Elf madness, a new holiday tradition

Posted on Posted in Family Matters

When I was a child, I heard that Santa Claus lived at the North Pole with Mrs. Claus.  Reportedly, Santa had a workshop in which elves made toys.  I thought the elves lived at the North Pole with Mr. and Mrs. Claus until events of recent years gave me reason to doubt my theory.  A few years ago I began to see people posting pictures of elves in their houses the entire month of December.  Are children so gullible these days? How do they think the elves can build toys at the North Pole and engage in mischief in the homes of thousands of kids every night?  Honestly, I love and admire the boundless imaginations of children.

 Children generally have no preconceived notions or history by which to define life experiences.  The naiveté of children allows them to believe in possibilities.  Children even believe in those events and occurrences that are unsubstantiated by logic or science.  Is it wrong for grown folks to take advantage of the innocence of children?  I am not sure if it’s right or wrong, but it is entertaining to watch.  Engaging children in the fantasy of the holiday season gives us all an opportunity to embrace at least one moment of joy and merriment during the course of a year. 

 This year the holiday season arrived and I had difficulty getting into the holiday spirit. But for the family traditions, I probably would not have worried about gift buying and decorating at all.  The truth is that I still have not completed my shopping and there are no decorations up yet.  Life for me during this holiday season has been different because the people who influenced the traditions I practiced are not around to influence the continuation of the traditions.  I have also found it tough to maintain traditions when the children for whom the traditions were created are no longer living at the house.   Since I have struggled so this holiday season, I have appreciated the mischievous elves pictured on social media pages.

 As funny as some of the picture and stories have been that document the shenanigans of the elves who invade homes and make mischief.  The parents who have adopted this tradition can absolutely have it and the night work that comes with it.  Having to do the work of the responsible elves for many years by putting together toys and wrapping gifts, I can’t understand why anyone would add the labor of the sneaky, mischievous elf to their list of things to do during the month of December.  I have heard of parents using the elves to influence positive behaviors from children too.  This is ironic because these little stuffed elves engage in so much mischief themselves.  Why would a child believe that Santa would accept any report from the naughty elves?  I have wondered which member of the house becomes responsible for cleaning up the messes left behind by the elves.  However, I have never spoken in great detail to any friend or family member whose home was randomly selected by the elves as an off site elf location. 

 While I am excited and grateful for the entertainment value I have been afforded by elf madness, I am equally as thrilled that this phenomenon did not exist when my kids were younger.  Congratulations to those folks who are so dedicated to this elf mission that they use their creative energy to stage events for the elf and then use their time to explain the things done in the secrecy of the night.  I wish I could create something or think of some new fade that would get folks to focus on something fun for their families too.  I love the fact that holiday season traditions like this one can draw family members together. 

Gift purchasing and elf madness encourage parents to think about things the kids in their families really like. These holiday traditions also give parents opportunities to take their minds off of the more serious aspects of adult life.  The grown ups get to repeatedly complete tasks that can bring some healthy laughter to the home.  Sometimes parents need to be forced to find ways to relax and play.  All of the parents I see managing these mischievous elves seem to be having fun and that is a good thing.  Although gift selections and creating elf mischief may not be the optimal depth of communication needed to prevent dysfunction in a family, nonjudgmental interactions between kids and grown ups generally leads to more good outcomes than negative ones. 

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