Originally posted December 2018, updated December 2020

Full swing, it’s Elf on the Shelf season, aka the Holidays. The usual vibe leans towards copious amounts of Pinterest worthy Elf posts. However, this year the vibe is leaning toward Elf hatred. Including passionate posts from parents who have never even delved into the Elf on the Shelf tradition. I’m here to say, quit hating on the Elf!

My household is on its 4th year with the Elf and I can honestly say that no where in the Elf on the Shelf books or movie does it state that you are obligated to participate any ridiculously over the top shenanigans to enjoy the Elf on the Shelf tradition. Let’s debunk some of the Elf on the Shelf myths.

MYTH: The Elf has to Make a Mess/Cause Mischief

I don’t know where this concept started but this is 100% not mandatory. I refuse to make a mess that I have to clean up. Therefore, our Elf has remained tidy and well behaved. I mean, he’s “watching” behavior so it’s counter intuitive that he would misbehave and make a mess. My kids don’t really know any different because they don’t have an expectation other than our elfin friend likes to hide in random places.

If this kind of “elfing” is right up your alley, then you’ll love these pre-done elf kits that take the guesswork and messes out of the daily elf shenanigans!

MYTH: They are Disturbing Peeping Toms

I’ve heard people complain about how terrifying this Elf must be for children because parents are telling them, “The elf is watching you.” or “He knows when you’ve been sleeping, he knows when you’re awake.” Listen, parents have been using “Santa is watching” to make it through December since the beginning of time. No one grew up any less adjusted than they would have been because of that little white lie. We had way bigger influences on our psyche. These kids will be just fine. If you make it creepy it will be. 

MYTH: It’s So Much Parenting Pressure

Pressure? From who? I’ve never seen one parent tell another, “that’s what your Elf did? Lame!” or anything of the sort. Parents, no one is competing, no one wins anything except memories with their kids. There’s no Elf Patrol out there to tell you aren’t doing it right. It’s just you and whatever your own head is telling you. Even when we miss moving our Elf one day, he’s just being silly and seeing if anyone notices! Boom, crisis averted.

The Point

It’s a tradition we adopted in our house. We love it. Each year my kids are inching closer to no longer believing in magic. If I can give them just one more moment of magic during this very short season of childhood, I’m going to do it. Some days we are super creative but most days, Elfie (super original, I know) just sits on a new shelf. Nothing crazy, just moves around the house. Every morning, my kids get immensely excited to look for Elfie and love seeing what silly place he’s landed. Those memories are the only point. Before long we will say goodbye to the elf for another year. Drama over.

Every house has a different way of celebrating their traditions. In my humble opinion, someone else’s tradition really shouldn’t elicit hatred just because it’s not one you partake in. Give the Elf on the Shelf a break, quit hating on the Elf!

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A Florida native, Chenoa is originally from Miami but has been living in Maitland for 22 years with a short 2-year break where she lived in (and fell in love with) Raleigh, NC. She's part "adopted Southern charm" with a streak of feisty Miami girl! She's Mom to two strong-willed, preemie babies, a 25 weeker and a 35 weeker, who now are thriving big kids (6yr old girl and 3yr old boy). They have led to a hot mess parenting style that's fueled by coffee to get through the day and wine to try and soothe the nerves at night. She's married to her college sweetheart who she met at the University of Central Florida (GO KNIGHTS) while studying English-Creative Writing and the fine art of Greek life. She's a DIY junkie who loves Fixer Upper (of course), loves reading, cooking and writing. When out and about with her husband, sans kids, she loves eating at new local places around Winter Park, enjoying coffee from a favorite local coffee shop or enjoying a date night at Eden Bar in Maitland. Her adventures through motherhood have included recently transitioning from full-time working Mom to stay-at-home Mom, raising a sassy, hilarious little girl and helping her silly little guy navigate some developmental delays that have challenged her to slow down and let him guide her way. She hasn't lost hope that she can control all the things that parenting brings and her kids haven't given up trying to prove her wrong. Her husband is the Helicopter Parent to her Free Range which is the perfect topping to the chaos of everyday life! She frequents social media and uses her Instagram to document the fleeting moments of "put-togetherness" that occasionally happen by accident...sometimes.


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