Tis the Season for Elf On The Shelf, Santa, and gifts. As a young mother, I did not get the memo on Elf On The Shelf. Even today, I shudder when I see beautiful Pinterest posts about using elf antics to thrill your kids.
Above all, I am an overachiever. I want to be the best I can be at everything I attempt to accomplish. Therefore, I didn’t just get a commercial Elf on the shelf. Nope. I purchased one for every single child and our dog. Way over the edge.
In light of my post from last week on being mindful of who brings the big gifts, I invite you to take a pause with me. Let’s talk about consumerism for a moment. The Miriam-Webster Dictionary defines consumerism as “: the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable also: a preoccupation with and an inclination toward the buying of consumer goods.”
Let’s overlay that with the ever-present concept that our worth is based on what we can buy or what we can show. Where does this leave us?
The Elf On The Shelf could be used as a force for change. For example, the Elf brings tasks of kindness that the child should extend to their community. Bringing flowers to a neighbor, sending a card to someone who is struggling, offering to rake a neighbor’s leaves, or shovel snow. These are all messages of bringing together and building community that I can get behind.
So, where did we go wrong?
First of all, as far as I am concerned, the Elf is another stressor that I have to complete to make Christmas magical for my kids. I’m just telling it as I see it. We stuff stockings, organize family pictures. Pinterest tells us to hand-make teacher gifts. The latest marketing guru insists we buy our kids the single most hard-to-find toy on the planet. And when we are finally ready to collapse our weary bodies into bed, we remember. The Elf has not moved.
Furthermore, the Elf on the shelf is exhausting. After I have worked a full day, bathed, fed, loved on, and read to my four cherubs, what do I want to do? Oh, I know!! I want to move the elf at 11 pm after everyone has drifted off to slumber.
Additionally, I need to try to come up with a way to make their move clever or address a behavior issue in the home.
Worse than that is if the Elf brings gifts.
This holiday season I’d like all of us to consider that maybe the Elf is a pawn in the Christmas consumerism show. Buy more, do more, have more, acquire more. The things are distracting us from what is truly important. Those things: unconditional love, community, kindness, comforting those that are struggling, and cheering on those who achieve greatness, not through money or power, but through giving.
I appreciate each of you who is on this journey of unconditional love and community with me. All Are Welcome.