask Alexa for everything like she’s Rosie from the Jetsons, but at least Alexa doesn’t judge us when we eat an extra cookie or stay up a little too late watching Game of Thrones and end up calling in ‘sick’ to work the next day. That Elf? Yeah, that Elf is nothing more than a big ol’ tattletale.
3. Mischief managed? Once we tell our kids that the Elf can come alive, they might start to think their other toys can come alive, too! Or, at very least they might think that WE think their other toys can come to life. Remember that little girl who blamed her nail polish accident on her Barbie? That’s going to be ALL of us!
4. The Bunny and Fairy. Once kids have experienced that magic that is Elf on the Shelf, they’re going to expect a whole lot more from the other magical creatures in their lives. Santa gets a bit of a pass because it’s Christmas, but what about the Easter Bunny? Or the Tooth Fairy? Unless you want to spend weeks plotting out fairy footprints and bunny trails (and you do NOT want to think about what a bunny would leave behind them on a trail), that Elf has got to go! Nobody has time for magic year round!
5. Silent night. It’s inevitable: at some point you’re going to forget to move the Elf. December is busy enough without shuffling that elf from room to room night after night. So at some point your little Drexel is going to wake up and wonder why his Elf is dead. Do you really want to have to deal with Drexel’s tears and heartache right before he takes that second grade spelling test? No. The answer is no, you do not.
6. Other kids. You KNOW someone in Lulu’s preschool class has parents who don’t believe in the Elf. And they’ve told that kid the truth. And that kid is going to tell YOUR kid and that drama is going to be a royal nightmare to try to resolve. Remember what Lulu was like when she came home and the fish died? Imagine dealing with the death of Christmas at four-years-old. It’s just not going to be pretty, folks.
Bottom line: Elf on the Shelf seems like fun and games in theory, but things aren’t always candy canes and cookies once the Elf comes out of the box.
Sure, you can create a magical and wonderment filled month for your little darling, but will they ever experience such glory again? I mean, other than next Christmas? And every time they lose a tooth?
And when the Easter bunny brings them random toys and candy and hides presents in eggs for them to find?
And of course on the Fourth of July when the air catches on fire and creates bright and magical shapes? And on Halloween when ghosts and ghouls come back to life? No. The answer is no.