Elf on the Shelf Sucks

At the risk of angering and alienating some of my readers, I am just going to come out and say what’s been on my mind these past two Christmases: I hate Elf on the Shelf.  I really do.  For those of you unfamiliar with this creepy thing, I’m including a picture.

Scary, right?

Scary, right?

I don’t know what the “rules” are, but apparently, parents hide him (and this year I’ve noticed a “her”) each night somewhere in the house, putting him into positions where he’s getting into some sort of mischief.  The children wake up to find him doing something naughty like stealing cookies from the jar or making a mess of the toilet paper, etc.  The mischievousness alone is enough for me to dislike him!  Santa wants us to be good all year, and here’s a representative for him doing everything any child wants to do, but refrains from doing in order to get a gift from Santa.  Talk about a bad role model.

Furthermore, Elf on a Shelf is practically sold everywhere!  It’s definitely at Target prominently sitting in its little red box at the checkout line.  This little elf is supposed to be magical, and I assume, sent from Santa.   Any kid who’s not blind can see that the elf can be purchased at the store, so when it magically shows up one morning in their house, isn’t it pretty obvious that Mommy or Daddy bought an elf?!  Maybe that’s the whole point.  Maybe it’s marketed to explain why a poor, ill-behaved elf is packaged in a box to be brought home during the Christmas season.  But if not, way to raise suspicions and doubts over the reality of Santa, parents!

However, my primary reason for hating Elf on a Shelf is because my parents (Santa) did something very similar, but way more awesome, when I was a kid!  I present to you, The Elf Bear!!

Way cuter than that bobble headed freak!

Way cuter than that bobble headed freak!

See how cute he is in his little elf outfit?  And in case you didn’t notice, those are bulb ornaments by his head, so he’s tiny; just my style!  In any case, the tradition went thusly: We’d buy a Christmas tree and decorate it.  The following morning, we’d wake up to find The Elf Bear sitting in the top branches of our tree!  Santa sent him to watch over us during the day to make sure we were behaving, and he’d report our activities to Santa at night, where he’d choose a new place in the house to hide.  His hiding places were always amazing!  He’d defeat gravity by chilling in the upper ceiling corner of the living room, or remaining precariously seated atop a thin picture frame hung high on the wall.  That little dude just exuded magic!!  Plus, he kept my brothers and me in check.

I can’t tell you how many times in my childhood I’d be pounding on my brothers, only to notice The Elf Bear staring down at me, stopping my fists in mid-air.  And conversely, by taunting my brothers, then running into the room that The Elf Bear was residing, I was spared many a bruise, as they didn’t dare sock me in front of him.  I’ve gotta hand it to my parents.  It was a brilliant way to keep us somewhat peaceful, while adding to the magic of Christmastime.

Santa left us one rule to The Elf Bear.  We were not to touch him, or he’d disappear.  (Smart move, Mom and Dad; I’m sure it took some mighty MacGyverying to get him in those crazy locations, and one touch might have brought him crashing down.)  In any case, one day when I was older and becoming more curious, I noticed The Elf Bear in a location that could be reached if I stood atop the piano bench.  I was a sucker for teddy bears and tiny things, and he looked so soft, that I just wanted to give him a quick pet on his little nosey.  I knew that touching him would risk his disappearance, but I felt it would be worth it.  Who cared if my brothers missed out on seeing him everyday?  So, I stood on the bench, reached my arm and pointer finger over, and felt the softest bear fur anyone could ever have the pleasure of feeling!  And to make it even better, he didn’t disappear!  I knew I had done wrong, and worried everyday that Santa wouldn’t bring me a gift, but sure enough, I got everything I wanted on Christmas Day!  I figured it was due to me profusely apologizing to The Elf Bear each day until Christmas, and so I never tested that luck again.

When my brothers and I got older, and the magic of Santa was dead, I confessed to them that I had once touched The Elf Bear.  They were appalled!  Like, literally, very upset that I had broken the rule. (And they expressed this anger by mockingly, yet still somewhat painfully, beating me up while chanting, “She touched The Elf Bear!”)  I, on the other hand, was shocked that they had never tried it themselves.  I considered myself the goody-goody of the bunch, but apparently, I crossed the line that should never be crossed.

So anyway, in comparison to my family’s elf, and for all the aforementioned reasons, I truly despise The Elf on the Shelf.  I’m sure many kids are getting quite the enjoyment out of seeing its frightening smile each morning, but I for one, am glad my parents gave my brothers and me something much more special.  Thanks, Mommy and Daddy!

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Running Over Robert

I’ve kept a secret from my parents for 10 years:  I ran over my brother with the family car.  But don’t worry, Mommy, he survived.

One summer, when I was home from college, I was out running errands with my two younger brothers Robert and Kevin.  Being the eldest child, I took over the driver’s seat for the entire summer.  As with most days, we were going to be hanging out with Kevin’s best friend Danny, but he needed to be picked up.  Robert requested that he be dropped off at home first, so that he could do whatever it was he needed to do before we all went out for the night.

Robert was sitting in the back seat behind me, and as we turned down our street, one of us came up with the brilliant idea of me bringing the car to a slow roll, and Robert jumping out of the moving vehicle a la Indiana Jones style.  I think, in our heads, we all imagined this perfect tuck and roll while Kevin and I continued driving off.  Of course, we were all on board with this plan, so as I approached the house, I brought our little maroon ’88 Toyota Corolla to a snail paced roll.  As Robert opened the car door and watched the ground moving beneath him, he must have had second thoughts, ‘cause as he exited the vehicle and Kevin and I began to laugh and cheer, I suddenly realized that he was still holding on to the door.  I gently pressed the brakes a little more firmly and urged him to let go!  He quickly released his grip from the car, took a few running steps up and onto the curb, and Kevin and I gleefully cheered as we prepared to drive away.  Success!

Except, instead of going into the house, Robert seemed to be walking around, disoriented, and then he took a seat onto our front lawn, legs sprawled out in front of him.  I think he smiled and gave us some sign of reassurance, like a victorious fist pump, but the dude was sitting on the grass, and I knew something wasn’t right, so I quickly pulled into our driveway.  As I parked, Robert went from sitting, to laying out spread eagle on the lawn.  Kevin and I jumped out of the car, and hovered over our brother, whose eyes were rolling into the back of his head while his eyelids fluttered.  I don’t know that I’ve ever been so scared in my life!  We kept calling his name and gently poking him until he became conscious.  When he came to (which was probably less than 30 seconds, but felt like 30 minutes) he informed us that his foot had been run over.  We were shocked to discover this as we felt no bump in the car, but sure enough, there were asphalt and tire tracks on his shoe.

Together, Kevin and I helped him hobble into the house where we laid him on the family room couch.  We got him some ibuprofen and an ice pack, and then debated what to do next.  His toes had just been crushed by the Toyota’s rear tire, and we had just witnessed him pass out in our front yard, so needless to say, I was freaked, and wanted nothing more than to take him to the doctor, but Robert kept reassuring us that he was fine.  Stubbornness is a strong trait among us Schatz kids, and Robert held strong, convincing us that he was okay.  When I saw that he could wiggle his toes and no bruising or swelling had occurred, I reluctantly backed off.  Robert insisted that it was just the shock of being run over that knocked him out, and that we should leave him to go pick up Danny.

I was worried to leave him alone, fearful that he’d pass out again with no one home to wake him back up.  Kevin and I were seriously terrified that we’d come back home to a dead brother!  Or, an equally worse scenario (to my adolescent mind):  I knew that our mom would be home from work soon, and I worried that she’d come home to find Robert passed out on the couch, and then I’d be in deep donkey doo-doo.

So Kevin and I stayed home long enough with Robert to feel confident that he’d remain conscious and be up and walking within a few minutes.  We unanimously agreed that this little adventure of ours must be kept secret no matter what.  Well, as long as Robert remained healthy.  If his toes started swelling or he passed out again, then we’d fess up, but why risk getting yelled at and getting our car privileges taken away if Robert was A-Okay?

And he was.  A-Okay, I mean.  Kevin and I got Danny and we continued on with our night as if nothing ever happened.  None of us ever tried jumping out of the car again, and we never told our parents…until now.

I hope I don’t get grounded.

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