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To Elf or Not to Elf; It’s Not a Moral Question

It’s Christmastime!! Is it just me or does it come more quickly each year? Either way, it really snuck up on me this year.

In my Christmas reading (okay let’s be honest. The”reading” I’m specifically referring to is me browsing Facebook while I wait for my son to get out of school), I’ve seen two different types of blog posts, written and rewritten by moms convinced they’re right. The subject: Elf on the Shelf.


For those of you living in caves, Elf on the Shelf is basically a small elf-like doll families use each year to convince their children Santa is watching. People spend anywhere from seconds to hours each day until Christmas putting the elf in mischievous positions that cause joy and laughter for children.

Now as I pointed out earlier, there seem to be two opinions on this practice.

One; all good parents participate in the Elf on the Shelf tradition. Anyone who doesn’t is denying their children the magic of Christmas.

Two; Elf on the Shelf is a waste of time and if you participate you aren’t focusing enough on your children and you must be atheists incapable of celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.

Both opinions have the same result: moms who are trying their best now feel like they’re not good enough or aren’t doing Christmas right. We’re giving this stuffed elf way too much power. Didn’t Child’s Play teach us anything?

I’m here to tell you why you are still a good mom if you choose to do Elf on the Shelf. I’m also here to tell you why you are a good mom if you don’t do Elf on the Shelf.

Let’s face it. Christmas is a busy time of year. We’re all caught up in present shopping, present making, present delivering, cookie making, cookie delivering, school parties, church parties, community parties, helping the needy, caroling, decorating, movie watching, etc., etc., etc. Just making that list made me hands exhausted.

As parents, we do everything we can to make this time of year special and magical. You know what will do that for your child. If sticking a stuffed elf around your house does that, rock on. Guess what? You can still manage to feed, clothe and love your child, and worship Jesus at Christmastime if you have an elf in your house. Really! I’m not making this up!

If you aren’t the elf type of family, your children can still enjoy Christmas. Our house is living proof of that. We have two very important reasons we don’t do Elf on the Shelf. One; the idea of a doll moving around totally freaks me out. Two; I don’t feel like it. And yet, Christmas is still a fun, full, magical time in our house. I doubt skipping the Elf on the Shelf tradition will come up when they’re in therapy one day which is likely from other parenting misdeeds that have nothing to do with an elf.

For those of my friends who participate in the elf tradition, I hope it’s a lot of fun for your family and you make a lot of great memories.

For those of you who don’t, I’m sure you do equally fun, exciting things that bring Christmas joy to your family.

So let’s give each other a break. Being a parent is hard. It’s stressful, full of worry, and we’re all constantly second-guessing our decisions. A stuffed elf should not be a make-or-break point of Christmas so let’s stop acting like we’re taking the “better-parent” route if we elf and the “higher-level-of-understanding-parent” route if we don’t elf. In fact, I’m  tired of hearing about the darn elf. So tired of it, I’m ashamed of myself for bringing it up. I’m going to stop talking about it… now.

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