What’s with these F**king Magic Spying Elves?

Via Neil Sattin
on Dec 16, 2010
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Lovely Creepy Elf

The Joy of Terrorizing Your Kids for Christmas

Listen up, kids: there’s a peculiar tradition that’s been making the rounds for a number of years.  You might have heard of it:  The Elf on a Shelf.  These elves perch in conspicuous locations around your house and watch you, to see whether you are being “bad” or “good.”  And of course these elf spies report directly back to Santa Claus.

Let’s face it, Santa can’t keep an eye on everyone, and he certainly can’t trust your parents to make an honest report.  Seriously – what parent is going to tell Santa what a hellion little Charlie is?  If there are no presents under that tree, who do you think would be paying for it for the rest of the year (if not the rest of their lives)?  That’s right – your parents.  They could not be relied upon for a truthful accounting of your behavior.  The task falls to the magic elves.

The Insanity Does Not Stop There

Wait, there’s more!  If you happen to touch a magic elf, the elf loses their magic powers.  Then, not only are you stuck with another mouth to feed at the Christmas table, stealing bites of your pumpkin pie, but the elf also has no way to get back to Santa to make a report.  And guess what – no report, no presents!

I know this to be true, because I actually touched an elf once, and then I stopped getting presents from Santa.  My parents tried to tell me that it was because I was Jewish, but I know the truth.  One year Santa brings me an x-wing fighter – and the next…nothing!  I don’t get it – it wasn’t even my elf!  It was at a friend’s house!

Fortunately for them, the elf realized who had touched it.  And that’s who paid the price.

Look, kids, this whole magic spying elf thing is clearly a case of “the magic of Christmas” gone horribly awry.  You don’t want one of those things in your house.  Here’s what you need to tell your parents:

Mom, Dad – do you want me to make decisions in life because I’m afraid of the consequences, or because I’m allowed to learn the difference between right and wrong?  Do you want me to risk having self-defeating inner beliefs about making mistakes, or my intrinsic self-worth, or my ability to make good decisions?  Is it really worth the potential years of psychotherapy?   Would you like me to just obey you blindly because those little fuckers are watching me, or because we’ve worked out a foundation of age-appropriate love, respect, and responsibility?

Ask your parents that, and see what they say.

Kids, at this point in my life, with two little pixies of my own (ages 2 and 4), I can certainly understand how your parents might want a little peace and quiet, or to restore some order to their baby-overrun universe.  So do you think you can manage to help them out from the goodness of your heart, without their having to terrorize you with a little elf spy?!?!

A Direct Message to Parents Who Are Considering Adding an Elf to the Family

There is enough magic in the world of a child.  Their everyday life is full of it.  Wonder at the changing of the seasons, the puddles on the ground, the curious habits of their pets and parents.  Our very existence is enough to spawn some pretty convincing magical thinking.

So tell me – why we need these little spies again?  Why we can’t accept that the best way to instruct a child is through example, not intimidation?  Why do we need a shortcut that keeps our kids looking over their shoulders, wondering if the magic elf might decide that they’ve been bad?  Why do we even want to risk that our children might associate the word “bad” with themselves?

There will be no magic spying elves in our house.  You can’t convince me.  They’re creepy.

P.S.  I’ve been informed by the 50,000 (seriously!) Facebook fans of Elf on a Shelf that it’s actually really cool and fun to have one of these little spies in your house.  I’m not convinced.

P.P.S.  Wait a minute…my wife informs me that Santa doesn’t even exist.  What!?!?


About Neil Sattin

Neil Sattin is a father, husband, educator, dog trainer, coach, musician, friend and physical comedian. Neil is also one of the nation's leading experts in Natural Dog Training, a method that utilizes a dog's emotional awareness of the world to resolve problem behaviors and elicit obedience. He is the author and creator of the Natural Dog Blog. In 2009 he released a 2 DVD set, Natural Dog Training: The Fundmentals. Neil also recently published the online course "How to Speak So Your Dog Will Listen" in partnership with DailyOM. A member of the founding coaching certification class of the Robbins-Madanes Center for Strategic Intervention, he also coaches and writes about relationships and personal development at his eponymous site.


6 Responses to “What’s with these F**king Magic Spying Elves?”

  1. Emily says:

    Huzzah! What a thoroughly disgusting tradition. Very Foucauldian. Does the shiny new version involve plastic elves with tiny webcams?

    Santa is the subject of great fascination in our house currently. However, D seems to believe that Santa comes down your chimney in order to eat sweets and beverages you've left out and in return he leaves you a bag of M&Ms. Honestly, it seems like Santa is getting the better end of things in our version.

  2. naturaldogblog says:

    Ooh, webcams! That's brilliant! Santa definitely gets all the glory, especially after the magic elf has done his/her job for the year.

  3. Christine says:

    I've never heard of this tradition but then, I'm not a fan of Christmas and I certainly would NEVER lie to my child (or any child for that matter). I do, however, believe in Everyday Magic. Wish I'd been more aware of it when my son was growing up, we both could have used a healthy dose!♥

  4. elephantjournal says:

    Haven't heard of this, either. Is this a real thing that people do? ~ Waylon

  5. naturaldogblog says:

    Yes, Waylon – they do! Check out: http://www.elfontheshelf.com/

    52,000 Facebook friends strong!

  6. chakras yoga says:

    I put one out for my son this year and he looked at it and said "I don't know about this. Something tells me its just a plastic toy"

    no fooling him!