I Don’t Like You, Elf on the Shelf

I Don’t Like You, Elf on the Shelf

elf on the shelf ideas, funny elf on the shelf ideasI don’t like you, Elf on the Shelf.

I see you giving me that knowing smile that says you think it’s just because I’m one of those people who rejects anything Christmasy that doesn’t have to do with Christ. Well, you would be wrong. It took me a while, but I realized that I can’t mess Christmas up, even if I include you. No, I have other beefs with you, Mr. Elf.

You’re expensive. I was introduced to you innocently enough. You appeared in my “Recommended for You” list on Amazon. I was drawn in by your five-star rating and didn’t balk at the $20+ price tag because I figured I was missing out on something fantastic! Without any idea of what you were, I bought you with one click.

When you arrived, I read the book to the kids and started hiding you around the house so you could report on their behavior to Santa. The kids really seemed to think it was fun, so I did, too. I remember thinking how it would spoil the fun if the kids found you tucked among the Christmas decorations the following year, instead of at the North Pole with Santa. So I hid you really, really well. I hid you so well that I couldn’t find you the next year. I looked everywhere. By the time I admitted that I wasn’t going to find you, Amazon was out of stock. How on earth would I explain to my kids that the elf wouldn’t be visiting that year?

I searched for a local bookstore that carried the Elf on the Shelf and still had a Caucasian one in stock. I suppose I could have concocted a story about why our elf’s skin color had changed, but not one that would have explained why it had changed permanently. I could imagine my kids talking, “Remember when our elf used to be light-skinned?” When I arrived at the store, I found you among  many elf brothers. I sighed with relief that I wouldn’t have to explain you were a fake…until I realized I was spending another $20+ for you. Now, not only would I be hiding you from my kids, but my husband, too. He wouldn’t have approved of the extra expense. Even though my mother taught me lying was okay at Christmas, I was starting not to like you.

You provoke comparisons. That first year, my kids thought you were so fun, they told their neighbor friends. Their mother told me she had felt compelled to buy you, too. She is the organized type who would never lose you, so I didn’t feel too guilty about that.

What I wasn’t happy about, though, was the year the kids said you’d already visited the neighbors’ house, but not ours. And why was that exactly, they wanted to know? I didn’t say what I really thought, which was that the neighbor had just two kids and a white couch. White! And it’s stayed white. Of course, her elf had arrived right on time, whenever that was. When my daughter asked when you would start coming this year, I didn’t know. When she asked if it would be December 1st, I said, “Absolutely!” and hoped that’s when my neighbor would retrieve you from your perfect, dust-free storage spot.

The comparisons you provoked between me and my neighbor were bad enough. But then came Pinterest. These women not only found you every year, but found time to build a new creative setting for you each day. Instead of just sitting or hanging around like you do at my house, in these Martha Stewart-inspired fantasies, you can be found fishing and cooking and more with elf-sized equipment. Check out this pin, for example.

I wonder if these women even have kids! How on earth do they find time to come up with the ideas, buy the supplies they need, and assemble the scenes when the kids weren’t around (and take pictures of the whole thing) when I struggle to get dinner on the table? And I’m at home all day! Whenever I feel like a Pinterest craft failure, I’ve consoled myself with the idea that I’m fairly funny. Apparently, I’m not. I could never come up with something like this:

 

It used to be that I’d be irritated by pictures of perfectly-proportioned women on SHAPE Magazine. Now I’m annoyed when I see pictures of you, grinning from ear to ear, in your Better Homes decorated respites and your comical situations. I wonder what’s wrong with me that I can’t create Elf pictures worthy of entry into my local paper’s contest.

You have to be moved. On Christmas Eve, when I’m exhausted from laying out gifts for six kids, a husband, and a dog, I have to remember to move you to storage, because you are supposedly at the North Pole. I’ve already learned not to hide you too well, so I’ve taken to hiding you in my underwear drawer. The kids never dig around in there and there’s no chance I’ll forget where you are. That’s the only reason I keep you there. Seriously. As annoyed as I am by how expensive you’ve been and the comparisons you’ve provoked, I’m really irked that during the Christmas season, you have to be moved every single day. And without the kids seeing, of course. My kids are night owls which means that I have to get up early and remember to move you.

My children have wanted to know on more than one occasion why you haven’t moved. I didn’t tell them the truth that I forgot because I was tired, because I overslept, because I was thinking of all the other things I had to get done that day, because I’m not the neighbor with a clean white couch or any of those Elf-crazy pinners. Instead, I distracted them. “Hey kids, should we watch a Christmas movie tonight?”  Or I said that you stayed in one place because they were being particularly naughty there. I don’t even remember what I said, honestly. I just know that I really, really didn’t like you at those times.

I have tried to dish off the responsibility for you to my husband. In fact, last night as I knew he would be getting up before me, I asked him to be sure to move you. He grunted in response. This morning when he started to leave the room, I panicked and said, “Remember the elf.” He just laughed. When I came downstairs after unsuccessfully trying to get back to sleep, he was gone, but you were in the same spot. You’re still smiling. Do you think that’s funny?

You have to be believed. I can see you think I should just tell the kids you’re not real if I’m not happy. We both know that won’t work. My friend had me feeling so guilty one year for “lying” to my children about Santa, that when my son said, “There’s no Santa. It’s you and Dad,” I said, “Yes, you’re right.” He was shocked and crying and furious that I had taken that sense of wonder away from him. Now I live in fear of my adult children commiserating, “Remember when Mom told us the elf wasn’t real?” I just can’t do it. Not to mention that my mother told me it was okay not to believe in Santa. I just wouldn’t get any gifts from him then. So I still believe. Promise, Mom!

I have this terrifying vision of me waking up early for the next ten years to hide you before my youngest, now 8, gets up. Or more likely, forgetting to hide you before the youngest gets up and him rolling his eyes. I won’t know if it’s because he wonders why I can’t remember to move you to a new place for a month or why I’m still playing with a felt and plastic doll so many years after the neighbor quit.

Okay, I’m going to tell the truth, even though it’s Christmas. I know I will be sad when there’s no one here to hide you for–when you’re sitting in dust-covered storage in plain sight, year after year. But I have another vision of the future that thrills me. The first child that has a baby shower will be receiving you all wrapped up in pastel paper.

I still don’t like you, but I will thoroughly enjoy moving you to my child’s house. Believe it.

Follow Dr. Melanie Wilson @psychowith6’s board Humor on Pinterest.

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Easy Ways to Teach Geography & More: What’s Hot in Homeschooling This Week

Easy Ways to Teach Geography & More: What’s Hot in Homeschooling This Week

geography curriculum, homeschool encouragement, middle school curriculum and more

This week, as we settle into our homeschool year, I thought you might like a little inspiration from a homeschool mom of many. I know I appreciated it!

Finding Your Homeschool Groove

How to Teach (and Learn) Geography – Classical Conversations at Home

I found this article on teaching kids geography to complement Classical Conversations and I became hooked on the subject:

A Simple Way to Learn Geography 

Then I found this brilliant idea for helping kids make maps from Homegrown Learners.

Visualize World Geography

I told my curriculum connection about these fabulous ideas and she asked me if I’d ever heard of Visualize World Geography. Of course, I hadn’t! She explained that while it was an expensive curriculum, she found that it quickly and easily taught her kids the names of countries that most adults don’t know. I found the best deal (and reviews) of it at Homeschool Buyers Co-op. If you purchase used, make sure you are getting the DVDs as these are apparently the best aspect of the program.

The Little Man In the Map: With Clues To Remember All 50 States

Once I was sold on the visualizing method of learning geography, I was pleased to find this inexpensive resource for teaching kids the states.

Uzzingo Middle School Program

More and more homeschooling parents are looking for online curriculum that allows their older students to be independent. Barbie of My Freshly Brewed Life shares a review of Uzinggo–a curriculum I’d never heard of, that works for her middle school daughter.

I have more hot tips than I can share here, so be sure to like the Homeschool Sanity page on Facebook or follow What’s Hot in Homeschooling on Pinterest.

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Staying Sane While Homeschooling Preschool: What’s Hot in Homeschooling

Staying Sane While Homeschooling Preschool: What’s Hot in Homeschooling

Homeschooling Preschool Whats Hot

I had preschoolers in the house for ten years of homeschooling. I had to keep them busy before blogs and Pinterest were a help. Now I enjoy looking for activities that I know would have worked for me. If you’re beyond the preschool (or kindergarten years), share this post with someone who could use it. Really make their day and offer to watch the kids for an afternoon!

6 Ways I Loosened Up to Survive the Early Years of Motherhood

I remember too well how hard the early years were–mostly because I took everything too seriously. I wish I had written this fabulous and funny article from The House of Hendrix.

40+ Activities for 2-Year-Olds

The two’s have to be one of the toughest ages to keep occupied when you’re homeschooling. It can also be hard to figure out what activities to enjoy together. Kids Activities Blog to the rescue!

An Activity to Keep the Littles Busy for Hours

I can honestly see my 8 to 11-year-olds enjoying this! Easy and clever. Be sure to pin it so you don’t forget.

Create a Pet Jellyfish

This is so cute, I wish I had a child young enough to appreciate it. Perfect for an ocean unit, it’s another one to pin for later.

Fire Safety Activities & Printables

Teaching young children fire safety isn’t just educational, but can be life-saving. This fantastic list of activities and free printables will engage your preschoolers almost as much as a firehouse field trip.

Alphabet Crafts for Each Letter

I loved studying a letter a week with my preschoolers and these crafts are the perfect complement. No special craft materials required. Thank you, Mommas Fun World!

I write a monthly round-up post where I share what’s going on in our homeschool, recipe reviews, crafts I’ve made and more. Here’s the link to last month’s post.

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A Letter From the Tooth Fairy

A Letter From the Tooth Fairy

funny, humor, parenting, tooth fairy, letter

Dear Mrs. Wilson,

I realize this letter may come as a bit of a surprise as I am not in the habit of writing parents. But I had no choice but to respond to some serious issues that have recently come up in your home. Please understand that I would like to continue to take your children’s teeth and leave them money, but I need your cooperation.

First, be aware that I do not visit in the midst of a stomach flu outbreak. Ever. Please tell your child to save missing teeth for a day when I feel bet–I mean, when I am sure you are all well.

Second, I do not visit the same child more than once in the same week. Believe it or not, I do not use technology to remind me to pick up teeth so when I find myself at the same house in a short period of time, I am sure I have made a mistake and do not leave any money.

Third, for the same reason, I cannot pick up teeth from two children at your house in the same week. I am especially indisposed to doing so during a stomach flu outbreak.

Fourth, please do not allow your children to place their teeth under their pillows themselves. I am only so magic after all. Having to feel around in the dark for tiny teeth that are not in any substantive container makes me less inclined to visit next time. Know what I mean?

Fifth, please share this letter with your husband. It seems he has been occasionally leaving money for your children under their pillows. The pillow is my territory. If he wants to give your children money any other way, that is fine. But spoiling your children this way risks disappointment and a strained relationship with me in the future. Please ask him to cease and desist or he will have to play the tooth fairy full-time.

Finally, please stop disparaging me to your children. I am not too lazy to come in a snowstorm. I am not a forgetful airhead. I am trying to make the process of growing up an exciting adventure for your child.

Work with me, ok?

Sincerely,

The Tooth Fairy

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