Don't be fooled by the cuteness....
“I can’t find the Elf on the Shelf.”
I bounced around the kitchen nervously, like a junkie on the third day of rehab, and wrung my hands in panic. Gut-wrenching desperation shot from my eyes.
My husband looked at me and asked with a complete lack of compassion, “What the hell is wrong with you?”
Love. It’s a beautiful thing.
I grabbed him by the shoulders and got right in his face, “I. CANNOT. FIND. THE. ELF. ON. THE. SHELF. ANYWHERE. IN. THIS. HOUSE!”
And right here. Right now. This moment is where my husband, the light of my life, killer of garden snakes and taker outer of the trash, could have stepped up to the plate and knocked one outta the park for husbands and fathers everywhere.
Alas, he did not.
He merely looked at me blankly and muttered, “What the hell is Elf on the Shelf?”
Oh, for the love of God.
On paper, the concept looked good: a small elf doll that visits your home every day during the holiday season, keeps an eye on the children and reports back to the North Pole each evening and blabs to Santa if they’ve been naughty.
It’s like a cozy Christmas version of George Orwell’s “1984,” an ingenious Big Brother kinda way to get kids to behave without threatening bodily harm or taking away all their sugar cookies.
But, as with most things in life that promise a world full of warm fuzzies, the whole thing was nothing more than a big pain in the backside of humanity.
First, it was creepy looking. Like what you’d get if you crossed a Voodoo doll and an extra from Chucky’s Christmas of the Damned. It was seriously spooky with eyes that followed you everywhere and saw everything, making you do the sign of the cross each time you walked by it.
Even if you weren’t Catholic.
Secondly, kids aren’t allowed to touch him. Ever. That’s part of the “magic.” You touch him, kiddo? You die.
Well, not really. But that’s how serious you’re supposed to instill the “no touching” rule so kids won’t run off with it.
Thirdly - and here’s the one that really kicks you in the pants - he’s supposed to show up in a different place each day.
Which means, it’s 3:46 in the friggin’ morning and you shoot up in bed, wide awake with panic ‘cuz you forgot to move him after the kiddo went to sleep.
So you stumble from your warm bed into the freezing cold of night, trip over the golden retriever snoozing on the floor, crash onto the carpet and get rug burns on every conceivable part of your body.
So by now you’re seriously pis**ed...I mean, ticked...you’re really ticked....and you heave yourself off the floor with Herculean strength and track down the puppet from hell.
Then spend 5 minutes daydreaming how his head would look on a stake.
But finally recall the sweet look of happiness and expectation on your 6-year-old’s face each morning as he hunts around the house, searching for his little buddy.
And that right there is the only reason I kept the stupid thing last season. I hid it away so our son wouldn’t accidentally stumble across him in July and blow the whole thing wide open.
But apparently I outsmarted myself. After tearing the house apart for two days, I hadn’t been able to find the little creature of the damned either.
Thus, panic set it.
“So buy another one,” my husband calmly suggested. As if there was any room for common sense in this discussion.
I shook my head in defiance, “I know it’s here somewhere.”
He shrugged and said, “Whatever.”
Really. His compassion knows no bounds.
But I confess. I couldn’t take it any longer. Our son asking about him every day. Each sad little “Why isn’t he here yet, Mom?” stabbing me through the heart. So I caved. Bought another one, cursing it while I gently placed it on the shelf and waited for my son to notice.
Two days later....
I looked down into the box of Christmas lights we’d taken outside to decorate the house with and muttered, “Son of a bitch.”
My shoulders slumped in defeat, all the air fled my body in one big “whoosh.” The box top gently slid from my fingers and landed with a soft plop on the garage floor.
There, nestled among the strings of gaily colored light bulbs, was the original Elf on the Shelf.
My husband peered over my shoulder and did what any male would do.
He died laughing.