As we settle into our winter break routines and our sights shift toward celebrating the holidays, chances are that we’re all channeling our inner “Buddy the Elf” to get into the spirit. When our generation was younger, the promise of Santa and Rudolph were enough to keep us on our toes during the month of December. Just a few short years later, there’s a new Christmas toy in town: the Elf on the Shelf.
“Scout elves” are adopted by families to watch the children 24/7 and report back to Santa in an effort to help him manage his naughty and nice lists. They’re marketed toward parents and children as a “tradition”, but definitely haven’t earned the clout that other Christmas classics have, such as abominable snowman and leg-lamps.
For starters, these elves look creepy. They’re moved around the house by parents (children aren’t allowed to touch them) and serve as a sort of household bully from the eve of Thanksgiving through Christmas. The Elf on the Shelf is an empty threat, because chances are that Santa and/or parents are still going to give their children presents come December 25th regardless of what the Elf does, sees, or “reports”.
Children look to their parents for the truth, and while Santa encourages imagination, the Elf on the Shelf takes it just one step too far. Since our generation just missed the boat on this one (and maybe for the better), here’s a little glimpse at what the Elf on the Shelf for twenty-somethings would look like.
He’d give us the gift of extra time to study (and maybe even write a few papers for us!). We wouldn’t have to stress about cramming for final exams or pulling all-nighters to finish term papers, because the Elf would always have our back and be there ready to pick up our slack. When we got tired of studying or needed a little midday pick-me-up during our daily routine, the Elf would drop whatever he was doing to get us our caffeine fix as soon as possible. He’d know our coffee order by heart and would never let us worry about paying him back. In addition to coffee, he’d have home-cooked meals waiting for us at the end of the long days of studying. In short, no more Ramen noodles!
While we were busy tying up loose ends at school before heading home, the Elf would do all of our holiday shopping. All we’d have to do would be to give him a list, and he’d do the leg work! No more standing in lines, backordering items from Amazon, or spending absurd amounts of money on shipping. He’d also do all of our laundry—and, just like Mom, he’d even iron and separate whites and colors. No more re-wearing those jeans for the fifth time in a week or buying cheap underwear just to avoid having to find time to wash your clothes.
Finally, the Elf would provide us with some extra cash, a weekly allowance, if you will. We wouldn’t have to worry a bit about paying for all of those “see ya next year” brunches and dinners or those fun seasonal items calling our names. Essentially, the “Elf on the Shelf” would be our personal assistant. He’d take care of the logistics of life around the holidays—the planning, cleaning, organizing, and the scheduling—and make sure every detail was perfectly in place, so all that we’d have to do is show up. But half the fun of the holidays is the chaos, right?
Happy holidays, from all the elves at Unwritten!