My Family Will NEVER Do An Elf On The Shelf — We Do Three


I have a confession to make. It’s a deep, dark secret. Something I tell myself I should stop doing and yet, I continue to feed my habit. My mom friends look down on me for it and my husband finds it utterly ridiculous. My secret keeps me up at night, and sometimes I’ll awaken in a cold sweat at 4:00 a.m. just to get my fix. It’s my secret shame and I’m finally ready to tell the world my story. Have you heard of Elf on the Shelf?

Well, I love the Elf on a Shelf.

I love it! I move not just one elf, but THREE elves around my house nightly in December.


Each of my daughters has her own elf, which they have named Charmander, Heart, and Rosie. We also own all the elf pets and have different outfits.

I’ve been known to spend tens of dollars every year on random crap to accompany them on their nightly mischief. Go big or go home, right?

I know what you’re thinking . . . it’s terrible. You’re thinking I’m making things worse for other moms.

You’re thinking my children are spoiled, and I’m some Pinterest-crazy nutcase.

Unfortunately for me, you’re right. I am all of those things and my children are incredibly spoiled, but I’m here to defend the elf.

Here are some reasons the Elf on the Shelf is good for my family:

The little turds are like built-in hall monitors.

As moms, we have a lot to do in the month of December, and we don’t have time for constant bickering and messy rooms. The elf will keep nonsense to a minimum.

Usually all it takes is a reminder that the elves are just in the next room, but sometimes you have to pull out all the stops.

Last year about 10 days before Christmas my 5-year-old cut off all her hair. Like to a half inch in spots. It was bad, really bad. I was livid. She didn’t seem phased by my anger, but the next morning when she woke up her elf had not moved.

She knew she had done something wrong, and I had an angel child for the remainder of Christmas. Her elf eventually moved and she was thrilled.

It’s fun for me.

I’ll be honest, I am someone who likes to get my creative juices flowing, and since becoming a mom it is hard to find those opportunities. The elves are definitely a creative outlet for me.

Whether it’s building a popsicle-stick Christmas tree house for them, building a cereal box fort, or buckling them up in car seats to be found after school, it’s fun. I’ve heard the argument that it is so time consuming, and believe me I understand.

That’s why some nights I just throw them in the freezer and explain to my kids, “Well, they must have missed the North Pole.”

It’s Christmas, dang it!

I know it’s more work and unnecessary, but come on people! It’s Christmas and your kids are only going to believe in this ridiculousness for so long. Get up off your butts and move the elf.

Watching your children hunt for their Elf on the Shelf every morning and laugh at their antics will bring you so much happiness.

Which makes it totally worth the 3 minutes of work you did the night before. You don’t have to be elaborate, you can move them from the tree, to the shelf, to the light fixture, then on the table, the counter, etc. Look, I just planned half the month for you!

You’ll reap the benefits in 20 years.

Do you ever look back on your childhood Christmases and marvel about all the work your mom did for you? Doesn’t it make you feel so grateful and have so much love for her?

Hello! That will be you in 20 years. Just imagine your little Suzy as a mom, realizing all the crap you did every night in December to make her childhood as magical as it could be. Can you say brownie points? You’ll be in the best retirement home money can buy!

Elf on the Shelf sitting on a shelf with a candle
Photo credit: Adobe Photo Stock

I know I won’t convince you all. In fact, I’m sure the comments section is about a mile long by now full of Karens and Susans educating me on my parenting.

This is just one mom’s humble opinion about one of her favorite family traditions. What’s right for my family may not be right for yours, and vice versa.

Just know that my kids have decided that Santa only sends elves to his favorite children.

Now I’ve tried to disprove this theory, but their case is rock solid. I’m just preparing you for any lunch room talk that may seep its way into your minivan.

It feels so good to finally admit my secret shame to you all. Quite frankly, I’m not ashamed at all, but instead excited for December 1st. Everyone knows that’s when the elves show up.

I leave you with this advice: When you’re out shopping and you see that dreaded red and white Elf on the Shelf box, remember my words. You can do it! Have some fun with it and move the dang elf!

You’ll be thanking me when you’re sipping iced tea next to the pool at your luxury senior condo in 30 years, trust me!

Merry Christmas and Happy Elfing!


  1. You and I are the same person. Thank you for putting into readable words.

    I agree 100% with you.
    3 daughters as well. 3 Elves. Hello good life when I am 80 years young.


  2. Well, I wouldn’t dream of educating you on how to raise your kids. But… I would appreciate if you changed your style a little.
    You see, all the little craps, turds and dangs make it sound like you really don’t believe this is a worthy holiday tradition. It’s sounds like you are berating yourself and your taste to do that before someone else does that… but this is YOUR blog, YOUR traditions, YOUR preferences! There’s nothing wrong with those, nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to worry, nothing to defend.
    I would have preferred to read about why you love these little things without belittling, mocking and ridiculing it. I would have preferred to read just about your joy, about your kids joy, about the antics, about why you find it so rewarding… I would have wanted an article that lights me up and wants me to do this too. I want to read about how you LOVE staying up a little later every evening, how you get your creative mood on, and sleep well every night knowing you made the December just a little more magical and easier to survive for your kids. I would have liked to read about how easy it really is, it takes only a couple of minutes, maybe half an hour if one wants to make it fancy, and how the internet is so full of ideas that people could give the elves a new place every hour of December without much bother. It really is that; a little bother and the rewards are amazing.

    Also, the biggest reason to why so many people hate the self-elves is the snitch culture. The elves shouldn’t be used as a threat and punishment. They should be fun.
    I mean… that a 5yo cuts her hair – that happens. I think everyone knows about a kid who has cut his/her hair. It shows great imagination, initiative and skills in using scissors. Also, the natural consequences of this hairstyle operation are punishment enough. I mean… when her sisters get a pretty princess hairdo and she has a pixie cut… or looking at the Christmas photos when she’s 10.
    On the other hand… she’s five. Why was a 5yo left unsupervised with an access to scissors? I’m glad it’s only her hair that got damaged. What did YOU learn from the incident? What was YOUR punishment? After all, being ashamed of how your daughter looked was deserved, as you did leave her unsupervised and the scissors accessible.

  3. I know this is a post from last year but stumbled upon it and I need ideas! I also now have 3 elves on the shelf (a red boy, green boy and purple girl elf to be exact). I need ideas on the trucks yours pull!!! ??????????????


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