Sunday, December 1, 2013

Just Too Much

We put up our Christmas tree and about 90% of the decorations in the house today.  I had only intended to deal with the tree today, but once I got going and was digging around in the boxes in the basement anyway it just made sense to bring them all upstairs.  I am sorry to say that the thought "let's just get this all over with at once" skidded through my head a time or two, which is a lousy attitude but there it is.  One less thing on my to-do list now, anyway.

I think that my outlook today would have been a little more cheerful if I hadn't spent the last couple of weeks going full tilt with myriad other things and then the first three days of the long weekend either eating, cleaning, socializing or shopping.  All I wanted to do today was sit, and that wasn't an option.

I know my posts are becoming more and more grinch-like as Christmas approaches and I feel bad about that.  I have nothing against the holiday itself; my problem is with the excess that invariably accompanies it.  The cleaning and shopping and cooking and wrapping and decorating and pressure to live up to some thoroughly unattainable Martha Stewart-like ideal that leaves me completely exhausted by the third week of December, when I am trying to get all of the above done plus remember if I picked up enough teacher gifts for the CCD teachers too and drop off the dry cleaning and walk the dog and do the laundry and all the other jobs around the house that don't magically disappear when all the seasonal to-dos kick into high gear.  That's the point at which I want to start swearing when a Christmas carol comes on the radio, even though it's still two weeks till Christmas.

Anyway, I was thinking about all this today because of a Facebook post by one of my cousins.  (One I didn't like much as a kid: coincidence??)  We peacefully coexist as adults, which is a distinct improvement.  She is one of those Pinterest-type moms and God bless her...she works full time as well, but she makes the most amazing decorated cookies--you'd swear that they were created by a professional.  At any rate, she is also one of those moms who not only owns an Elf on the Shelf and moves it every night, but feels compelled to post pictures of where the elf ended up to Facebook each day as well.

These are not her pictures, but they might as well be.  They are right up the same alley.  Check this one out.  Did you notice the brown 'toasted' spots on the marshmallows that the toys are holding?

Or this one: a soda fountain date?  (Both images borrowed from for illustrative purposes.)

For those unfamiliar with the phenomenon, a brief explanation: this little critter is supposed to be watching the kids' behavior in the runup to Christmas.  He flies home to Santa each night to make a report and then perches himself in a different spot to be found by the kids the next day.  (Woe to the parent who forgets to move the damned elf after the kids go to bed.)

Even here, there's pressure.  A simple move of elf from bookshelf to kitchen counter (for example) won't do: oh no.  The elf has to be presiding over a fancy North Pole breakfast or having a movie date with a Barbie or making snow angels in flaked coconut or something.  All documented on Instagram and/or Facebook, naturally.

I ask you; is that necessary?  Is it really necessary??  If I don't have an elf and stage fantastically creative scenarios for it each evening, my kids are somehow missing out on that elusive "Holiday Magic" that it is my bound duty as mother and holiday-provider to be giving them?  Never mind that the damned elf was the straw that broke the camel's back: the kids may have a crazy mother, but at least they have a creative elf.  

I do not have an elf.  I do not want an elf.  If anyone gives me or my kids an elf, I will view it as a hostile act and respond accordingly.  That's my line in the sand, y'all...this is where the holiday crazy stops at my house.  

**steps off soapbox**


  1. That whole Elf on the Shelf is f'd up, in my book. I get the rest of it -- all of it, actually! My sons insisted on putting the lights up today and brought all the boxes down out of the attic, so I have to get busy over the next few days and decorate. Yikes.

  2. Just glad they survived their escapades on your roof! I think I would have burned rubber out of there too. ;)

  3. FIRM NO to the elf on the shelf. That's a creepy f'ed up thing. KEEP THAT LINE DRAWN, AMIGA.

  4. Does anybody else think it's odd that it's somehow ok to tell your little kids that something in the house is always watching them?? Freaky!

    1. Yeah, I am not a fan of any of that kind of discipline/bribery. How about "We celebrate Christmas because we love each other and this time of year and what it represents" and "I appreciate you doing helpful, kind things even when I'm not around because it demonstrates the sort of person of integrity that I know you already are."

      Of course, as always: I don't have children. I just taught a few thousand of them. And creepy guys staring at kids is NOT the best possible strategy for positive behavior.

    2. Ya think? :) Amen, my friend.

  5. ... He sees you when you're sleeping... He knows when you're awake... Between that and my Catholic upbringing I never felt like I had a corner of the Universe to call my own!

  6. Believe me, Joan: I'm with you on both counts!! ;)


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