Peer Pressure: It’s Not Just for Teens.


I’ve heard of the Elf on the Shelf – who hasn’t? It’s been out almost a decade, is sold pretty much everywhere (over 6 million copies and counting!), has won numerous awards and hit the best seller list more than once. It’s even a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon

How (and why) do I know these things?

I’ve seen that wacky Elf on many a Shelf for years and resisted buying it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s true marketing genius, but let’s face it: There’s something CREEPY about it. Oh, and it costs THIRTY DOLLARS for what appears to be a poorly constructed small stuffed animal in a box  (now I know there’s a book, too, but still). I assumed it was a gimmick for the true Christmas decorators – the ones that buy those really fancy ornaments and string their entire house (and yard) with lights.

So imagine my surprise when I dropped Zoe off at school and her teacher asked if we had an Elf on the Shelf. She was shocked when I said no and gently suggested that we may want to consider it since “they really work.” OH, and apparently the previous day the entire class had talked about their elves (almost all the kids have one) and what they were up to. SERIOUSLY?!

As a guilt-ridden mom who already thinks her poor first child is completely neglected since the birth of her second, I felt terrible that I hadn’t already provided this magical elf to Zoe. How left out she must have felt! Surely her development was being stunted by my refusal to “elf”. Then, as you can imagine, on our drive home Zoe says “Mom, we need an Elf on the Shelf.” And that was that.

A  trip to Target and 30 dollars later, we have an Elf. A “girl” one. What we do not have is her skirt (which sells separately for 7 bucks), a variety of other costumes (like a “game day jersey” or a celtic looking kilt, also sold separately), or an “Elf on the Shelf Pets Reindeer“. Come on.

If you’re a really good mom, the Elf can now show up at your kid’s birthday party and decorate a chair for 30 more dollars (that doesn’t include the $20 birthday book or the actual elf). I am not kidding.

Little did I know that this “Elf” also requires EFFORT (the Elf has to move EVERY DAY) – and that the kids can’t touch it or it “loses its magic”, so it’s PARENT effort. Good news is that for the low low price of 13 dollars you can now buy the plush version to enjoy all year long – and it’s meant to be touched. Phew.

What I also didn’t know is was how much press, creativity and controversy those darn elves have stirred up. The following is real:

  • The Elf on the Shelf is preparing your child to live in a future police state, professor warns – posted 2 days ago by the WSJ
  • How Parents Could Be Sending The Wrong Message With Elf On The Shelf – from Huffington Post (apparently these elves put too much emphasis on gifts!)
  • In fact, from the same article: “It allows parents to displace their authority onto this secondary fantastical being, this elf, that is related to Santa,” Cook said. “In a way, both kids and parents become reliant on this elf on the shelf.” (Why did no one tell me this BEFORE I bought one?! Ha!)
  • There are thousands of pins on Pinterest filled with ideas – here are 706 of them
  • A Facebook page with 643 thousand likes and counting (filled with more ideas)
  • There are hundreds (if not thousands – or hundreds of thousands!) of “ideas” out there on Instagram photos, YouTube videos and blog/traditional news sites. In fact, Kim Kardashian’s kid is “obsessed” with these elves, so they must be really cool…

Yep, there is no shortage of Elf drama out there. For the Johnson family, we’re just lucky to remember to move the Elf…

In fact, on the first morning we had that Elf Zoe’s first words when she woke up were “Where is the Elf, Mom?” I of course PANICKED because I had totally forgotten to move her. I chose distraction: “I don’t know! Let’s go look in the kitchen.” While she runs to the kitchen, I run to where the Elf was the night before, and JUST LIKE THE BOOK SAID, that Elf has magically moved somewhere else!

Just another reminder that I married the coolest guy on the planet ;)

On the fifth day, I DID forget to move the Elf. Thankfully, Zoe didn’t wake up asking OR point it out that she was in the same spot. The moment I noticed I again talked her into going into the kitchen and frantically motioned to my friend Amanda to “MOVE THE ELF!” Turns out Zoe had already seen Sparkle Heart Gem (that’s her name) BUT she still believed that that Elf magically relocated. Phew again.

Today, Sparkle Heart Gem is sitting on a pile of money, which I think is quite appropriate.

And so, peer pressure is not just for teenagers. BEWARE. This could happen to you. Especially when you’re daughter does this:


6 thoughts on “Peer Pressure: It’s Not Just for Teens.

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