Why is “The Elf on the Shelf” so Polarizing?


I’ll start by saying that I vehemently opposed to the Elf on the Shelf a few years ago.

When my oldest asked if we could get one, my answer was unequivocally NO. Why would parents (let’s just say it, MOMS) put themselves through yet another stressful holiday tradition? Don’t we do enough already?

The thought of adding one more thing to the growing list of to-dos was nauseating.

I held my son and husband off on this “tradition” for a couple of years, but my husband brought it up again. And I caved. Well, maybe I should say I compromised. I realized that it wasn’t the Elf itself that I was opposed to; it was the idea that was latched to it. That the Elf was watching your every move and would report back to Santa if the children were good or bad. Ick.

I’m sorry, but there’s nothing my little children could do that would take their Christmas presents away. This whole “reporting to Santa” was archaic and, frankly, just creepy. And I wasn’t subscribing to that.

So when they wanted to bring the Elf into this house, I had three stipulations:
1. We would not be reading the story or telling the kids the Elf was “watching their behavior,”
2. The Elf would not get into trouble or be part of any elaborate mischievous set-up,
3. I would not be responsible for moving it from place to place. If my husband wanted this thing in our house, he would be in charge of it. And if the Elf didn’t move one night, no big deal, “sometimes he’s comfortable and didn’t want to move that night.”

Why are we getting so bent out of shape about something like this? The Elf can be whatever you want it to be. You make the rules for your family, and your children will subscribe to whatever your traditions are with regard to holidays.

I use this as a learning experience. Everyone celebrates differently. Nothing is wrong or bad. It’s just how your family does something. Different is good, and we can all learn from each other.

So let’s cool it on the Elf controversy. If you want to do it, do it. If you don’t, then don’t. The choice is yours.

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Charity is a newly-single mom of three with a son born in 2012 and identical twin daughters born in 2017. She lives in Monroe and has been writing for Fairfield County Mom since 2019. Charity is a full-time speech-language pathologist, working with patients all across the lifespan. She is also an intuitive medium. In her life before children, Charity was a professional stage manager, working in theatres throughout Fairfield County. Charity is passionate about her family, career, ballet (which she began at 39 years old!), musical theatre, and her amazingly-supportive friends as she begins a new chapter in her life. She firmly believes that you are never too old to stay stuck in a situation that is causing you pain. You can follow her on Instagram at @charityferris.


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