Wednesday, December 4, 2013

That Time I Messed Up Elf on the Shelf

Well, I did it.

I got an Elf on the Shelf.

The only reason I got the thing was because it was super cheap on Amazon and because I knew my daughter would love it.

I took it out of the box yesterday. I immediately did not appreciate the way it was staring at me. Or not staring. Where was it even looking? And why were the hands sewn together? The first thing I thought was, "Because it's evil."

I wasn't sure if I was supposed to cut the arms apart? There were no instructions. It felt odd to have arms pressed together so I got some scissors and cut them free. I think the elf was appreciative. Only I'm not sure because I don't know what it's looking at.

Natalie knew the elf was coming. I wasn't even sure if I was supposed to tell her that. But I did so she was excited when I picked her up from school.

"Is my elf at home? What's it doing? Is it excited to play with me? WHAT OUTFIT IS IT WEARING?" Natalie couldn't contain herself. She hopped from one foot to the other and then took off running.

"Natalie! Mommy....Mommy can't breathe!" I gasped as I chased after her.

Natalie burst through the door and I expected her to shout, "I LOVE HER!" but instead she fell silent as she gazed at her new friend. I wanted to say, "I know, the eyes are weird," but I swallowed it back.

"Go say hello," I pressed.

"I thought she'd be alive! I still like her but I thought she'd be moving like the mom and dad on Little People, Big World," Natalie admitted.

Oh. She thought we'd have a little person dressed like an elf staying in our home. I suppose I should have explained it better.

"She's cute and tiny," Natalie continued and scooped her up.

Tommy's expression is basically what my face looks like whenever I'm around the elf.

Tommy, by the way, still believes in Santa. He's starting to ask questions though. So when I told him about the elf he kept saying, "That's not possible. And where are its feet?" Then he picked it up and pressed it against his face, hoping he would discover the secrets.

"I don't think this small thing can be real," Tommy said into the body.

"She is! Mommy, what's her name?" Natalie wanted to know.

Um. Crap. I had to come up with something, otherwise the kids would suspect.

"Meredith," I answered only because I had just finished watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy. And also, I wasn't about to name it something cutesy like Sparkles or Glitter or No Feet. I already had to deal with the thing until Christmas, at least it had to be called something respectable.

"Meredith," Natalie repeated. "HI MEREDITH!" she bellowed into its face. Had a little person come to stay with us as Natalie had hoped, she'd have turned around and left at that point, I'm sure.

I grabbed the book that came with the elf. "Let's read all about her, okay?"

"This can't be possible," Tommy insisted. "And where are her feet?"

"In her red suit," I explained.

"It doesn't even FEEL like feet," Tommy said, squeezing.

"She's tiny. You can't feel them. Now," I said, opening the book. I began to read. Natalie popped her thumb into her mouth as she balanced Meredith on her lap.

And then we came to this part:

"Shit!" I shouted after I read it. "We aren't supposed to touch her!"

Natalie's mouth dropped open. "You said an unfriendly word. If you were at school, you'd be on orange and get negative points on Class Dojo. Plus, I love Meredith!" She hugged her close. "She's going to sleep with me."


"She can't. She goes to the North Pole every night to tell Santa how you're behaving," I said, prying Meredith away from Natalie.

"That can't be," Tommy muttered.

"She'll be someplace new everyday. Or close to every day. Sometimes she'll get tired from traveling," I continued. I said that in case I ever forget to move her. This might happen several times. It's not like I sit around going, "Where can I move the elf today?" like a lot of people on Pinterest seem to do.

Anyway, Natalie seemed to understand that she couldn't touch Meredith anymore although I think we're going to be lax about that. Meredith is super powerful so you CAN touch her now and again. She's not a work of art for God's sake, she's a creepy elf.

I remembered to move her, too. Actually, I forgot at first but as I got into bed Tom went, "Did you move that elf thing? I still don't get what the point is."

I rushed downstairs and placed Meredith in a stocking.

It's not my favorite thing in the world. But when I saw Natalie's excited face as she woke up wondering where Meredith would be, I thought, "Okay, MAYBE this is worth it.."

But I'll never be one of the creative parents.

Meredith is going to simply roam around the house. She doesn't leave letters or leave crafts behind.

She chills.

She's Meredith the Relaxed and sometimes you can touch Elf.


  1. last year i saw a blog devoted to the randomness you could do with the elf on the shelf. my cousin has 3 (for 3 kids) and she put some kind of wire in it to mold the arms and legs.

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  3. OH - thank you so much for sharing this today. I was dying laughing while reading - especially the shit and "unfriendly" word thing!!! And Tommy saying "this can't be" - I'm right there with him!! That elf is creepy and I'm happy that we never got one because I would have totally sucked at doing things with it/him/her. But like you said - sometimes the expressions on kids faces make it worth it.

  4. I'm with Tom. I really don't get the point. And yes, they're super creepy looking!

  5. Haha as soon as I read about her touching it I was like NOOOOOOO!!!!! LOL! I also thought it was weird the hands were sewn together so I cut ours apart too! The eyes are super creepy and I have no idea what they are supposed to be looking at either. My mom bought a girl elf a few weeks ago for us so now I have to make up some story about how he got married over the summer. Good luck with Meridith!!!

  6. So funny! I wish I was the person who thought up this gimmick. They are probably rich by now! My grown niece is really into this - she hides that elf every night and her kids love it. She even makes the elf get into trouble - like "tp-ing" the bathroom, etc. Her kids love it!

  7. I think this might be my favorite "Elf" post that I've ever EVER read. I was laughing so hard I was crying...and I picked up the phone, called Ashley, and read her the entire post over the phone. I love it all so much I can't even pick my favorite part. (But the name Meredith and how she got it...or the "no feet" or...)I just love it all. SO FUNNY!! --Lisa

  8. I know nothing about the Elf. I never heard about it until the last few years, actually. And then I heard the random crap it does, and what for. I still don't get the point, but I do get the point on one evil level.

    Someone decided... after her daughter went to bed that the Elf would decorate the christmas tree with her daughter's underwear. Just throw random underwear all over the tree. Then blame the Elf. Can you picture the daughter's face on that one? Must have been priceless. She made that Elf mischevious... not the kind that leaves crafts behind or poops glitter. Who has time to do crafts during the holidays anyway?! If you have to do something, do something easy like the underwear thing. That makes the kids look very good compared to the Elf. Looks better in Santas eyes than the Elf.

  9. Hide all the chocolate in the house and say the Elf stole it. TP the bathroom. Draw a message on the bathroom mirror with shaving cream or whipping cream. Little things like that, that is easy to clean up or easy to remove, costs nothing and requires no crafting expertise. The Elf did all that weird stuff.

  10. I laughed out loud at this! Thanks for the great story. I also think those little elves are super-creepy; I could never have one in my house!!!

    Stopping by from SITS!

  11. I am dying over here...I'm at work and all I want to do is burst out laughing, but I can't. Clearly, I forgot my self-imposed rule of not reading your blow while I'm at work.

    I'm glad that Natalie loves Meredith the Elf.

  12. Those elves are super creepy! So far my kids don't know about the elf tradition and I'm hoping they never ask for it. I'm pretty sure it will try to kill me in my sleep.

  13. Oh my gosh. This story is awesome. I can't believe she actually thought a little person was coming to visit. That is both amusing and horrible at the same time! I just got my elf on Monday. We don't have kids but the Husband and I are having fun hiding it for each other. It's simple and fun. Thank goodness for Pinterest to give me ideas!
    Best Wishes,
    Miranda Pridgeon
    Hurry Up and Wait

  14. This is one of the reasons why I like reading your blog. You have such a way with writing and writing about your life and the kids. I love the personalities of each of your kids. I wish I had the money to pick up your book The Swimmer's Assistant as well as a Kindle to be able to read it. Anyhow as always I enjoy reading you and have been a long time fan of yours for several years now. This whole Elf story is just cute. and your kids are adorable.

    Please do not stop writing in your blog Amber :)

    From a long long time fan and blog reader of yours for several years, from Canada

  15. Oh, I'm cracking up!

    That elf is super creepy. I like the idea of a relaxed elf though.

  16. Those Elves creep me out too much. No thanks! :) Kudos for giving it a shot! You are much more brave than I.

  17. Actually, I think you are doing the elf thing just right! I want no part of all the crazy Pinterest-inspired elf shenanigans on the internet. My children make enough messes, I do not need an elf to make it worse!! Bobby, our elf, just chills too.

    PS I made a calendar of all the places he's going to hang out so I wouldn't stress so much about thinking of new places to stick him. I think I am going to put the locations on a google calendar so I can re-use them next year!

  18. Well, this was my entertainment for the day. I must have burst out laughing seven times.
    To Meredith!!

  19. Wow. You're right. Creepy. The way it just stares with sewn together hands. Nope, not for me. But I sure enjoyed reading about your experience lol.

  20. Oh my gosh. I love this. Especially since my name is Meredith. I'm going to tell myself you named her after me, not Meredith Grey. :) And, our elf totally roams and does nothing special. His name is Peter. So funny! Thanks for the laugh.

  21. Hahaha, oh my goodness...this is funny. I find Elf on a Shelf particularly unnerving. I think it's creepy. Just sayin'

  22. LOL this post was hilarious! I thought of getting one for y kids (4 and 2), but you're right - they are creepy. That's exactly why I haven't gotten around to it yet. *SIGH* I busted out laughing when you named it Meredith. You did a good job at answering your kids' questions!

    Gracielle from

  23. Oh my gosh, when I saw the photos of the kids holding the elf, I almost yelled "they're not supposed to touch it!" Who makes up these rules anyway? I've already forgotten to move ours once. Luckily I remembered tonight. Thanks! :)

  24. I may be the only one but I love elf. I'll let you in on a secret. We don't plan where the elf moves, most of us are doing the half asleep-Oh shit!- thing too! My kids are crazy so the elf has to be crazy to get to their level :) I think the kids enthusiasm is best. I live for that excitement :)

    1. Same!!! My kids live for it! For 30 days my kids actually wake up early for school and I'm not dragging them out the beds dragging covers with them ugh! I love doing the fun things even thou it's exhausting and sometimes stressful when u forget and run down the stairs in the morning before them haha I won't lie the 2nd day they woke up "elf was still in the same spot as yesterday mommy what's wrong" I felt like scum I quickly made a mess of chocolate "elf poop" in the bathroom and a bunch of spilled candy so now they think it's a trick! Not to mention now they want something more on their level everyday so that's getting exhausting and fun sometimes to think of creative ways but yes they do loook creepy lol my mom said it was the devil and put it on my neighbors doorknob 😂 we found out later that they're Jewish - and how crazy it was some rando put the elf on their door! Haha my mom just wanted it gone

  25. Sorry, not happening in this house. That thing is beyond creepy!!!! No one tell Bella, OK???

  26. I call our elf a "hide and seek" elf because I just hide it for my boys to find. Sometimes it's super easy to find, though, because it stays in the same spot for DAYS :)

  27. both Grandmas asked me if they could buy an elf for my kids.

    Pretty sure the entire world could hear me NNNOOOO reply.

    they said they would do it anyways, so I said fine "ZooZoo can take it to school and ALL THE HANDS WILL TOUCH!"

    back to the North you go little devil.... I mean, elf.

    But I do appreciate seeing other people's fun and creative elf antics. just not as it applies to myself.

  28. Wonderful Design Blogs, Such a great list. Thanks for sharing all these blogs all are very useful to every one.. blow dazzel

  29. Yeah, I'm not a fan of that elf thing person creature thing either and glad my kids have not asked me for one - but I know it is only a matter of time.

  30. I love your retelling of everyone's reaction to the Elf!! And that your particular Elf is more relaxed than many. ha! Visiting from the SITS Sharefest today!

  31. I love the way you tell stories. I had to read your version of getting an elf. On my facebook page I have collected links to any elf setting I have found.
    Each year there is an online competition called the Inappropriate Elf photo contest. Hilarious!

  32. We got our elf last year. I named him Carl because I couldnt deal with the cute names either. 😂

  33. I have enough on the shelf and it’s not that creepy It may be my mom get 10 of them because then you’ll have a big mess in your house and if you’re you bring your butt on your kids just make the kids say that was the elf.

  34. It’s my birthday


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