I Put Our ‘Elf on the Shelf’ in a 14-Day Quarantine and People Are Pissed Off
One particularly upset father was like, “It doesn’t even make any sense, the elf goes back to the north pole every night so it would be infinite quarantining.”
Does he even hear himself? He’s a grown-ass man with a supposedly fully functioning brain that has the capacity for enough creativity to come up with 24 days of elf hijinks but he can’t seem to figure out a way to make elf quarantine work on his own.
In my opinion, the groundwork and expectation for the 14-day elf quarantine has already been set. 2020 has been a year filled to the fucking brim with new rules and upended traditions, so why shouldn’t we have at least one thing that works in our god damn favor?
With all the virtual teaching, virtual learning, child-rearing, meal-cooking, work-life balancing, social-distancing, mask-wearing, conspiracy-fearing, and vaccine-waiting we’ve had to endure in the middle of a fucking election year I think we all deserve a little bit of a break, don’t you?
The gift and the curse of an Elf on the Shelf
“Did you move the elf? I forgot to move the elf. Where is the fucking elf?” — Me and the wife 24 days in a row
As if the promise of presents for absolutely no legitimate reason once every year isn’t enough to fill the kids up to their wanting eyeballs with holiday cheer, our masochistic society felt the need to add a whole new layer of expectation to the holiday season. Enter the Elf on the Shelf.
Now every December night, or morning, or whenever we god damn remember because holy shit parenting is exhausting, parents have to slink through the darkness to arrange an inanimate object in an adequately interesting scenario.
The problem with this is, as with everything in life, the longer the elf act goes on the greater the expectation there is of the antics involved. Will this antic make the kids happy this time? God forbid the elf isn’t doing something exciting enough. Your extra efforts to bring cheer may result in disappointed faces of gloom. Well fuck us for even trying, am I right?
Shoutout to parents who’ve banned YouTube though, because these YouTubers make the damn elf job near impossible with the expectations they set for these demonic little dolls of doom.
In defense of breaking your child's heart
“That would break little Johnny’s heart! He looks forward to the elf’s antics all year long.” — An incredulous mom
While I don’t agree that this scenario would actually break a child's heart, I do have some thoughts on that concept. Whether we like it or not, our children will have their hearts broken throughout the course of their lives, and as parents, we won’t always be there for it. It’s our job to prepare our kids to be able to face the toughest moments of life on their own.
Experiencing heartbreak in a controlled environment might actually turn out to be a helpful lesson, don’t you think?
They can get an idea of what heartbreak feels like, how long it lasts, how to cope with it, and what they can expect from their support system. Maybe most importantly they can discover it’s not the end of the world.
If the Elf on the Shelf can help your child build the emotional intelligence they need to not only cope with their own, but help others through heartbreak, isn’t that in fact a good thing?
On being a lazy parent
“Reducing the elf's antics is simply you being a lazy punk-ass parent.” — One mad dad
Guilty as charged. I’ll own it. I’m with the lady who said “Ours is in a jar and he may stay there all month.” Santa can set you free on Christmas, you raggedy-ass doll.
But honestly, I don’t think this stunt qualifies me for the title of “lazy punk-ass parent.” I’d actually select something more along the lines of “Supergenius dad who figured out a way to put off a thankless chore while also teaching his kids valuable life lessons.”
If you’re mad at someone, it ain’t me. Must be mad at yourself for not coming up with the idea on your own. Now you’re a few days into the neverending elf game and probably sick to death of it. Sucks to be you.
Maybe I can still help you out though. If you’re desperate enough you might be able to claim the elf got COVID and still catch a short break. The question is, do you have the jingle bells for it? Well, do you, punk?
The most wonderful time of the year
“Despite all my rage, I am still just an elf in a cage.” — Smashing Santas
Listen, I’m no scrooge, and if you quarantined your elf you aren’t either. I doubt you’re walking around saying “bah humbug” and cursing out Christmas carolers. Heck, even if you are, you’re still not wrong for wanting to ease your burden during a time that’s been tough for all of us.
Honestly, anyone who sits in judgment of you probably ought to do a little bit of self-reflection. When does it become necessary to judge another persons parenting decisions? Just because someone's kid doesn’t always get their way doesn’t mean it’s time to step on their parent's toes.
If the elf quarantine were truly cruel and there were no obvious benefits or purpose to any of it, the naysayers might be right. But the more I think about it, the more this complaint feels like our weirdly constant urge to shelter our children from things they probably don’t need to be sheltered from. In fact, there comes a time when sheltering our children from harm becomes harming our children, and as parents, we have to be careful to strike a balance.
In any event, I’m wishing you all a happy holiday season, regardless of your elf’s status, if you even have one.