Shmelf on the Shelf

Now that Christmas is over and the decorations are put away and the pressure is off, I think I am ready to talk about our Elf experience. I think.

On November 30, 2020, I was shopping at Michael’s Arts & Crafts with the kids. We were mainly in the market for some Christmas decorations but no one ever leaves those kinds of stores with what they set out to buy. You always go home with a ton of shit you don’t need (or want)—jars of glitter, reindeer antlers, puffy paint, 400 wooden sticks, eyeball stickers, a picture frame stand and a DIY treehouse kit.

As we roamed the aisles, we came across every parent’s worst nightmare. Elf on the Shelf. The kids freaked. “Please, can we get one? Please? We’ve never had an elf. Please!!!”

So I caved. I paid $40 and officially added a new chore to my daily to-do list.

The entire ride home the kids talked about how their friends have had elves for years and how excited they are to finally experience this (stupid) Christmas tradition.

Yay. Awesome. Me, too.

So we got home, made hot cocoa and snuggled up on the couch to open the box and read the story, welcoming our elf to his new home. Except when we opened the box, the twist ties that hold him in place had been snipped and there was no elf. It was just an empty, elf-less, candy-cane-striped box. Some bastard stole the it from Michael’s and left us high on cocoa with no elf and two absolutely devastated kids. Son of a bitch.

I stared at the vacant space while my blood pressure rose at the thought of driving back to Michael’s for a replacement elf and inevitably leaving the store with yet another round of junk purchases. This return was going to cost me a hundred bucks, easily.

Once I calmed the kids and assured them that Mommy would find the missing elf, we decided to start decorating the Christmas tree. When God closes one jolly door, he opens another. The kids were happy and the holiday spirit was restored.

Now brace yourselves. What I am about to write is 100% true. I shit you not.

I got the box of tree ornaments out of storage, ripped open the packing tape and there on top of the decorations staring me square in the eyes with a little smirk was the f*cking elf.


We have NEVER done this elf tradition before. I mean, a parent doesn’t forget the nightmare of remembering to move a six-inch, stuffed, felt boy around the house every day, staging hijinks and leaving candy canes to rot the kids’ teeth. I would damn-well know if we had an elf before.

I was so creeped out. I couldn’t touch it. “Where did you come from? Who sent you?” He just glared at me. No response.

Annie Bea ran over to get the tree decorating started and saw the elf. “OH MY GOD! The elf! He was hiding! How did he do that? We have an elf? We have an elf? WE HAVE AN ELF! Let’s name him Shmelf!”

I got a pair of tongs from the kitchen and used them to move the little creep out of my decoration box and over to a secure location in the corner of the living room. I was terrified to touch this voodoo doll.

Every night, I carefully placed him in a new spot of the house (using my tongs) without ever making eye contact.

I don’t know how he got here. It’s the 8th Wonder of the World. But at the end of the day, I’m just happy I didn’t have to go back to Michael’s.