5 Reasons I Hate The Elf on the Shelf


5 Reasons I Hate The Elf on the Shelf

Unpopular opinion alert: I HATE THE ELF.  We don’t have one and we never will.  I have no Pinterest boards related to staging scenes with a stuffed toy to coerce my kid into following the rules.  Call me a wet blanket of the parenting world, but I hate the elf and here is why:

  1. The concept is creepy.  I have to literally convince my toddler every night that my husband sprays our yard daily with “dragon spray” so that no mythical creatures can break into our house at night.  Why on earth would I subject her to the scrutiny of a strange little creature intruding into our safe space, telling her what to do, all under the guise of “magic”?  Also, have you SEEN them? I don’t want those beady eyes looking at me as I sneak the last brownie in the kitchen while everyone else sleeps.  
  2. The current trend is hypocrisy.  So, let me get this straight.  I’m supposed to tell her that this elf travels back and forth at night to report her behavior to Santa.  So if she’s bad, Santa will know because “Tinsel” or “Jolly” went back and tattled?  While I told her it’s not nice to “tattle” when her friend cut in front of her in the playground line for the slide, it’s ok for a pretend elf to tell Santa every little detail of our lives? Not to mention that I just asked her 500 times to clean up her play room, while the elf is doing snow-angels in the flour he dumped all over the kitchen counter.  Nope.  No elf here. 
  3. I have other responsibilities and an elf ain’t one. My life consists of keeping our entire family alive. It’s hard work some days. These people must eat and breathe and bathe and it’s just really complex, and I don’t need to add to that. Staying up late trying to find ideas of how “Cookie” or “Jingle” can destroy my house the next morning when he or she “magically” returns isn’t particularly on my to-do list next to grocery shopping, working, and laundry. I can think of a thousand things I’d rather do that move that dang elf around, and I will be enjoying a glass of my favorite red wine while you’re scouring the internet to figure out how to hang your elf from the ceiling.
  4. The premise is all wrong.  Ok, so the elf comes and rules the house for the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Well, then what?  The elf is gone and BOOM, all hell breaks loose because nobody is there to go tell Santa that my kid pinched her neighbor at the lunch table or she back-talked for the 25th time today.  Well, the elf is in the attic, so what can I threaten my child with now?  My goal is to establish routine discipline with her.  The threat of not getting the latest toy or the “everything” she’s asked for this year for Christmas because she disrespected her parents in front of the elf isn’t exactly how I want her to learn right from wrong.  Discipline is year-round and I don’t want her to be confused because we have to be extra good when the elf comes and wreaks havoc around our house.  Being kind and following established rules is not to be rewarded, it should be the standard.  The feeling you get when doing the right thing should be the reward in itself, and I don’t need “Dasher” or “Elfie” to tell her otherwise. 
  5. It’s not what Christmas is all about.  With the commercialism of our world, I have found it extremely difficult to explain the true meaning of Christmas amongst the toy catalogs and Black Friday sales.  I want my daughter to know that Christmas is entirely about the birth of Jesus Christ, and what that means for us.  Even on a non-spiritual level, I want her to know that giving is better than receiving and that this time of year should be based on doing for others rather than earning gifts through some sort of credit system with “Sugar” when she returns to report to Santa each night.  This isn’t the ticket machine at Chuck-E-Cheese, kiddo.  The gift is in the giving and the focus of this time of year in our family is the saving grace that came to us in the form of a baby.  

So don’t come to our house this season and expect to see an elf on our shelf. I haven’t had to buy extra cheerios for him to fish out of the toilet or endless amounts of glitter to vacuum up. I won’t be panicking because the elf is in the same spot this morning as it was last night. Nope, little elf, you won’t intrude on our Christmas traditions. Not today, Santa. Not today.


  1. So funny!! I can relate on so many levels – my husband has said the SAME THING! Thanks for your honesty and perspective.

    • This was written as an opinion piece and totally light hearted. You do you, girl! If you love the elf, then cheers to that! 🥂

  2. Deb C, so now giving an “opinion” is berating and judging others who don’t agree with that opinion? If someone is so offended by someone else’s opinion in a blog, then they just need to move on and find a blog that makes them feel cozy and accepted and validated. Geez, people, when did it become offensive to share differing opinions???? Oh, that’s right – it happened when we started believing the lie that everyone needs to feel validated and no one is allowed to feel offended. **rolling eyes.**

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