Dear Elf On a Shelf Overachievers: Stop Making Me Look Like Crap

We’d never had a resident Elf on a Shelf until last year.

Meet Steve.

I assumed this Elf on a Shelf gig was pretty low maintenance, right? Like most parenting trends, however, a few overcaffeinated, overzealous overachievers can ruin simple, slacker mom fun.

The first thing my girls have done each morning these past couple of weeks, while bleary eyed and still in their pjs, is search for Steve. I’m absolutely thrilled they still hold fast to the wonder of Christmas. Steve brings a touch of magic to our day, a touch of magic that involves zero props or elf hijinks. Steve mischeviously moves every night as the girls are peacefully sleeping. Now Steve just has fun exploring our house. He doesn’t make flour snow angels in the kitchen or bring cute little gifts. Although, Steve? Feel free to bring me a bottle of wine from Santa’s private wine cellar any time, OK?

Suddenly, however, there are minions of mothers hell bent on destroying those of us who subscribe to the quaint and simple Elf on a Shelf fun. These Elf on a Shelfinistas continually set the bar higher with elaborate Elf on a Shelf pranks and portrait sessions that take longer than the Kardashians’ annual Christmas card photo shoot.

I see all you jacked up on eggnog moms posting your artsy fartsy Instagram pictures of your Elf on a Shelf. You’ve got your thrill-seeking zip lining elves, your makeshift hot tub in a coffee mug elves, and your “don’t be naughty” note writing elves.

People, our elf is doing good to just move to a new spot on a daily basis. Between this and an unexpected Christmas morning game changer (in her letter to Santa the 9-year-old asked him to wrap all the gifts he brings for the first time ever) THIS IS ALL I CAN HANDLE.

Every night, usually when I’m good and settled in under the covers with a book, I have an “OH CRAP I forgot to move Steve” moment. Then I quietly sneak down the hall to do the deed. There is not a nanosecond left in my day nor a morsel of creativity left in my brain for extraordinary feats of Elfdom. You see, we have an Elf on a Shelf, not an Elf on a Mission To Give Slacker Moms A Nervous Breakdown.

So all you moms setting up Elf on a Shelf Cirque de Soleil tonight remember that I’m already sitting down on the couch enjoying a glass of wine while you meticulously style your elf for a new Facebook wall photo.

We are simple Elf on the Shelf folk and we mean to stay that way.


  1. Liz says:

    I feel ya’, momma! Our elf hasn’t moved all week. My youngest finally admitted, “Guess he really, really likes our Christmas tree because it IS really pretty.”


    EXACTLY! Hey, my house…works for us…stupid elfin rules!

  2. Jamie says:

    I hear ya mama! I just can’t handle anything too complex LOL.

    This morning hubby noted that Steve was in a place too easily accessible, therefore too tempting for the girls to touch him so he had to move.

    GAH! And cheers! 🙂

  3. rowena___. says:

    you know all that elfanista business is not about the kids–it’s about the moms. you’re doing it just right, jamie–and your kids will remember how magical it was.

  4. Susan says:

    We’ve had lots of fun with our elves this year. Last year, we just moved them around and it didn’t really seem to interest our little guy. Doing all the extras (cottonball bubble bath, fishing for goldfish, playing with all the toys, zip line) has made it lots of fun this year. Every morning, we look to see what they’ve been up to overnight.

  5. Caitlin {Pacifier In My Pocket} says:

    Thank you! I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling a little overwhelmed by all those pictures of partying Elves. I think our Elf has only moved three times so far this December. I just can’t seem to remember that on top of all the other Christmas preparations. Luckily, at two, my son is too young to really “get it” and worry over the Elf’s location. My 12 year old just volunteered to take over moving him at night and I was really glad to outsource that job.

  6. Jamie says:

    I also fear the trend of having to one up myself! You know, this year if I do all sorts of hijinks and next year the girls will expect Steve to BRING IT!

    I do like the idea of him being a little mischevious, though. Earlier this week he had stuffed himself down into a glass candy jar. 🙂

  7. Jamie says:

    p.s. Caitlin, I LOVE your outsourcing to an older sibling idea…perfect! Plus that gets your daughter in the spirit.

  8. Beth (A Mom's Life) says:

    Our elf only did one wild and crazy thing this year and that’s only because my 7 year old begged him before she went to bed. Other than that he is content to just move from place to place every night. We’ve had him for 3 years now and that was the only time he got a little wild. Hopefully it will be the last – because I too enjoy sitting on my rear watching the DVR and drinking!

  9. Jill says:

    I’m with ya. I thought I’d try my luck with some elf mischief, so we woke up one morning to find that our elf had “tried” to make a bowl of cereal for himself. A few days later, he had gotten into the oatmeal. GUESS WHO GOT TO CLEAN IT UP? Let’s just say that it wasn’t JINGLES, THE ONE WHO “MADE” THE MESS! My holiday to-do list doesn’t include cleaning up any more messes than are truly accidental. Therefore, Jingles got a good scolding and he has been behaving ever since!

  10. Stephanie says:

    I too agree – it’s too much to keep up! However after a couple of days of “Albert” being in the same place I figured he has to do something. So I guess my slacking catches up with me and I feel the need to add a little spark. It is usually nothing difficult and it sparks the kids joy again! I feel as if they begin to think “Albert” isn’t real or isn’t really doing what he should. Just this morning, he was looking at the Wal-Mart Toy ad (Lego page) and just so happened to be playing with a few of my son’s lego’s. The kids enjoyed it and he probably will still be doing the same thing in the morning. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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