I don’t have kids, which means that I (and everyone else on the internet) am entitled to give you parenting advice.
A few criticisms of the Elf on the Shelf have recently come to my attention. Some parents resent the peer pressure they feel to participate in the Elf on the Shelf “tradition.” Some psychologists consider the Elf on the Shelf to be a “dangerous parental crutch .” There’s even a digital technology professor out there who thinks that the Elf on the Shelf is preparing your child to live in a future police state.
So, whether you just don’t have time to create marshmallow hot tubs for your Elf, worry that your kids will grow up believing that they should be rewarded for good behavior, or are more paranoid than Fox Mulder, I’ve created a handy list of ways for you to get rid of that blasted Elf without admitting to your kids that you’ve been lying to them. And don’t worry – each method also teaches your kids a valuable life lesson, so you don’t have to worry that ejecting the Elf will damage your parental street cred.
Top 10 Ways to Escape from the Elf on the Shelf:
10. After years of budgeting, saving, and making wise investments, the Elf is able to retire comfortably. Every year after his retirement, a piggy bank and a framed photo of the Elf on a beach appear on the mantle. Bonus points if the kids are required to place money in the piggy bank.
Life lesson: Savings are more important than cute things.
9. The Elf now has four kids and can’t afford childcare on his salary of “visions of sugarplums,” so he’s quitting his job to be a stay-at-home dad. Bonus points if the parent who explains this to the kids is a stay-at-home parent.
Life lesson: Childcare is expensive. Also, even Elves believe in gender equality.
8. The Elf has been injured in a sleigh accident and can no longer work. Bonus points if he appears on the mantle wearing a neck brace.
Life lesson: Invest in good insurance.
7. The Elf quit his job to work for a nonprofit group dedicated to ensuring fair labor standards for all Elves. Ten points to Gryffindor if the nonprofit is named S.P.E.W.
Life lesson: Choose a meaningful career path. Oh, and J.K. Rowling is my spirit animal.
6. Due to a civil war occurring at the North Pole (polar bears vs. reindeer), Santa and his Elves have been evacuated to Germany. The Elf left his passport at the North Pole and can’t travel anymore until he becomes a German citizen and gets a new passport. Santa, of course, will still be coming on Christmas Eve. He’s a head of state and doesn’t need a passport. Bonus points if your kids can identify Germany on an unlabeled map.
Life lesson: Keep state-issued identification on your person at all times in case you need to flee from a war zone.
5. The Elf quit his job with Santa to become a social media personality via YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and his personal website. Turns out there are a lot of Elves out there doing the same thing, so the Elf couldn’t distinguish his “personal brand” from that of the other social media Elves. The Elf asked Santa for his old job back, but Santa refused to re-hire him.
Life lesson: You are, indeed, a wonderful, unique individual. Just don’t expect people to pay you for existing.
4. After becoming a worldwide sensation, fame has gone to the Elf’s head. Now he thinks he’s too good to come hang out at your house. Bonus points if you leave photos of the elf being mobbed by a gang of screaming teenage girls or setting a gold-rimmed swimming full pool of money on fire.
Life lesson: Justin Bieber is, deep down, a very unhappy young man lacking in meaningful personal connections. Fame and money don’t guarantee you a happy life, kids.
3. The Elf was chosen as his District’s tribute for this year’s Hunger Games. Unfortunately, he headed straight for the Cornucopia. He wasn’t the winner of this year’s games…
Life lesson: Run away as fast as you can, and, for goodness’ sake, avoid the Cornucopia.
2. The Elf is running for President as a political outsider. Bonus points if you make campaign buttons and yard signs for the Elf. Extra bonus points if the Elf’s campaign slogan is “Put America on the Nice List.”
Life lesson: Take your civic responsibilities seriously. Also…Elf on the Shelf for President 2016!! You have my vote, Mr. Elf.
1. Befriend a police officer. Have the officer come to your house in uniform and arrest the Elf for criminal mischief. Elf is escorted out of the house in handcuffs and spends the rest of your kids’ childhood in jail. Put a new Elf mugshot on the mantle every year. Bonus points if the officer finds “drug paraphernalia” (Pixy Sticks) during the Elf’s routine pat-down.
Life lesson: Kids get to learn what happens when you’re bad in the real world.
If you hear. “Well, so-and-so’s Elf made all kinds of mischief and didn’t get arrested for it,” the appropriate response is: “When a stranger breaks into my house and tears things apart, I call the police. I guess so-and-so’s mom doesn’t mind it when strangers mess up her house. Remember that if you’re ever invited over there.” That’ll take care of that peer pressure for you.
0.5. Elf leaves a note explaining that he has gone with Obi-Wan Kenobi to Alderaan to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi like his father. If your kids understand the note, you win at parenting.
(For the record, this post is meant to be satire, i.e., a joke.)