Brace yourselves, a new epidemic is upon us, and you could be next. Each night, all across the country moms and dads can be found holding a tiny red dude and muttering to themselves, “No, I did that already…that won’t work…why won’t it stay up…I can’t use tape, they’d know if I used tape…”
Yes, it is a sad truth that Creative Elf Syndrome (CES) is taking the nation by storm, and once you have allowed yourself to become afflicted, there is no turning back. You are done for.
I used to be one of those moms who didn’t know any better. It was an elf, it sat on a shelf. It was happy to move from one ledge to another each night, and that would be on the nights it actually remembered to move. The children thought it was great, but on the nights it didn’t move, oh the guilt I experienced in seeing the disappointment in their eyes the next morning. It was a giant crock o’ FAIL.
This year I vowed to be better, to make it special. I had no idea that I was falling down a very slippery slope.
Our elf comes out the first night the tree is up on the weekend after Thanksgiving, which is where he makes his very first appearance, and is on the job all the way through Christmas Eve. From there he moves about from shelf to curtain rod, from room to room. The first thing my six year old daughter does each morning is rush downstairs to find the elf. She runs throughout the house scouting his location. When one morning she said, “Oh, he’s on the window like last year”, I knew I had to step up my game. Not to mention that her friends in kindergarten all have a little recess-time powwow to discuss what their elves did last night.
I could no longer stand idly by and allow her only contribution to that conversation to be, “He was on the bookshelf. Again.”
So the next morning he pulled something rather mischievous and was found holding the Wii Band Hero microphone.
Well, the children crazy loved it! When they brought me over to see him I replied, “I thought I heard someone singing last night!” Their eyes grew wide as they stared open-mouthed at the tiny elf.
And that was the moment right there when I became infected. That was when visions of green and red color-coded spreadsheets outlining the brilliant things I would do from night to night all the way up through December 24th danced in my head.
Well, the spreadsheet only ever came to pass in my brain, but the next week I did scour the dusty recesses of my mind searching for ideas on what to do next. Each night had to be better than the last! He’s taken a ride on Barbie’s horse, in a helicopter, on a T-Rex, and on a fire truck. He has sat at the piano (“I thought I heard the piano playing overnight!”) and even spent an evening with Belle.
To which Sofia exclaimed, “I bet they got MARRIED!!! I bet the got married ALL!!! NIGHT!!! LONG!!!” Oh, just, oh.
But I was becoming exhausted! Each night after I prepped my coffee and started my climb up the stairs to my bed I would have to stop myself. Oh yeah, the elf. Last night (and if you have succumbed to CES you can definitely relate to this) I made it all the way up to bed before I remembered! You know that feeling when you climb in, fix your blankets, twist and turn until you have found the ultimate comfy position, and then feel yourself sink into the pillow as your mind goes blank and you are drifting, softly drifting…
EYES SNAP WIDE OPEN, SHIT I FORGOT TO MOVE THE ELF!!!
Fucking elf. You then throw back the covers, trudge downstairs, grab the elf, and just stand there in your living room searching your brain for inspiration, coming up empty.
Oh, but we should fear not, for there is help! Unfortunately it comes from people who are much more severely afflicted than I am. There are websites dedicated to elf ideas that range from the basics (look at my elf actually sitting on a shelf!) to the totally outlandish (look at my elf cooking a four course meal!) and mildly disturbing. These people are in desperate need of an elftervention, and of course they don’t have the slightest idea how insane they have become.
Truth be told, these people are a threat to us all and must be stopped. I like to think of myself as hovering somewhere around ELFCON 3. I am creative, I put a lot of pressure on myself to best last night’s elf placement, but I don’t put myself in situations where I will spend an hour cleaning my kitchen of flour dust from making fake elf snow angels, or washing dishes the next night when the elf fails to clean up his mess after baking cookies and cakes.
Back when I sporadically remembered to move the elf, I was happily living at ELFCON 5. Oh, those were the days. These people? And these people? And these people who spend all day on the Elf on the Shelf Facebook page??? They have no hope in sight; ELFCON 1 all the way.
I chastise them all for making life difficult for the rest of us, except for this lovely couple; these people are just plain genius. Feeling inspired, I took a leaf out of their book:
OK, I couldn’t go through with it. I’m already going to be spending enough dough on their future therapy sessions based on this blog alone, never mind adding elf slaughter into the mix.
Ten nights to go, People! Here’s hoping ELFCON 3 will hold. And for those of you enjoying your ELFCON 5 status, remember my cautionary tale whenever you start to feel a twinge of creativity. That bookshelf is indeed a lovely place to be found.