…with apologies to my troll-loving friends…
The Christmas season is here which means it’s time for the annual release of the holiday kraken. It is time to unbox the Elf.
From now until Dec. 25th, my Facebook and Instagram feeds will be overrun with whimsical images of red- and white-clad pixies wreaking havoc on my friends’ homes. Here is Sprinkles mismatching the family socks. There is Squeaky throwing marshmallows at the dog. If I were to unfriend every friend who posted a photo today of that playful puppet with Chuckie’s smile…well, I would be a lonely gal indeed.
I have girlfriends who swear by the magical and voyeuristic properties of this tiny troll. He is rumored to report directly back to Santa. Thus, children of the house are more compliant with the Elf’s beady eyes upon them. A blessing, my friends call it. Creepy, I reply. The Elf is like a nanny cam we use on ourselves. But it’s not just the surveillance component that rattles me, it’s the relentless choreographed merriment.
Did I miss the meeting when parents decided it was our job to perpetually entertain our children? Why not ship the Elf in an extra-large cardboard box and have kids spend December moving that around the house? I find it flabbergasting that anyone ever looked at the Christmas season – with its shopping, wrapping, baking, singing, and decorating — and thought, It’s just not enough. Our kids need more.
I would be willing to put up with the spying and shenanigans if I felt like the ritual at least improved us. But, in the end, I think Rascal is merely another diversion from the real work of the season. Whatever your denomination, no matter your beliefs, this time of year beckons us all with bounty and light. As a mom, I want to teach my kids to share this bounty and spread their light.
I would like the Elf more if he interspersed the clowning with little assignments – “Go clean your room. Fill a bag with clothing and bring it to a shelter downtown.” But that’s not very festive, you say.
But what, I ask, makes more sense? An Elf who for 24 ½ days rotates around your house unstuffing the sofa pillows? Or an Elf who spends nearly a month reminding children that they can make the world a better place?