Image: Rural King.

Pain in the Ass on the Shelf

Last night, I sat up in bed from a dead sleep with one thought running through my head:

Fuck. I didn’t move Snowball.

I recognize that sentence is one not often uttered in bed, but that’s what happens when you have an Elf on the Shelf.

If you aren’t familiar with Elf on the Shelf, it’s basically this: an ugly doll with a creepy shit-eating grin, which you have to move around your house every night and put into hilarious situations, all in an effort to convince your children it’s magical and moves about playing pranks as they sleep.

My kids wake up each morning excited to see what kinds of shenanigans Snowball has gotten into. And with each one of their smiles or laughs, I thank God we’re one day closer to this stupid-ass thing’s spending the next eleven months in a drawer somewhere.

I can’t be the only one who hates the Elf on a Shelf, can I? It’s exhausting not only trying to remember to move Snowball to a new location every night, but also coming up with something creative for her to do.

Two nights ago Snowball was hanging from an umbrella on the steps, and she would have spent another night doing the same had I not awoken and realized I needed to sneak downstairs and move her.

Yes, when you have an Elf on the Shelf, you find yourself tip-toeing downstairs in your hole-ridden boxer shorts, with your own snowballs hanging out, trying to figure out what to do at 1:00 a.m. In this case, I just stuck her between two pieces of bread on the cupboard and made her look like a sandwich because I was too tired to give a shit. And I also really wanted a sandwich.

Meanwhile, if you search Pinterest and the like for “Elf on the Shelf ideas,” you’ll find people who roll out all the stops each and every night — as if their ability to utilize Elf on the Shelf creatively is directly correlated to how much they love their children.

Shit, most nights I can’t even get my kids to stay in bed. You think I have the energy to construct Lego towers for Snowball to sleep in? So far this month I’ve already spent more time each day trying to figure out what to do with Snowball than I spend exercising. That can’t be a good thing.

But perhaps the worst part of Elf on the Shelf is it complicates what is already the single biggest cooperative lie known to man: Santa Claus.

My children are six and four, and my six-year-old is already asking questions that make me think he is picking up on the fact that Santa isn’t real. The kid is smart.

We spent an entire childhood trying to convince him there’s no such thing as monsters, yet we expect him to believe that a portly man who lives in a sub-zero climate uses an army of elves to construct gifts for 7.125 billion people and then delivers those gifts over the course of one evening using the power of a flying deer with a radioactive nose? Honestly, it’s easier to believe there’s a boogie man in your closet than this Santa shit.

And now, on top of that doozy, we add a creepy doll who does nothing all day and then waits until kids fall asleep to position herself as though she’s fishing for Goldfish crackers in the toilet or playing a game of Euchre with Barbie and Ken.

Oh, and if you touch her, she’ll die. Or you can’t let her eat after midnight. Wait, I think that last one was from Gremlins.

Funnier yet, you can’t walk into a store without seeing boxes and boxes of Elves on the Shelves. Are my children to believe these magical elves live in cardboard tombs at Wal-Mart until you buy them, take them home, and release their magic? That the elf stays at our house all December-long before returning to the North Pole to be with Santa?

The truth is the elf spends eleven months a year in the cupboard above the refrigerator next to some lightbulbs and a tub of protein that expired four years ago.

All that said, a part of me enjoys seeing my children excited about Santa and that damn elf, so the hassle is worth it. But will I miss Elf on the Shelf when the holidays are over?

Not a Snowball’s chance in hell.

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