Now That I Have Teens, I Can Finally Break Up With The Elf On The Shelf

Dear Herbie the Elf,

I feel as though it’s time we had a talk.

Ever since the day you and your weird smile came to us as a gift from my mother and the kids christened you “Herbie Ralph,” I’ve been composing this letter. Come to think of it, I should have known something was up when my mom laughed maniacally as she detailed the Elf on The Shelf myth.

I’ve been unhappy for a very long time and I bet that if you were honest with yourself, you’d admit that you, too, have known for a while that things were not right between us.

I am not going to miss pretending to be the Elf on The Shelf
Now that I have teens, I don’t have to move the Elf on The Shelf ever again.

I’m sure that you’ve noticed that my kids are teens now and don’t buy into the bullshit that an elf has the power to make all of their dreams come true. Oh, and also? They have long since learned that I control the car keys and curfews, not you, thank you very much.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that I roll my eyes whenever someone mentions The Elf on The Damn Shelf and that I’ve been dragging my feet to pull you out of the box I’ve had hidden since last Christmas.

I’d be willing to bet, too, that you’ve noticed that I’ve not been at all nice to you.

You can’t say you haven’t noticed my frustration with having to perpetuate the notion that a cotton stuffed elf regularly flies back and forth to the North Pole from our house. On a flight that takes 20 hours. For the entire month of December. #KidsWillBelieveAnything

And, I saw the way you looked at me when I grumbled about having to arrange you next to Lego characters to depict an epic Star Wars battle.

Your beady little eyes can’t lie: you, too, can see that I’m slipping away from you, one candy cane at a time.

There’s never a good time to say the words I’m about to say: I am breaking up with you.

And I’m not the least bit sorry, you red felt menace.

Frankly, I’ve been waiting for 8 long years to write this letter.

If only I’d known then what I know now.

Herbie, we are so over.

It’s a relief to say those words, honestly.

In the last 8 years, you and your slap happy smirk have stared at me from various perches around house, ever reminding me that I had to participate in some ridiculous tradition because the Pinterest moms thought it would be fun.

Thanks for that, Pinterest moms. I’m sending out a big fat “WTF?” to the group of overachieving moms with too much time on their hands and a glue gun ever at the ready. Thanks to you, I’ve spent 8 Christmas seasons trying to keep up with Mrs. Claus and her perky little elves.

But, no more, Herbie.

We are finished. Don’t let the door hit you on your red felt rump on your way back to the North Pole, m’kay?

On those nights when I bolted out of bed at midnight because I’d forgotten to move your position, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t consider feeding you to the dog.

That’s right.

I was willing to risk the kids finding an Elf on The Shelf murder scene in the morning just so I could finally escape your creeper smile.

You almost made me an elf murderer, Herbie. I’m not proud of it but it’s the truth.

As long as we are being honest, I’m a least a little sorry about the time I dropped you a little too close to the fireplace while the logs were blazing. Though, when I was stomping out the embers that threatened to send you to a quick, fiery death, that was a real smile you saw on my face. #NaughtyListBitches

But, you see, Herbie, being a parent at the holidays is exhausting. The cookie baking. The school party crafting. Keeping up the “Santa is watching jig” at every damn minute of the day is no small feat.

And then there was you, Herbie.

Every day, I found myself concocting ridiculous scenarios with you as the star, all in the name of perpetuating Christmas magic for my kids.

And for what? So you could smile and get all the Christmas glory while I frantically trolled the crafty PTA moms’ Facebook pages, that’s what, you little red creep.

Remember the time you did “snow angels” in flour on the stove? That was a mess that took an hour to clean up. And you just smirked at me as I cleaned. Typical.

Oh, and how about the time you greeted the kids while suspended on a toilet paper roll swing strung between the dining room pillars? Do you have any idea how many laws of physics I had to break in order to pull that off?

No, you don’t. You can’t possibly know what you’ve done to me these last few years.

You just stared at me with your alabaster plastic skin and your eyes perpetually looking to the right. Is it too much to ask that you at least look at me in the eye while I talk to you, Herbie? Dammit, it’s the least you can do.

My kids are in on the joke now, you Buddy the Elf wannabe.

I don’t have to pretend a fat man in a red suit is going to cram himself down our chimney and bring my kids every electronic wish on their lists.

And I sure as hell don’t have to play along with you and your Elf on The Shelf shenanigans for one more minute.

So, this is me, telling you that we are so over.

We are not on a break.

In the immortal words of Taylor Swift, we are never ever ever getting back together. #HatersGonnaHate #ShakeItOff

Christmas is cancelled.

At least for you, Herbie.

And wipe that smile off your face, dammit.


A Mom Who Is Officially Done Being the Elf on The Shelf

About Christine Burke

Christine Burke is the owner of the popular parenting blog, Keeper of The Fruit Loops. Her work has been featured on the Today Show, The Girlfriend, Scary Mommy, and other parenting websites. She writes about the realities of soon sending her not-so-little -anymore kids off to college and prays she doesn’t use too many comma splices in the process.

Read more posts by Christine

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