Elf On a Shelf. Elf on a Shelf. May the creator of this plague upon Christmas holiday tranquility be forced to celebrate Christmas with Rosanne Barr and Ellen Degenerate.
In case you do not know, Elf On a Shelf is a small elf that is marketed to parents, or grandparents, of small children. The elf arrives Thanksgiving Day, or two or three days thereafter if Daddy got drunk on Thanksgiving, and then positions himself throughout the house for the remainder of the holiday season.
His purpose, other than to make the creator of the elf filthy rich, is to watch over the children over the last month of the Christmas countdown run to make certain they behave. He must move every night after the children are asleep. That is an ironclad rule. Move every night, after the children are asleep, no exceptions. Every God-fearing 6 year old in America knows this as fact. No self-respecting elf would remain for more than 24 hours in the same position.
I have an elf without self respect. His name is Redcoat, named by the 9-year-old Princess girl. He has been known to go days without movement, sort of like me during football bowl week.
I've tried to be vigilant. Once upon a time, I would awaken at 3 a.m., in the middle of the night, in a cold sweat. Oh my God, I forgot to file the response to the Johnson lawsuit or, oh no I forgot to return the phone call to Judge Unreasonable. Now I awaken, oh no I forgot about Elf On a Shelf. He's been planted in the Christmas garland above the fireplace mantle since Pearl Harbor Day!
I rush downstairs to move the elf, lest the Princess awaken and begin the game of 20 questions of why did the elf decide to stay another day ... in the garland ... slumped over ... face down, like the victim of a mob hit.
"Daddy, why hasn't Redcoat moved in three days? Is he dead?"
"Uh, no honey, elves, like the tooth fairy and Easter Bunny, live forever."
She's a true believer, so I figure I may as well lay it on thick. As an aside, who in the world thought up the Easter Bunny and tooth fairy? What did they do? "Hmm, let's see ... I'll make up the most ridiculous, unbelievable story ever and everyone will believe it because it is so unbelievable. I know! A rabbit that lays eggs and a fairy that pays money for baby teeth. That should just about cover it."
But back to the elf. "Daddy do you think maybe he is sick?"
"No, honey, it was me that was sick after the office party. Elves don't get sick."
Then, in true-believer fashion, she actually said, "Daddy, we humans just can't understand the ways of elves and we just have to accept their ways."
Sort of like the next-door neighbors, I guess.
Listen, I've got enough problems pulling off the Santa gig once a year on Christmas Eve. Now the Elf On a Shelf forces me to pull it off 30 consecutive nights? So there I am at 3 a.m., in only my underwear -- a frightening visual, if there ever was one -- searching for a new location for Redcoat. Millions of Americans are peacefully sleeping, but I'm stubbing my toe on the Nerf gun that someone left in the hall, realizing I've used all the good spots, and Redcoat never -- let me repeat, never -- returns to the same location.
"Daddy, what are you doing?" says the one who left the Nerf gun, otherwise known as the 8-year-old Hurricane boy.
"Just letting the dog go potty, son."
"The dog is in the bed with me, Daddy."
"Oh, uh ... then I'm getting a glass of milk."
"We're out of milk. Remember, Daddy? Has Redcoat moved? You know, he doesn't look too real to me."
"He's moved. Now go to bed."
"I'm coming down to see, Daddy."
"Come down and Redcoat will kill all the animals in the house (I say while holding Redcoat in my hand with no place to hide him). You know how grumpy elves are when they are awakened in the middle of the night." The Hurricane reacts only to violent acts at 3 a.m. and scampers back to bed. Redcoat moves to ride the chicken above the refrigerator and I go back to bed ... until tomorrow night at 3 a.m.
Contact columnist T. Gamble at tcolliergamble.com.