Elf on the Shelf . . .

This lil' muh-fuggah right heah . . .
Fair warning . . . what I'm about to say is going to be unpopular in many circles. It is not consistent with the "Christmas Spirit" and it is not at all "live and let live" as relates to other parenting styles. For you see I have a new arch nemesis in the world . . . Elf on the Shelf.

Not familiar? GOOD for you (and what the heck rock are you under - to get you caught up, slavery is bad, healthcare is changing, and gay marriage is building momentum) but you need to understand it . . . there is a book and a doll/figurine/stuffed animal/creepy plastic-and-polyester thingy that has actually been around for like 560 years but has just really caught steam in the last few years.

What is the point of this thing? If you have horribly behaved children who don't seem to appreciate the holidays and all the gifts and crap bestowed upon them you buy this little jewel of commerce and you place the Elf around your home and he watches over your little anti-angels and his presence alone encourages your children to be better behaved so they are more deserving of their Christmas hauls come 12/25.

So . . . to summarize - you spend money on a doll (or the board game, magnets, additional stuffed animals, and other trinkets that the wheels of money have spun on) that will bribe/trick/encourage/motivate your kids in to being more deserving of the crap you spent the rest of your paychecks and maxed our credit cards on. How's that working out for you? Seriously.

And if you are a person that owns an Elf on the Shelf for nostalgia or fun and who doesn't actually feel like you "need" the thing (like some drunk who only sips Malibu and orange juice because they don't "need" to get drunk - they just like the taste of bad hooch and Tropicana) than you can not get upset here and accept my sincere tip of the hat for having a fun way to creep out your children.

BUT if you are the gross majority of Elf on the Shelf owners who found out about this "fantastic" little bastard from a girlfriend in your book club or Jan in the next cube over or the co-host of your favorite FM morning radio show . . . for shame. For. Shame.

Parenting is hard. You know what should be LESS hard? Having kids who act to your expectation year round and who are deserving and appreciative of your Christmas gifts accordingly Simple, right? And yet there is an Elf on the Shelf for BIRTHDAYS now - because kids can get rowdy when their "special day" (aka the annual reminder that they emerged from a vagina through the assistance of human nature and medicine alone - no actual accomplishment of their own at all) approaches. Don't believe me? GOOGLE IT!

You know where Elf on the Shelf is popular? Here. ONLY here. In the United States of Pandering to Our Children. Sure, sure - there are other cultures that will threaten kids during the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Ever heard of Krampus? He's the bee's knees. He tortures bad children. You know the difference between Krampus and Elf on the Shelf? Krampus is LORE. Elf on the Shelf is a commercially sold product.

You know what the world doesn't have? The Developing World's Food Portion for the Day on the Shelf. Why not? Kids don't need motivation for what they NEED. Something 40% of American homes do NOT buy for their children? Additional Text Books, Source Materials, and Additional Study Resources on the Shelf. Why not? Education is apparently not worth the extra spend. Another example of how parenting in America is getting out of control? Even if Elf on the Shelf fails to keep kids in check . . . Santa still comes. No one in the history of coddling has spent the money on Elf on the Shelf but then taken a hard line and said "Not this year, kiddo." What would Jan think? How can you go back to book club? What would your "friends" have to "like" on Facebook if you don't post those 12/25 AM pics?!

Ugh. Ugh. Ugggggghhhhhhhh. Come on, folks. You're better than Elf on the Shelf. Just hold your children to a relatively moderate expectation of good behavior, kindness, engagement, empathy, and appreciation. If they can't suck that up for the first 24 days of December (and the other 341 days of the year) you're not doing it right . . . especially if they are still young enough to believe in elves, Santa, the tooth fairy, and all that other stuff anyway.

Save your Elf on the Shelf money. Have your kids pick a charity to give it to. More over if you get this little creep and stash him around your home and your kids can't pull off being "good" - hold them accountable. Give THOSE gifts to charity. Know what? Your kids will never disrespect the month of December again. I gahhhhh-run-teeeee!

And one last thing . . . curse you, Carol Aebersold and your co-author/daughter (Really? She gets co-author credit, you enabling boor!) Chandra Bell for the misery you have brought in to my life with your ill-conceived book and toy.