Guest Post: No Elf on This Shelf



My friend Mary is stepping in today to weigh in on this hot trend: the Elf on the Shelf. We don’t have one at our house–mostly because we don’t want the extra work. Is that a good enough reason? πŸ˜‰ No ill will meant towards the Elf per say, as Mary said, “For those of you who do the whole elf thing, you keep making elf magic. ”

Some of us will happily sit this one out.

Let’s hear from my friend and fellow military spouse, Mary Moore. She and I served our time together in the Family Support Group leadership trenches back when Joshua and Caleb were babies. Β Thanks for sharing with us today, Mary!!

Also funny: The Elf on the Shelf creators read this article and complained, so the original website for this article removed it to make them happy.Β 


“It’s true. I loathe Elf on the Shelf, but before you give me the speech about how my kids are being disserviced by not participating in this “tradition”, hear me out. Here are the top 5 reasons why I loathe Elf on the Shelf:

(5) I loathe you because right off I’m going to have to buy 3 of you. A boy elf for my son and then 2 girl elves for my daughters because if I only buy one girl elf there will be tears over each not having her own. At $30 a pop, I’m now well on my way to being broke this holiday season.

“Sorry sweet little beings of mine, Mommy can’t buy you that really awesome $50 toy you wanted because she just bought herself extra work (times 3) every Christmas season for the next ten years.”

(4) I loathe you because now that I’ve brought you home, I’m going to have to name you. No, Bob or Sue won’t work for you. I’ll have to come up with some elaborate Christmas-y name that sounds like you were named by Santa himself. I had enough trouble naming my three kids and now you want one too? Everyone is naming you cute little names like Clara or Snowbell but to be honest I just want to give you a four letter name that would surely distract from the Christmas season.

“Mommy, why can’t we tell the neighbor our Elf’s name?”

“Because, honey, Mommy will go to jail if you do.”

(3) I loathe you because not only do I have to bake cookies, buy presents, wrap presents, send out Christmas cards, attend school concerts, decorate the house, and make our travel plans (etc, etc, etc) but now I have to throw you into the mix too? I’d rather use hot sauce as contact lens solution!

“Little Timmy said his Elf made elaborate, over the top cookies last night while he was asleep. Couldn’t our Elf do that, Mom?”

“Just dump the Tabasco right here on my cornea.”

(2) I loathe you because Elf on the Shelf has now become Elf on the toilet, Elf hanging upside down on the Christmas tree, Elf baking cookies and leaving the flour and sprinkles on every surface in the kitchen, and just plain overachieving Elf! You’ve left your shelf and I just don’t see how you have time for all this mischief when you’re flying to the North Pole every night. Plus, I’m not creative enough to think of any place other than a shelf to put you.

“Mommy, why does our Elf never move?”

“Seriously? His right hand moved a quarter of an inch when I was pretending to dust the shelf. What more do you want from me?”

(1) The top reason why I loathe you is because even if I could remember to move you and come up with big, elaborate messes for the kids to find in the morning, I will still have to compete with the mom who has achieved all “150 cute and easy Elf on the shelf ideas” in the first 10 days of the season. The kicker is not only do I have to come up with creative ideas for the kids, now I have to entertain my husband because there’s a whole “racy and after hours” version of you going around. How am I supposed to convince my husband/kids to be good, if you are running amuck and not getting punished?

“Hey baby, I saw the Elf and Barbie were…”

“NO, just no.”

If you feel the same as I do, I’ve come up with a companion to Elf on the Shelf. Her name is Maid on Parade and she’s perfect for people who think the Elf should stay on the shelf. In theory, she makes sure that everything is cleaned up and your Elf makes it back to his shelf every night. In reality, you put them on a shelf and never have to move them again! Why has this not been done? It’s brilliant and it might just be enough to make me buy an Elf or 3. Who am I kidding? There is nothing that would make me want to experience Christmas time with an Elf that is on (or especially off) his shelf!

Do you participate in Elf on the Shelf? Do you feel like it’s time consuming and a waste of time? Or are you one of those overachieving Elf lovers? Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way!

P.S. I promise I’m not some crabby old lady who hates all things that make little kids happy. Sometimes I just need someone to throw Christmas cookies at me and tell me I’m pretty.”



My friend Mary is an outstanding HH6, fitness enthusiast, home school teacher, and mother to three beautiful children.Β  She’s also a lot of fun.


  • Haha, loved this Mary!! πŸ™‚

  • McMom

    I agree – no elf on our shelf, either!

  • Good! That will make for less cousin envy! πŸ˜‰

  • Haha! I loved this. We do the elf, but I hate it. My daughter loves it though. I do it for her.

    • Mary

      I applaud those who keep up with it and make it magical for their kids! I’m really just not creative enough and we have so many activities that I’d never remember to do anything with it.

  • Great article, only 1 thing missing….what do you tell your kids when they ask why they don’t have an elf on the shelf and all of their friends do??

    • When we lived in Virginia, most of our friends did do the elf. However, we only got asked maybe once why we didn’t have an elf. I said, “We don’t need one of those elves. They are just dolls that you buy at Target. See?” And they’ve seen them at Target, so that was that. πŸ™‚ Mary, how about you?

      • Mary

        My kids have only ever come in contact with them at school. When they told me about them, my reply was “Santa doesn’t need an Elf to know if you are bad or good, he already knows.” They too have seen them at Target and I’ve explained that they are a “tradition” that others participate in, just like one of our traditions is making and decorating Christmas cookies every year. I don’t think parents need 25 days of extra stress with the Elf. Show your children the other joys of the season and I doubt they’ll miss this!

  • Yep, I agree with all of this. Although I don’t know what to do when my son has someone from school tell him about it. Oh well….I guess I will figure that one out if and when it comes. Thanks for sharing, I found you on Manic Mondays.

    • Mary

      Hi, Kim! My kids have actually had teachers who do this at school and they’ve asked about having one. I told them the elf is just a “tradition” that others do, kinda like when we bake cookies a family every year as our tradition. I’ve told them that Santa doesn’t need an elf to tell him if they are bad or good, because he already knows but that some mommies and daddies need an elf to keep an extra eye on their kiddos for the season. They seem to buy that explaination. I’ve never talked bad about the elf, because I know that some parents and children really love them, but I’ve told them that the elf isn’t a fit for our family πŸ™‚ Hope that helps some! Thanks for reading. I had a blast writing this and April was awesome enough to share it here with all her wonderful readers!

  • I have a 7 month old so no Elf on the Shelf yet and I haven’t decided if I will ever have one. I am not going to initiate it though, I will wait until she knows what it is if I ever get one. Also I do not think that anyone needs extra work or stress around Christmas, there are so many other important things to teach our kids, and to do. But I do love the idea of “Maid on Parade” and I think you should patent that before someone else takes the idea and makes LOADS of money off it for the parents out there who started with Elf on the Shelf before they knew what they were getting into!! LOL Thank you for sharing!!

    • Mary

      Good thinking πŸ˜‰ I’m actually in the works of making a “Maid” prototype to sell to parents who are tired of the elf tradition! I’ll just say it right here, this is my idea so no taking it πŸ™‚ I know, that probably won’t work! But seriously, look for something next season! Thanks for reading my writing. It makes me one happy elf loathing momma!

      • Jenn

        I felt forced to shell out 35 bucks for the famous Elf after my 7 yr old son simply said, ” Mom, I an elf so I can talk about all the pranks he pulls while I’m sleeping like the kids at school. Darn, I had escaped it up till now. So here I am at midnight staring at a stupid GIRL elf..I did not realize they were gender specific…wondering? Do I just give him the girl or have him wake up another morning looking sad when he can’t find the elf. Honestly, now I’m pissed. Who says it has to be a boy? I’ve been online trying to confirm that for two hours. I am now more educated on all things elf on shelf than I ever wanted to be. I’m a rambling mad mamma. ..Well,I just wanted my little boy to feel like one of the class and now he will be even more different than the rest. Yes, we are blessed.

        • OH, bless!! Well, I would think a girl elf could still accomplish plenty of mischief and achieve your goal! This sounds like something that would happen to me.

        • Mary

          I think one of the elf rules should be that you aren’t allowed to talk about it with anyone outside of your own family. That way, kids who don’t have one and parents who want to remain elf-less can forget they even exist! On a side note, I think a girl elf would accomplish the same as a boy one. Could you dress it like a boy and just pretend it is one?

  • Jenna @ A Savory Feast

    I don’t have kids yet, and I hope that Elf on the Shelf will be a thing of the past by the time I do! It’s a fun and cute idea, but I think it would be way too much work. And I didn’t realize how expensive they are, too!

    Thanks for sharing this post with Hump Day Happenings. I got a good laugh from it!

    • Mary

      It is a lot of work, isn’t it? I just can’t justify spending that much money to have to do work. Shouldn’t someone pay me to work and come up with creative ideas? πŸ™‚ thanks for reading and laughing with us!

  • MB

    Really, really funny! Although I don’t loathe the elf, I’m glad my kids were on the cusp of not having one, so I didn’t go through with it.

    • Mary

      Thank you for reading! I’m so happy you laughed too. I am also thankful that my kids have never really needed the elf. We do so many other fun things through the season that this particular thing isn’t missed, and I get to decide when and if I want to do the other things. You don’t really get a choice with the elf…it’s do or listen to the kids whine about the elf not moving.

  • Love your post about elf on the shelf! I have 4 boys and NO elf on the shelf…Does that make me a bad mommy? ; )

  • We have one; just one for my three boys. They named him when they were 4 and his name is awful; not my fault…. however fast forward 6 years later and I want to yell “there is no magic; it’s me! All me! I move him and I”m out of ideas ok?” Not to mention my kids are older and stay up later and now I’m up even later making sure they’re awake before I move him…. it’s a vicious cycle and one I wish I had never, ever started. It does not add fun and joy to my season. Luckily my boys have been happy with him just showing up in a new spot on a shelf or in the tree/ stockings this year and we haven’t had to do anything crazy. It’s the first year I have not had to fish around for excuses for why the elf didn’t move so maybe I’m finally getting the hang of it…. only three more moves to go and he’s out of here!
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