Dear Elf on the Shelf ...

It's not you, it's me.

You're a bit of a heart-breaker, aren't you?  You're adorable, with your mischievous grin and your well-planned pranks.  You may be a bit of a tattler, but you're such a prevalent part of Christmas that I don't mind at all.

You work hard watching and listening to children all day.  I don't know how you find the time to travel to the North Pole, tell Santa everything, and then head back to wreak havoc in the sweetest way.  But you do find the time, all for the enjoyment of children everywhere.  And I believe that really is your purpose - to add to the excitement and anticipation of Christmas.

I just have one bone to pick with you, dear Elf.  You see, my daughter seems to think you're real.

You and I both know that's not true.  And like many other moms, I should probably just go along with your ruse and your back story.  Really, if thinking that you're watching her makes my daughter behave, who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth?

She loves you, my daughter does.  She met you just this year at school.  Her teacher introduced the two of you.  My little girl loves your magical talents and the fact that you always think of funny things to do.

But you did cause a bit of a disturbance in our house this year.

You see, our family values honesty.  I know it's not as popular as it used to be, but we still believe it's important.  We want our kids to be able to take us at our word, and to know that what we say is truthful.

Mr. Elf, your very existence has caused my daughter to doubt my words and to question my integrity. 

Her teacher has told her about many things you did before coming to the classroom, about how you visit Santa each night and about how you watch the children so closely.

But you and I know that my daughter's teacher was lying.  She was making it all up.  Whether it was to entertain the children or to attempt to control their behaviour really doesn't matter.  The fact is that you have been presented as a real being, alive and able to do all of the wonderful things that your stories say you can do.

And now my daughter believes that I am the liar.  I am the one who is being dishonest and who is preying on the gullibility of  small children.

Elf, that makes me just a little angry deep in my gut.  I've taught my daughter to trust the authority figures in her life, but to think critically about what they say.  It seems that you have cast a magic spell over her and she has forgotten her thinking cap at home.

My hope for education is that it will open my children's minds, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.

I know she will grow out of it.  I know she'll realize the truth soon enough.

But for now Mr. Elf, my daughter thinks she can't trust her own mother. 

And that right there breaks my heart.



  1. Oh, I'm so sorry you had a negative experience. My kids love the Elf on the Shelf but they know its a game. Which definitely makes it easier. Maybe your daughter does too and is just playing along? Either way, I'm sorry you're heart is hurting from it!

  2. I know what you are saying. I worried about this with Santa Clause. I do think it is important that they know we will tell them the truth. Luckily I was able to explain to her that there are a few things that we celebrate that are not real and I will let you know when I think the time is right. When the time came I told her this is one of the things we were talking about that wasn't real. She was bummed but did not lose her trust in me. It could have easily gone the other way though. So maybe it is best to just be honest in the first place.

  3. we're sticking to Santa Claus for now! I have the same hesitation introducing Elf at home. hopefully in a few years time.

  4. We have the soft, plush elf who isn't naughty. ;) There's a magical hint to it that appeals to my son and his dad loves to hide it each night. I totally see your point though... my second oldest feels that way about Santa Clause. He hates the idea of lying for a tradition.

  5. I guess it really depends on the child themselves. Each kid is so different, even within one family!

  6. I really do hope she's just playing along, but the way she and her friends talk about it, they seem to have completely bought in. I like the idea of making sure the kids know it's a game -- there are some great ideas for staging the Elf's antics!

  7. Yep. I feel the same! Thanks for sharing!!

  8. Aww, how sad. :( I have an Elf, but have not introduced him to our daughter yet.

  9. UGH! max is only two so haven't used the elf yet - what to do!

  10. I am so sorry about that. Maybe you can have a chat with the teacher and let the teacher know about the situation? I don't teach my kids about elf and things like that. We don't even play the Elf in the shelf thing. We don't encourage it in the house and we don't have to. I don't even tell the kids that it is Santa giving them all their toys for Christmas. I tell them it is their daddy that has to get up early in the morning to go to work so we can have the food, the house, the clothes, and the toys they want. Their daddy is the santa. :)

  11. It has always bothered me when teachers bring an Elf to the classroom. For one thing, it is not educational in any way shape or form! Additionally, it crosses so many barriers that are not condusive to a functional classrooom; not every family celebrates Christmas, not every family chooses to embrace the story of Santa, and not every family wants to contend with the elves! I think the elves should be left for individual families to do what they wish at home.

    Side note, our family used to enjoy the magical moments with our non-mischievous elf (seriously, I have four boys - I cant handle any more mischief!), and the boys are already anticipating his arrival this year. However, because they seem to get a bit over-excited in finding him each day, he ends up being a bit counter productive: their hyperness gets me angry and I end up making empty threats about Santa not coming, yadda yadda yadda. In fact, last year our elf disappeared for a few days to make a point toward strengthening said empty threats! I think this year our elf will have a delayed arrival, or perhaps just be REALLY well hidden for twelve days, and then spend the next twelve doing a spoof on the classic carol...

  12. I love it, what a great idea, lol! The 12 days of Christmas would be a great basis for the Elf's antics.

    I also agree with keeping Elves out of the classroom -- how does it make the kids who don't celebrate Christmas feel?


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