The Elf on the Shelf Must Die

The time has come for Ruby, our Elf on the Shelf, to die. Or at least go away, lose her magic, skedaddle.

Table of Contents

Reason No. 1 The Elf Must Die

I thought the whole Elf on the Shelf thing was cute a handful years back. Friends posted on Facebook funny pictures of their elf committing all sorts of shenanigans. My daughter was young then. I thought I could introduce it. You know, join the fun. (Fun! Fun?) And it was fun. The first year.

The next year it was sort of fun, but I forgot, from time to time, to move it. I grew bored with planning new ways to “hide” the elf.

This Thanksgiving, I forgot to bring that darn elf out at all. At least that’s what I told myself when I’d finished cleaning the house after dinner. And the next day. And the next.

When I did bring her out, it took the kids days to notice her.

Reason No. 2 The Elf Must Die

Sophie, now five, was terrified to see that the elf had moved and she hadn’t seen who’d done it.

“It’s just a stuffed toy. It can’t be magic. There’s no such thing as magic.”

Apparently, I’m raising Vernon Dursley.

Naturally, like any deceitful parent, I redirected: “How do the reindeer fly? How does Santa make it to so many places in one day?”

Crickets. Eyes as big as ornaments.

“Why don’t you write Santa a note and ask him?”

She seemed to deflate. “I don’t want to. Santa will just tell me it’s magic. But then that means the elf is moving on her own.”

My poor sensitive, fearful child.

Which brings me to the final reason the elf has to die.

Reason No. 3 The Elf Must Die

I feel pretty crappy telling my kids that someone else is watching to make sure they don’t screw up. (I mean, they already have us scrutinizing their every move). This on top of last year’s tears when Sophie heard the words to “Santa Claus is Coming to town.” Sing it to yourself right now. Think about how creepy that can sound to a four-year-old!

He sees you when you are sleeping…
He knows if you’ve been bad or good.
Watch out little children! Eek!

This prompted a letter to Santa: Hey guy, thanks for the presents, but please don’t come into my bedroom.

I’m not even kidding. We wrote that note. I nearly bursted the Santa bubble right there.

Since that letter last year, I’ve put the kibosh on the theme of threatening the kids with coal or no presents if they’re not perfect in the run up to Christmas.

I was happy to see I wasn’t alone in my feelings. Kate Orson, Hand in Hand Parenting instructor and author of the book, Tears Heal: How to Listen to Our Children, talks about exactly this on her blog post “Why Santa Claus could be making your parenting harder.”

All of this: my apathy, Sophie’s fear and my growing dislike of threats to get children to do what we want, its the writing on the holy-decked halls. We are done with the elf, at least as we know it now.

What To Do with the Elf

Santa will be writing a memo this week and it will go something like this:


Dear Friends,

Re: The Naughty/Nice list.

We are no longer keeping tabs good or bad kids. Nope, we are shredding that ol’ Nauty-or-Nice list.

Why the sudden change? After hundreds of years, we see over and over again that kids try their best every day, all year long. Sometimes their best turns out to be… a bit of a mess. But here’s a secret! Grown ups mess up a lot, too.

The important thing is that everyone — kids and grownups — keep learning and growing and making decisions that help them to be the best person they can be.

We can all learn to be kind to one another, to help people who need some helping, and that is some real magic there!

So here is the new directive from the North Pole: Get lots of laughs, ask questions when you’re curious, work hard, and when you mess up–and we all do–do your best to learn from it and keep trying.

Now we need your help. What to do with your elf?

Would you like her to:

1) Come back to the North Pole to help me with toy making?

2) Make a doll that looks like her to leave her at your house for you to play with?

She is happy to do whatever you like.

Wishing you a magical, frosty Christmas,

Your friends at the North Pole,

Mr. & Mrs. Claus, the elf nation, Frosty the Snowman and all the reindeer

Why I'm Done With the Elf On The Shelf (AKA time to kick that ELF out of the house!): Christmas is hectic enough. Why do we parents add to our stress? Get rid of the Elf on the Shelf, lower your stress and bring what is important back to the holiday season #elfontheshelf #holidays #christmas #parenting

Elf on the shelf via Shutterstock 

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7 thoughts on “The Elf on the Shelf Must Die”

  1. Rhonda

    I have always thought the part about the moving elf was creepy. Not a tradition I would gave started – course my sons would gave probably had GI Joe or the TMN Turtles take out the elf. Lol. Besides, the elf reminds me too much of creepy dolls (your sister is rubbing off on me). Lol

    1. Tara McLaughlin Giroud

      ha ha ha! That’s hilarious 🙂 Yeah, I don’t know why I thought it was such a fun idea to begin with. Sleep deprivation does straaaaaange things 😉 Sophie was beyond happy to see her go (she will be coming back as a toy) and Olivia, well, she could care less.

  2. Tamara

    Baahahahaaaa, Tara! Poor elves! I don’t use ours to threaten my son. We don’t do the snitching part. She’s just here for the daily excitement. When Colin was younger I felt like Cookie (our Elf) was kind of a companion for him being an only child. He’s growing out of the Elf magic though, so this will probably be the last season. Cookie will die of natural causes and move on to a family with younger children.

    1. Tara McLaughlin Giroud

      ha ha ha, natural causes. I saw your posts on Cookie, looks like it was so great experience.

  3. Claire

    I only heard about the Elf on the Shelf a few years back… unfortunately my introduction to the concept was via a rather off-colour short story, so the whole idea kind of creeps me out anyway! Bah humbug

    1. Tara McLaughlin Giroud

      ha ha ha, post the short story! 😀

  4. Kate

    So true! I have not done elf on a shelf and hope my girls don’t notice as that doesn’t seem like a big thing in Switzerland. I already feel strange lying to my kids to be good for Christmas, for Santa, for presents, etc. So strange. Goodbye elf! Let’s keep it simple this year, am I right!?

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