Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Elf on the Shelf: Chapter Two

Last Christmas we perpetrated a hoax on our children called "Elf on the Shelf."

Like thousands of other parents, we told our kids that an elf flew to our home from the North Pole and would be watching over them to ensure they weren't bad. Kelly and I moved the elf to a different location every night, and the children would try to find him in the morning. (We don't have a very large apartment, so it wasn't hard.)

Now, I realize that Santa Claus himself is a hoax. But the Elf on the Shelf mythology seems to be a bigger test of credulity. I mean, the elf (we call ours Fred) is clearly a doll. He doesn't move or say anything. He just sits there.

Elliot is 5 and a very inquisitive boy, so he's probably going to start asking more questions about Fred's situation. And if the Fred story unravels, then what's next? Santa Claus? The Tooth Fairy? We have two younger siblings to protect from the truth, so this is scary.

This hasn't deterred us from doing Elf on the Shelf again this year, but it has made us more careful about crafting a plausible narrative.

When Fred made his first appearance yesterday, Kelly wanted to leave a note that the elf could have realistically written. This meant I had to print in tiny letters on a fancy piece of stationery that was less than an inch wide. And the note had to rhyme, because clearly Fred would only write in verse.

Then Kelly rolled up the paper into a miniature scroll, since "it's not like Fred could carry a flat piece of paper all the way from the North Pole."

Fred also needed to bring extra-curly candy canes, since they seemed more whimsical and the kind of thing he would have access to.

How far will we have to go to keep up this charade? I'm worried it will become harder and harder to maintain as the lies pile up.