Dear Elf on the Shelf, it’s over!
I remember it like it was yesterday, there he was sitting in the book /Elf combo package grinning ear to ear, dressed in red and white, with that mischievous expression froze on his face. Oh the excitement and anticipation I exhibited pondering how to introduce him to the family. Would they like him? Would they accept him? I read the book to my family, carefully placed our Elf on the shelf on the mantel and hoped for the best. The next morning the children’s eyes lit up with enthusiasm when they spotted our Elf. It was official, he had been accepted, and we had just started a new family tradition!! You know how people say be careful what you wish for, same goes for traditions, be careful what traditions you start.
It has been five years since I first welcomed that Elf into our home. The children have grown and are now 4, 7, & 9 and they still eagerly await the Elf’s presence each year. But this year I hesitated. Why, you may ask. Well, this year when I asked our 4 year old what Christmas was about the first thing she mentioned was the Elf? That was when I knew we had a problem, when the elf trumps Jesus’s birthday we have a huge problem! So I sat back and contemplated our relationship, what we had been through, and what was best for the children. And here is what I have concluded.
- I am so sick of the lying! I am so sick of lying to the kids. Sure we can come up with clever ways of calling it something else…magic, small fib, etc. bottom line, when I have to come up with a creative story about how you got into the house I am lying! Not to mention, some of the stories have you not looking so good, they have you border lining breaking and entering night after night, after night, etc.
- This relationship is way too high maintenance for me! I am so exhausted at night after cleaning up from the day and preparing for the next day, tucking in kiddos, and if I am lucky getting a shower. Not to mention, this is the busiest time of the year….let’s be honest here little guy, who is actually doing ALL the work…who is actually shopping, wrapping, and on top of all of that I am supposed to move you around every night! Move yourself!! All you do is sit on your butt while I am the one doing all the work and you get all the recognition and praise!! And the children are supposed to behave thanks to you…what about me? I am always here watching!!! (Sorry, there might be a little animosity).
- Jealousy is starting to enter the relationship thanks to social media! I see you everywhere now! It is like there is an unwritten competition to see who can come up with the cleverest hiding spot, back story, etc. it is like a theatrical production and I just can’t take the pressure!! Nor do I have the time for all of that!
- You are edging God out! We have a huge problem when my children are more focused on your arrival than the birth of Jesus. I have clearly gone wrong somewhere. We need to refocus the reason for this beautiful season!! The birth of our Savior, not a plastic doll on a shelf!!
- Lastly, based upon Dr. Phil’s definition we are on our way to a toxic relationship….I am exhibiting at least 4 out of 8 of these;
Warning signs that a friendship has become toxic:
- You feel bad about yourself after contact (YES…I feel horrible)
- Your friend is unsupportive and even demanding (It’s like Dr. Phil is reading my mind!)
- Your friend is a taker (Check!)
- The relationship is draining, unsatisfying and stifling (It so is!)
- There is unequal footing; You have no voice (Well….maybe not this one)
- Your friend is unreliable (Not like I can depend on you to do anything other than take all the credit for all my hard work!)
- There is a pattern of criticism (I just don’t like the way you look at me…after 5 years that expression is just creepy! I feel like you are criticizing me with that expression. Okay, so maybe this one doesn’t really apply)
- There is little or no respect (That little elf has no respect for Moms….taking all the credit while moms are the ones doing everything….sure the kids will behave for the Elf but what about their Mothers? Hello, mom is always watching!! )
Thus it is with a deep sadness (not really) that I have come to the conclusion that we need to part ways. It’s not you, it’s me, and it’s what I am going through as I mature in my role as a mom. I need to do what is best for the children. And sure, it will be hard on them the next couple Christmases but they will eventually move on. Besides they will be more preoccupied with something else, the most important birthday ever!! You don’t have to go back to the North Pole but you do have to leave here…oh, and if the children ask, I told them you are working for a much bigger boss than Santa….that you are heading to a monastery.