The first rule of Elf on the Shelf is that there is only one rule: Don’t touch the Elf on the Shelf.
According to lore, touching it will cause the magic to wear off and your Elf to never return to your house, much to your kids’ chagrin.
So, yeah, try telling that to your kids. This will just make them want to touch the Elf even more.
We already tried the no-touch approach with the Nativity scene. All that got us was a missing Wise Man, a Wise Man with no hands, and a lamb missing an ear.
Jesus. These kids.
After being told they couldn’t touch Ralph (our Elf) they just sit their on the couch, staring at that smirky Elf, just waiting for the opportunity to strike.
WE MUST TOUCH HIM.
It’s a proven fact that kids want to do whatever you tell them not to do, so perhaps we should have told them to touch him all they want?
Strike that. Probably not the best idea. I don’t ever want to have a discussion with my daughters where I tell them it’s okay to touch a boy.
For now we’ll just threaten them with the thought of zero presents on Christmas morning, as if we would ever go through with it.
While I’m on the topic of the Elf on the f*cking Shelf, can we talk about some of the crazy ideas parents come up with for their Elf?
My wife saw something on Pinterest (of course) where an elf wrote “I Love You” in toothpaste on the bathroom sink. While a lot of you think that’s adorable, I can’t get over how messy it would be to clean up.
And an Elf doing snow angels in flour? No, thanks. I’m not that into this new tradition at our house. Have you ever gotten flour on your sleeve while baking? Brushing it off just pushes it further into the fabric. We’d have to run the Elf through three wash cycles, at least.
Listen: I’m all for anything that puts the fear of God in our children to behave. (“Oh, you want to body slam your sister? Ralph’s watching.”) But I’m not into something I have to spend thirty minutes setting up the night before. Putting Ralph head-first in a bag of mini chocolate chip cookies, like he got drunk on eggnog and passed out while chowing down on them, is about as far as I’m willing to go.
It’s our first year with an elf on our shelf. The kids are still thrilled every morning to find him in different positions. For now, that will due.
Just don’t lay a finger on him.