An Open Letter to the Elf on the Shelf

Dear Buddy/Jingles/Elfie/Ginger/Snowflake,

First off, let me apologize for never bothering to name you. Frankly, we ran out of steam (and names). Choosing names for each of the kids was a consuming assignment, then there was picking out a name for the (someday, maybe) dog, naming our cars, 10,000 stuffed animals and each kids’ blankie. As a family, we simply don’t have it in us to make one more such decision.

You may expect me to apologize for the years you were “missing,” but let’s be real here – Christmas items don’t just go missing. Christmas items go in the Christmas tub. On January 2, we play a rousing game of I-Spy and anything red or green goes in the red tub. If you were “missing” for upwards of three years, that’s on you. 

After all, hiding is sort of your thing. 

But, then, this year, there you were, without so much as a heads-up. You can’t just sneak up on a mom like that. I could have been logging hours of Elf-prep during October and November.

But, no.

You showed up, unannounced on November 30 and now you, Pinterest and (thanks to Facebook) my children all expect me to take a month off from adulting. And for what? 

To play dollhouse.


In the golden two hours I (theoretically) have to myself each night, I’m to play dollhouse.

For 24 nights.

Sending you off on adventures, inventing for you a handwriting and a personality, giving you grand tours of every nook and cranny of our home, coming up with 24 clever scenarios for you to “hide” where my elf-believing-aged children can “find” you (keeping in mind, these are the same children who can’t seem to find their boots, the hamper or the trash).

All this to back some story that a poorly-stuffed doll is spying on them and tattling to Santa on their comings and goings, their time-outs and screen-times, their words, moods and ‘tudes.

I’m sorry-not-sorry to say, I will not step up to the plate on this shelf business. Now, you are welcome to stick around for the rest of December and if you make it back into the Christmas box, we can revisit your ideas next year. (But, if you so much as decide to dodge the Christmas tub and hide once again, I will donate your accompanying EotS book faster than you can say “pixie.”)

Now, don’t go thinking you can just coast along this month. You will be put to work, training the children whom you “serve.”

There will be no Barbie playdates for you, no hikes through the Department 56 Village, no rides on Thomas the Train, no Dancing with the Stars, no ziplines, no tiny costumes, no vacations, no shenanigans, no mysterious messes, no upgrades, no sELFies. And yes, no no Elf pets.

It’s time for you to pull your weight around here. And, if by some miracle, you survive Motherhood Block Party‘s Elf-on-the-Shelf Boot Camp and succeed at training the children, we can consider all this personality and creativity business next time around. Here is what you can expect.

If you cannot come through for us when it really counts, it’s probably time for you to find a new home. A home where kids go to bed on time, clean up after themselves, put things where they belong and eat what mom makes. Because such is the only type of home where an adult can spend their after-hours plotting and prepping and primping and posing. #aintnobodygottimeforthat

In my house, you’ll need to blood, sweat and tears your way into the artistic assignments you seek.

Now, pick yourself up by your clown collar and get to work, please? These kids will be up soon…

Merry Christmas, Elf on the Shelf!

Love, Mom on the Dot Com

2 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Elf on the Shelf

  1. I thought I was going to pee my pants with this one. WRITE THE BOOK! That or develop a stand-up routine and take it on the road. You’re too quick witted not to do these things! God has gifted you richly, my friend.

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