Why the Elf is NOT WELCOME on my shelf

Christmas is my favourite time of year.  I can rival my kids in the excitement stakes.  I can never sleep on Christmas Eve, despite the fact that I am a 41 (very nearly 342 year old adult.  There is something truly magical about the festive season.  Christmas lights can bring tears to my eyes (I was a sap before kids, I stood no chance after).  I love following the traditions of my childhood for my own children, and making new traditions too.

Back in 2015 when my eldest (Big) was 6, Elf on the Shelf was a relatively new idea, and the elves themselves were really expensive. But we decided to introduce my son to The Elf on The Shelf after it flooding my Facebook news-feed.  It looked cute.  A nice idea.  Another way to reinforce the good behaviour threat.  A new tradition for my family.  Easy.

no elf on the shelf not welcome

Here’s how it went down…

Day One Of The Elf On The Shelf

Inform husband that I have decided to do The Elf on The Shelf and set about purchasing said Elf.  Pick myself up off the floor after seeing the price of the cheeky little imp and re-think the whole idea.


Catch a trailer for Santa Claus the Movie on television and get swept up in a wave of Christmas nostalgia.  Decide The Elf on The Shelf is back on, only with a different elf, not the actual elf.

Day Two Of The Elf On The Shelf

Trawl the shops for some kind of elf.  Buy more decorations for the tree in the process.  The husband will be pleased (insert sarcastic tone here).  Can’t find a bloody elf anywhere, and beginning to get shoppers rage.  Induced by hearing ‘All I want for Christmas is you‘ for the filth time.  It’s all Mariah’s fault (I’m more of a Pogues kind of girl).  Find a snowman ornament and decide that will do.  Henceforth the Elf on The Shelf shall now be known as The Snowman on The Shelf.  At least in our house anyway. Crack open the Christmas chocolates way too early because I deserve them after that ordeal.

Day Three Of The Snowman On The Shelf

Begin planning the execution of The Snowman on The Shelf.  Type a letter to Big from the Snowman explaining who he is and what he is doing here. Feeling pretty pleased with my creative genius.  Begin to plan where the Snowman will be each day and what antics he will have gotten up to. Up to day 4 with no problems.  This is fun.  

Begin to falter.  Come up with ideas for days 5 and 6. Struggling now.  Run out of ideas.  

Eat more of the Christmas chocolates for inspiration and brain fuel. Look at my to-do list for Christmas and wonder if my time could be better spent.  Refer to Mr Google and Mrs Pinterest for some inspiration.  Less inspired and more a complete feeling of inadequacy.  I am not a creative genius after all. Finish the chocolates.  Steal four of the less messy and inexpensive ideas and decide 10 days of The Snowman on The Shelf is plenty.

Day Four Of The Snowman On The Shelf (11 Days Before Christmas Eve)

Inform Big that he has a letter.  Read the letter from The Snowman on The Shelf and introduce him to said Snowman.  There is much excitement and the feeling of Christmas magic is in the air.  Feel all warm and happy, and rather pleased with myself for creating a wonderful and magical Christmas for my children.  This is going to be amazing.  Before bed hang The Snowman from the living room light ready for the big one to discover in the morning.  Don’t sleep very well worrying that the Snowman is going to fall off the light before the morning.

Day Five Of The Snowman On The Shelf

Big seems to have forgotten about the whole Snowman thing.  Ask him if he has seen The Snowman this morning.  When he replies “no” suggest he looks for him.  Begin the longest game of hot or cold ever.  Everytime I say “hot” the big one goes in the opposite direction. Repeatedly explain the concept of hot and cold.  He’s not getting it.  Start to panic that we are going to be late for school.  Feign excitement and over-the-top enthusiasm that I have found The Snowman.  

Big’s interest lasts approximately 30 seconds before he starts watching TV.  That didn’t go as I expected.  Tell myself to hide The Snowman in more obvious places.  Adopt a “where would I look for something if I was a six-year-old?” approach.  Ponder an acceptable time to start drinking mulled wine.

Day Six Of The Snowman On The Shelf

The Snowman is sitting on the TV cabinet with the remote in his hands.  Big spots him easily and finds it hilarious.  We are back on track.  

Big begins asking lots of questions about The Snowman and his relationship with Father Christmas.  Begin to feel like I am under interrogation and I am going to tie myself in knots.  Panic that I haven’t thought this through.  

Don’t they say with lies to keep it simple?  The Father Christmas bit is easy. Straightforward.  But now I’m telling lies upon lies about this bloody snowman.  What if he talks to the kids at school?  Who else has got a bloody snowman staying with them in the run up to Christmas?  This is going to be a disaster.  He’s going to figure it out and the joy of Christmas will be ruined forever, and I will be branded a liar for all eternity. Suggest a Christmas movie to stop all the questions.  Break into the second box of Christmas chocolates.

Day Seven Of The Snowman On The Shelf

Big discovers The Snowman on The Shelf playing with his cars.  Seems a bit put out by this. The Snowman is returned to his shelf and the big one spends the day eyeing him somewhat suspiciously.  At bedtime he asks a lot of questions about where The Snowman will be tomorrow.  He seems worried.  Put it down to a sharing issue and make a note not to let The Snowman play with his toys.

Day Eight Of The Snowman On The Shelf

Big is refusing to come downstairs.  He doesn’t want to see the snowman. The snowman is scary.  He doesn’t like him coming alive and he doesn’t like him watching him. When he puts it like that it does sound quite creepy. Next come the tears.  Full on heaving sobs with puppy dog eyes because, “The Snowman is going to tell Father Christmas that he doesn’t like him and then he won’t get any presents.”  Holy mother of god that escalated quickly. What have I done?  My parenting halo was tarnished before, but now it looks rusty.  

Cuddles and reassurance are administered, along with a promise that Mummy and Daddy will send The Snowman back to the North Pole, with a letter explaining that Big has been a really good boy but the snowman can’t stay with us.  Offer him the remainder of the Christmas chocolates for breakfast to cheer him up (the halo has well and truly had it).  The Snowman on the shelf is shoved into a drawer out of sight sent back to the North Pole, never to be seen again.

elf on the shelf

It’s fair to say that our time with The Elf  / Snowman on The Shelf was an epic fail.  We’ll find some other new traditions, simpler and less terrifying ones.

Has your elf on the shelf backfired on you?

 Here’s a funny hilarious story about why the elf is not welcome on my shelf at Christmas! It’s a tongue-in-cheek article about what can go wrong with toddler with the awesome, fun activity for 2020!
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About Claire Kirby

Claire is the blogger behind Life, Love and Dirty Dishes. A blog about the amusing side of parenting. Claire’s claim to fame is that she once spoke to Phillip Schofield on a Going Live phone in. Awesome, right? She with three boys; The Husband, Big (9), who never ever stops talking, and Little (5), who never ever stands still.
They live in a Lego house. They don’t really, but they have so much off the stuff they could probably build one.


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1 Comment

  1. 01 December 2020 / 14:59

    It’s funny how controversial Elf on the Shelf is! We did it when my daughter was younger but there were stressful early-morning dashes downstairs to, ahem, *see* where the Elf had re-situated himself…

    Love this piece!