Fred is back.
No, not the dog…
Fred is our Elf.
He sits on the shelf (or in the tree, or behind a frame, or on the clock, etc., etc.) and he’s always watching. Quietly taking note of how we’re all behaving, and giving Santa a daily report as we sleep each night.
Joey, who is six and my oldest, was a bit skeptical of Fred, our Elf on the Shelf…that is until I showed him some YouTube videos documenting the Elf moving around a house when no one was watching.
The internet, where everything is true, made him a believer.
Now, Joey seems to minds his manners just a little better, and when he does slip up, his eyes move right to the elf…
And Fred is watching.
He is always watching.
Now Jacob, who is four, did not need nearly as much convincing as his older brother.
Jake was an instant believer. Poor kid was intrigued yet slightly worried about the appearance and constant supervision of Fred.
“Mom? How is Fred moving around?”
“Mom? Does Fred tell Santa every time I’m bad…and good?”
“Mom? How far back does Fred count? Like does he know if I was bad before last Christmas?”
In particular, Jake I’m sure is thinking about the time I caught him, just before Christmas, walking across the kitchen table. When I told him that I was certain that I saw an elf running through the yard, surely on his way to report his misbehavior to Santa, Jake scowled and said, “Well, if that elf tattles on me to Santa, then he’s a real asshole.”
Poor Jake is worried Fred knows he called that elf, who was also a tattletale, an asshole.
Joey wakes and comes down each morning eager and excited to see if Fred the Elf has found a new hiding spot.
Jake, on the other hand, cautiously enters the family room, peering to the left, then to the right, and back again.
At night he asks if Fred will come in his room and watch him sleep, and during the day, when he has been misbehaving he quickly locates and stares down Fred.
This leads me to think they should add the following warning on the Elf on the Shelf box:
“WARNING: Elf on the Shelf may cause paranoia, feelings of dread, anxiety, and/or nightmares in toddlers and young children. Showing your kids Youtube videos of the Elf on the Shelf moving around in a house while no one is looking may increase these effects in some (guilty) children.“
Today, after getting into trouble for messing with the Christmas tree for the 900th time, Jake, was put in time out.
As he sat there, sulking and glaring at Fred for the full ten minutes he was stuck in the chair.
“Jake, before I tell you to get up, did you think about what you did wrong? You broke another ornament, and you could have gotten glass in your foot. Besides that, at this rate, we won’t have any decorations left on the tree if you don’t stop touching and breaking them.” I warned Jake.
“I didn’t think about that at all, Mom. I thought about how much I hate that stupid elf.” he grunted.
So for some kids, like Joey, the Elf on the Shelf is a reminder to be good for goodness sake.
For other kids, like Jake, that Elf is just some asshole trying to get him in trouble with Santa.
Do you have an Elf on the Shelf or some other mechanism to keep your kids in line during the Holidays? If so, do tell, do tell! Clearly, Jake needs an alternative.
UPDATE: In 2012 Fred disappeared under mysterious circumstances. It was then a new helper was brought in – The Troll from the Pole, A Holiday Tradition for Naughtier Children