Slightly Cracked Observations on…The Elf Shouldn’t be on the Shelf

I am thinking about changing the name of this semi-regular series from Slightly Cracked Observations to something like; The Really Stupid Shit I See, or something similar.  Actually slightly cracked observations is a great name for it because it’s a little more subtle but some days, I could care less about subtlety.

Like today.  I have noticed something lately that has me so irked.  (surprise!)  Since it is directly related to a lack of subtlety and discretion by someone or a bunch of someones, today is one of those days.

In the quest for more and more sales, resulting in a better bottom line, retail stores are blind to the damage they are doing, to the magic of Christmas.

Whose bright idea was it to put millions of  elves on the shelves in plain sight of every child who walks into the stores who participate?  And there are many.

didn't really get the Who's down in Whoville
didn’t really get the Who’s down in Whoville


Who forgot, in the quest for more sales and belief the real meaning of Christmas is the profit margin, about the kids whose elves came from Santa? The kids who love Christmas for all things Santa and his reindeer,  Frosty,  and every other bit of holiday magic and don’t care about, or even yet know about, your bottom line?

Did anyone in the retail marketing world think about the backlash of cashing in on Elf on the Shelf magic by placing displays of knock off, plastic, mass-produced (probably made in China), elves in plain sight of little kids who have magic elves of their own? The kids who know their elf reports to Santa every night ? Do they care?

I am going to go out on a limb and say; no, they didn’t and no, they could not care less as long as they are making money.

Now I know the Elf on the Shelf has gone from being cute to being ridiculed and I am aware it is highly debated although I am not sure why really.

I do think some grown-ups ought to pull their head out of their ass and remember being a child instead of being so bah humbug.  The magical wonder of Christmas, or whatever holiday it is you celebrate during this time of year, is one of the joys of childhood to be nurtured as long as possible.stocking3

Because being a grown up and losing that sense of wonder and magic during the holiday season and then feeling like it is your duty to save people from the “sham”  really sucks.  You suck.

Especially for the rest of us who believe in the magic, and wonder at the wonder of our children.

I even admit to laughing at some of the sillier pictures that swept the internet of the elves in various forms of debauchery, yes.  Why shouldn’t the kids at heart (you know, grown-ups who aren’t really) with elves expect them to act a little naughty?

I did not share them however, because you see, my kids have their own elf.

His name is Dexter and he came to our house Christmas of 2007.  He just showed up and he is soft and cute and we read the book, the rules, and the kids named him.

Every year since, Dexter has shown up the night after Thanksgiving and stayed until Santa picks him up on Christmas Eve.  Each night he reports to Santa whether the kids are naughty or nice and each morning he returns to the house and sits in a different spot to watch over us.  The kids jump out of bed in the morning to see who can find Dexter first.  They never, ever touch him because they know it will take his magic away.

My youngest kids are 10 and 7 and just can’t wait for Dexter’s arrival because it means the beginning of the holiday season.

It means the impending visit by Santa. It means they listen better, behave better and are even more aware of those in need and those not as lucky as they are to have all that they have, than ever.

That’s some pretty cool, and welcome magic I’d say.  Anyone who thinks different is probably not a parent or just has a stick up their… never mind.

pretty cool magic
pretty cool magic

Last week, completely unsuspecting I took my daughter to Target.  When we went to check out, I was shocked and dismayed to see at the end of nearly every lane, a display for the Elf on the Shelf.  With, of course, dozens of them, priced at the reasonable price of I don’t remember.  $29.99 I think, or WTF??? maybe.

Caught like a deer in the headlights I was.  What was happening here?  How had all these Elves made it to the shelves of retail stores frequented by children (with their parents) , with a price tag to BUY them so boldly displayed?

I hoped she wouldn’t see them.  Ha HA HA, how could she not?  They were everywhere.  She saw them, as has my son since, and my heart sank.

They both asked me how could Dexter be magic and real if you could buy an Elf on the Shelf and see them for sale in so many places.

I explained to them how Dexter is real and magic and how some greedy bastard decided to cash in on the Elf on the Shelf and make fake ones and sell them.

And they believe me but I see the bit of doubt in their eyes still.

I know that doubt will come naturally one day as they get older but you know what?  No one has the right to put it there, to make a sham out of the magic of the holidays for someone else’s child, for any child really.

Especially someone trying to make a buck without thinking about the consequences of their actions.

Target has them at the end of the check out lanes. Barnes and Noble has them in the children’s section. I can’t even count the number of elves I have seen for sale on the internet.

They are right out in plain sight, trying to lure parents into buying the knock off elves, trying to cash in on kids beliefs.

It is their lack of discretion, (for that is a most important thing in keeping alive the magic of Christmas as long as possible, is it not?), which tells me loud and clear, all the retailers care about, is money.

It also makes it clear that they don;t really get it. I am not really sure how taking the magic out of the Elf on the Shelf by adding a price tag to it would make them all that appealing anymore.  Are sales up? I hope not.

If they are that just makes me sad.  It means that people everywhere are losing sight of the magic and meaning of Christmas and valuing “things” and money more than anything, as well as teaching their own children the same.

I believe in Christmas.  The magic and the wonder.  Santa and elves and reindeer too.  I share and nurture these beliefs with my children and keep them believing as long as I can.  I know at some point they will doubt and then they will either never believe again, or they will come back to it after pondering awhile.

I don’t expect anyone else to live my beliefs, I don’t argue with people who challenge my beliefs, nor try to change their mind.  I certainly don’t ever spoil anything on purpose for a child, mine or anyone else’s, and I don’t think it is too much to ask for the same respect in return.

Oh wait, yes it is.  Anymore these days that is what is lacking.  Respect for our fellow-man and their beliefs.  Respect for our fellow-man as fellow humans.

Kindness, compassion and thoughtfulness of each other instead of commercialism, greed and ignorance.

Greed and thoughtlessness making the holiday season all about money and things and the quest for the best deal and biggest profit margin. Losing sight of the true magic, as well as ruining it for so many children by making them doubt way too early.  That is just the tip of the iceberg.

Yea, I think I maybe will change the name of this to The Really Stupid Shit I See.

First though I am going to wait til Dexter comes and see if he thinks Santa would be ok with the explicative.

I don’t want to end up on the naughty list.





5 thoughts on “Slightly Cracked Observations on…The Elf Shouldn’t be on the Shelf

  1. Lizzie, your children will believe your explanation I think. I know when mine were young and would come home and say that someone in their class said that Santa wasn’t real… and I simply said… they don’t believe he is so for them he isn’t real. You need to believe in Santa for him to be real… and they believed me and were satisfied. Maybe in their little hearts and minds there was a little question mark… but for a while longer they had their childhood Santa! Take heart… Diane

  2. I am so glad I no longer work in retail, in most ways. I was responsible for setting a large number of holiday displays. In that position I was able to make Thanksgiving last longer than the week of Hallowe’en. I loathe retailers at a cellular level.

    I should kick myself. I needed a coffee pot and a toaster oven yesterday. Because I was far too exhausted to buy them, I now have to wait until Saturday. I will never participate in “black Friday” or Thanksgiving shopping. Go home to your families and be thankful your job has some class. Retail never will.

  3. Lizzie,
    Believe it or not, all I can say is, “hear, hear!” Well, almost all….

    Well said, and far from cracked, in this case….a subject dear to my ranting heart, which I will refrain from pursuing, since you said it so well…

    Don’t let it spoil the season for you & your little ‘uns. As long as you believe in the magic, they’ll keep theirs, even after the disappointment we all have to experience eventually….

    The asininnies who only want our dollars sure do make it harder, though, don’t they? Buttheads, all of ’em, and I don’t care if Santa hears me or not…. I’ll take my lumps…

    Peaceful holidays, milady,



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