Christmas Elf - am I the only one who's not doing it?!

(59 Posts)
landofmakebelieve Tue 27-Aug-13 23:52:36

I keep seeing threads on here and other parenting forums about little elves coming to stay and bringing with them lots of activities from the North Pole or wherever for all the small people to do.
Then I read the said threads and think, blimey, that sounds like a lot of work!
I wrote about Christmas Elves here: castawaywithdreams.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/a-christmas-elf-coming-to-stay-er-no/
Am I alone in thinking all of this?!
I'm a regular on the boards but name change for blog posts threads as they will 'out' me! smile

ValiumQueen Wed 28-Aug-13 04:27:57

I do not do it, but not because of the work it entails. I do the a activities anyway via an advent calendar. We do not push the Santa thing. No fat bloke with a beard is going to take credit for my hard earned cash grin and the elves are part of that. We choose to focus more on the nativity.

One of the things I do not like about the elves is that they spy on the kids and report back to Santa. I also do not like lying to my kids.

I know I may well get flamed for my viewpoint, but please be gentle with me. I am just a mum trying to give my kids the best start in life I can. I never believed in Santa as a child, and do not feel I missed out at all. My MIL hates me for this and undermines me at every turn, telling the kids I am wrong, lying etc. DH is supportive of me.

WaitingForMe Wed 28-Aug-13 05:12:09

I think the "work" depends on your attitude (I don't do it new). I was impressed when a friend said she planned to embroider stockings for her kids - making my own mincemeat is just a bit of chopping and stirring, sewing is hard work! She said it was something to do when watching TV and standing stove side was hard work.

I do a lot for Christmas but only because I enjoy it. All visitors get homemade mince pies in December because I find making pastry calming and I love the smell. It's only a lot of effort if it feels like effort.

StupidFlanders Wed 28-Aug-13 05:23:17

I don't and trust me when I say I embrace most over the top Xmas traditions gladly! (I have already began prep work for my Xmas table and light display and am nearly wetting my pants with excitement!)

To me it just doesn't seem right and I can't bring myself to do it. Maybe because, although I actually avoid ever saying that Santa is real, it's pretty obvious that the elf is orchestrated by the parents so it removes some magic. But that's just me.

Also my dcs did believe that if there was an insider reporting back to Santa about their behaviour they'd be off the present list many times over.

And I just think meh when I see/hear about the "crazy" situations people dream up for them.

StupidFlanders Wed 28-Aug-13 05:27:50

valium actually sums it up well (except I don't mention the nativity part at all). My oldest ds said when he was 3 "as if someone could deliver presents to all the children in the world". He still loves christmas though and people are shocked that I never try to convince him of santas existence.

kiwik Wed 28-Aug-13 05:36:53

Nope, I don't do it either. Last year loads of friends all did it - and DS1 was most confused when told by a friend that Buddy Elf would tell Santa on him. (Partly as we have Father Christmas in our house too.)

It's not the activities or effort involved, but more the fact that I don't want my children to grow up thinking that they have to modify their behaviour due to promises of presents. I want them to behave in an appropriate manner all the time, rather than be bribed to do so or threatened that they won't get presents. Thankfully it's working ok for us so far.

We don't, can't be arsed mainly, but we live in UsA where EVERYONE does it so I'm sure at some point the DC will ask why we don't have an elf.

I haven't started "FC won't bring you presents if you're naughty" but we do use FC for the stocking...all presents under the tree are very clearly labelled as being from the people who spent time and money getting them!

DS is 5 in October, I'm trying to involve him present making and buying this year so he doesn't think it's a day all about him getting presents, sanctimoniously hoping the giving of gifts to each other will override a need to be good to get material possessions

Besid, I have chocolate and cake to bribe him with, I don't need an elf as well

Downfall Wed 28-Aug-13 09:11:55

No flaming at all Valium! I'm not even sure why I'm on a Christmas topic... I really don't like the endless indulging kids with gifts in anticipation of the gifts in anticipation of the gifts... so I clearly do not do the elf or the xmas eve hamper, in fact I have to hide those threads as they make me squirm.

We enjoy christmas as a family tradition, but the santa magic is hugely overdone, IMHO...

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Wed 28-Aug-13 09:20:45

We dont do it. Getting DCs a big advent calender each this year and going to put little presents, christmassy jokes and "tickets" to christmassy things to do (parties, santas grotto, making decorations etc) and sweets on the other days.

The elves thing sounds even more work!

Agree with ValiumQueen in that I dont want Santa to take all the credit! I do all the hard work [pouts] Santa brings the stocking presents and whatever the (one present) is they ask for and we (the parents) give the rest. Inlaws insist that the massive sack of stuff they give the kids was dropped off at their house by mistake by Santa hmm fabulous but would rather DCs thank the right people for what theyve got!

BiddyPop Wed 28-Aug-13 10:53:39

I didn't hear about it really until DD was already aware of Santa, and she remembers EVERYTHING!! We already had a fabric advent calendar that my Mum had made, and she gets a chocolate figure every day and something else every day too (a free colouring sheet from the net, a promise of an outing, a suggestion for a craft project, a reminder that today is the day to tidy her room, and occasionally a small toy or mini jigsaw). It's not actually that much work (I have a list of ideas which is a lot longer than 24, plenty of printables, and DD is also happy to laugh at me the odd time she has to remind me to fill it in the morning rather than me having done it the night before - she has always known Calendar was me).

However, I like the idea of the elves. So I am holding on to the ideas I have gotten since I first heard about them, with the plan that when DD is no longer a believer in Santa, the Elves will arrive.

We will always do stockings (my grown up siblings who sleep "at home" on Christmas Eve still have to put theirs out for Dad to fill with sweets, fruit and a book - the change he made when I got too old as the eldest, but with a 10 year gap to the youngest, I could not suddenly get nothing!) - but I intend that DH and I will get one as well then and we can all be involved in filling them.

And I think that the mischief that the Elves get up to will be something that DD will be interested and excited in. She is another Christmas Nut (like me) - her birthday is Boxing Day, so it is an important time of the year for her. And routines and traditions are also important to her, so changing things are ok once there is some form of continuity. So I think it will go down well in maybe 2-3 years time.

BiddyPop Wed 28-Aug-13 11:01:29

Santa only brings what is in her stocking or a big present right beside that. Everything else comes from the true giver. And there is always a present from "Mum and Dad" under the tree as well, to open with all the other presents.

And while we do have Santa, we also talk a lot about the Christmas story and focus on the needs of others quite a bit too (some of the Advent Calendar activities include bringing old toys and clothes to the charity shop, buying a present for the local "giving tree", getting things in supermarket to include in hampers at school for local families in need and a few other things like that).

I would see that the Elves would continue some of that too, while getting into mischief a few mornings. And I certainly don't think the Elves will be here spying, even if they did come before Santa belief has diminished. We already talk about Santa knowing everything, but also Holy God seeing everything and reminding ourselves to always use our "kind hands, kind words and kind heart".

(And that comes from someone who is rather more on the lapsed side of religion - but aiming to instill a decent moral code to live by, as much as the religious aspect of it).

MERLYPUSS Wed 28-Aug-13 16:23:08

We have an elf. 1st time last year. He brings the chocolate advent calendar and doesnt do a lot else apart from hide over night so DT2 can find him. DT2 is very gullible and will believe most things but knows the elf doesnt hide himself. I just thought they would enjoy the anticipation of his arrival. And they did.

Actually I do quite like the idea of them moving and hiding and set up to be doing mischievous things without having to spy or bring presents

tacal Wed 28-Aug-13 18:54:38

I found out about elf on the shelf last year from mumsnet. I thought it sounded great so order one from amazon. Big mistake! DS was really scared and hated the elf. I also got the dvd which made him cry (the bit where the boy touches the elf and the elf has to go to hospital). Dont think I will try anything new this year.

I don't, scary looking thing for a startgrin secondly I suck at remembering things therefore he would be the laziest damn elf ever and the kids would either fire him or suss when he didn't move for a few days. plus the whole concept really freaks me out. I turn furbies to face the wall because the eyes give me the heebie jeebiesgrin.

I think the idea is ok if it's just the elf turning up and hiding etc (although we don't do it) it's when the elf brings presents with it that it becomes all too much. Especially as people on mn seem to like to do elf presents on 1st dec, followed by playmobil/ Lego as event calendar, followed by presents on Christmas Day. Last year I thought to myself, " they'll be doing Boxing Day presents soon." And lo and behold, someone was talking about Boxing Day presents...

Don't get me wrong, I'm not tight and I looooove Christmas, it just all seems a bit much...

BiddyPop Wed 28-Aug-13 22:23:12

Whispers...^we do Boxing Day presents, but they are for DD as it's her birthday^. Rofl

StupidFlanders Thu 29-Aug-13 00:11:45

supermario made me laugh!

do you not think it looks like something out of a chucky filmgrin anything with weird eyes is not allowed. I can see poor elfin weirdo ending up face down in the vegetable drawer and that's no life for anyone

Brockle Thu 29-Aug-13 09:29:22

a friend of mine tells her daughter that all of her presents are from Santa. even presents from friends and family. she gets really pissed off if friends give her presents for her Dd in front of her dd because she thinks her ff will realise. she seemed surprised that we didn't do this but it seems off to me. does anyone else do this?

we do Santa but I actually wish we hadn't as it is hard work and I am liking the charade less and less!

I definitely won't be doing the Christmas elf.

over here he brings a present for their bed usually something below £10. fills the stockings and thats him done smile

gintastic Thu 29-Aug-13 09:38:46

I had never even heard of it until now. I will not be doing it! We have an advent calendar that tells the Christmas Story and a candle that we burn at tea time to count down.

I honestly have too much else to do without worrying about an elf.

my dog likes to chew things too. doubt the kids would be too pleased to come down and find that their furry friend had eaten santas key worker shock

Lol biddypop I think that's a valid excuse!

MERLYPUSS Fri 30-Aug-13 08:48:48

Our elf is a de-sexed strawberry shortcake rag doll from the bootsale so not expensive or scary. Last year 'he' brought £1 shop advent calendars and hid around the house/up the xmas tree etc. He doesn't bring presents. FC does the stockings and lets mum and dad know what we have to buy so they are from us. I do an xmas Eve gift of new pjs and dvd to keep them away from kitchen and we have a family time before it kicks off the next day from some unearthly hour. We also do boxing day pressies as we go to my sister (she comes to us xmas day) and the kids have hers. With other relations split throught xmas week so it is not bedlam on the big day. This year we are not doing presents for extended family. We are doing lucky dip, filled h/m crackers, pass the parcel and the gifts are bingo tickets which relate to pressies that have been bought in the sales in Jan before. I have great craft stuff for boys, dove travel kits and kitchen stuff.

SoupDragon Fri 30-Aug-13 08:51:16

Personally, I think people over complicate Christmas and that hte elf is a load of crap.

MirandaWest Fri 30-Aug-13 08:52:06

I don't do Christmas elf partly because I am lazy and don't want to think up things for an elf to do. Also I am always away with work at the beginning of December and then have intensive work I do from the middle of December until middle of January and fitting an elf in as well would finish me off I think grin

MirandaWest Fri 30-Aug-13 08:52:24

Or what SoupDragon said grin

BankerMommy2010 Mon 02-Sep-13 07:52:56

Were having an elf this year!!!! He is arriving on the 1st December and will bring ds advent calendar & a dvd (elf on the shelf dvd) hopefully that will explain the elfs job without me having to, I love the magic of Christmas & remember when I used to believe as a child, the excitement on Christmas eve. ..it wasn't even about the presents, I just loved the magic & build up and used to spend Christmas eve asking 'where is santa now' and gazing up at the sky to catch a glimpse.... kids need a bit of magic to get lost in I think, I was never angry at my mom & dad for lying to me about father Christmas. ... just greatful I got to experience believing!

BankerMommy2010 Mon 02-Sep-13 08:00:15

In our house santa delivers all of the presents, but they arent off santa, hes just the courier for our family & friends. .. we just order from santa and he makea them and delivers!

feelthis Mon 02-Sep-13 08:03:31

I really think it is a lot of nonsense and as we do a very light version of santa (stockings only presents from real people) it just doesn't fit in for me - would feel a total fraud!

My home-made Elf is a rather jazzily dressed Liam Neeson/ Hannibal from the A-Team doll (must add a few more sequins to his outfit this year)

We do it as a lighthearted thing. My DC will be 14 and 11.6 so I don't feel I'm conning them. They've been "Santa Savvy" for many years.

DS has a "What The Jeff" moment when he finds Elf in the fridge grin

70 I quite like the idea of doing it when the DC are older but for now I'm steering clear of the elf

Rubybrazilianwax Thu 05-Sep-13 08:54:09

We love the elf in our house and DH and I have had some giggles late at night coming up with places for him to appear. I don't move him every single night though, just when I remember. I have to confess to being a complete Christmas fanatic though and I love anything to do with magic or imagination when it involves the dc. I have also been known to be out in the dark sprinkling glitter over fairy houses in the garden as evidence the fairies had visited blush

fuzzpig Thu 05-Sep-13 09:40:56

I like reading about it on here, seeing what people think up, but we don't do it ourselves. The only elf involvement is that on 24th Dec, new jammies (and perhaps an Xmas book or tree dec) are delivered at bedtime. Last year as we were out all day I arranged them on the stairs with glitter leading up from the door, so we found them when we got home (although DD, 5, got briefly upset as she thought she had missed Christmas confused). There is no actual elf though IYSWIM, we just said the first time "ooh look the elves have delivered something" and that was enough <lazy>

With the Santa thing (always a controversial bun fight thread on MN when it gets nearer Xmas!) we didn't particularly do anything, but when DD heard about it from nursery we played along in a low key way - we do the cookies/carrot before bed, and he fills the stockings and brings one main surprise present. We've never done letters, grotto etc (DD is very shy anyway). I'm not entirely sure if DD - now 6 - really believes or is just playing along. She is quite literal in many ways and has often said things like "ghosts/vampires/whatever aren't real are they mummy, they are just fiction".

I figured it out when I was about 4 or 5 I think - my mum put a note in the pouch of a cuddly kangaroo saying "please look after me" - bless her, she had even changed her handwriting, but I recognised the (slightly dry and scratchy) felt tip she had used! I felt smug rather than sad I think. With my DCs if they ask if he's real, I will say "what do you think?" and if they say yes I will continue playing along, if they say no then I will say they are correct, well done for figuring it out etc, but that it's fun to make believe and we still can if they want. This thread has reminded me I must talk to DH about this to make sure we take the same approach.

Sorry I have totally diverted from the subject there haven't I hmm. Anyway. I like the idea of the elf but I don't think it really suits us. We tend to keep things quite low key and I don't like too much build up throughout early December as I get worn out. They get chocolate advent calendars but I might get a wooden one if I see a nice/affordable one. Would probably still mostly be chocolate in it though.

Ragwort Thu 05-Sep-13 09:44:47

I've never done it, never even heard of it apart from on Mumsnet grin - like a lot of things actually, I often wonder if Mumsnet is a separate universe sometimes.

I enjoy the preparations for Christmas, crafts, baking, carol services, nativity plays shoebox appeals etc but I loathe the 'commercialisation' about it all and the fact that so much is about the presents, instead of focussing on the true meaning of Christmas. smile

BankerMommy2010 Thu 05-Sep-13 21:40:11

I cant believe so many parents aren't bothered about the whole santa thing... I love this part of Christmas with kids and the magic that surrounds it, I guess some littke ratbag at school will tell him "santa isn't real cuz his mom and dad told him so' ill be peed off big time.... these parents that dont care if there kids believe should consider this, as some family's do like the magic Christmas of Christmas hes only 3 so im going to enjoy it while I can! Don't get me wrong were a Catholic family, were not overly religious... my I make sure my son knows the real meaning of Christmas

fuzzpig Fri 06-Sep-13 14:43:15

That's a bit of a leap there banker, just because a child doesn't believe doesn't mean they will ruin it for others. I will definitely be telling my DD when she realises (I think it may be this year) that it is something fun to play along with and she must remember that her little brother and her friends might still believe so she can't go round telling people. She hates upsetting people so I'm sure she will be careful when the time comes smile

BankerMommy2010 Sat 07-Sep-13 16:47:48

Im not saying all parents, but some have said on here, that they dont like to lie to their child, which is fine, each to their own, but ive heard other friends who have older children complaining that other children are telling them santa isnt real 'cuz their mom/dad told them' I know we cant lead our kids on forever, but reading these threads has made me realise not everyone does santa... it never occurred to mr there would be small kids that weren't led to believe... not having a go, just saying. Id like to at least enjoy the magic for a few years yet!

jamtoast12 Sat 07-Sep-13 17:01:22

Banker

I agree. My friend is a bit like this and I get the impression she can't wait to tell her child Santa isn't real! I think she finds the Santa thing an effort etc. I've already told her that ill be very cross if her dd tells my dd he's not real! My dd is 8 and I know kids in her age group can be very mean and love nothing more than spoiling the magic, especially if there are one or two who are aware at the same time. We go overboard on the whole Santa thing and she very much believes as do all the kids in her class....but I'm well aware it'll only take one!

Theimpossiblegirl Sat 07-Sep-13 17:21:03

My DDs know but wouldn't dream of spoiling it for anyone else. My eldest knew last year but her sister only realised after figuring out the tooth fairy. They are 10 & 12.

They both want to do the whole thing anyway, as part of the magic of Christmas (that and the whole getting more presents thing). We will still be doing stockings, Elf on the Shelf, PNP videos, making a runway on Christmas Eve and tracking Santa on Norad for many years to come.

H2Ointolerant Sat 07-Sep-13 17:24:43

Just feels like huge overkill to me.

Christmas is exciting enough as it is I reckon.

<scrooge-ish>

jamtoast12 Sat 07-Sep-13 17:25:41

That's great that you got them to 10! I hope to do the same as mine are 8&6. I think if they find out when colder, they understand more about the importance of not spoiling it for younger kids. I think the problem is when kids of 4-7 find out as they are not as mature. Plus often they love the fact they know something their friends don't!

H2Ointolerant Sat 07-Sep-13 17:25:59

Oh yes and I cannot COPE with those that insist on labelling all presents from santa. I'd snatch mine back if I got wind of anyone I knew doing it. I want the credit thanks very much grin

jamtoast12 Sat 07-Sep-13 17:26:17

When older not colder!

Theimpossiblegirl Sat 07-Sep-13 18:15:12

In our house, Santa does the stockings and a couple of surprises, everything else is from us. DD said (after finding out) that it was better knowing because it makes you realise how much your parents do for you. Made me smile (and shed a proud tear).
smile

BankerMommy2010 Sat 07-Sep-13 20:49:18

Nothing is from santa in our house, mommy daddy friends and family order from santa (and pay for it) and santa delivers it x

My DC have known for years.
I know my DS was told by NDN daughter when he was about 6yo. I asked him to play along for the sake of DD. Which he did

Now they play along for my benefit but of course they know.

DS will ask for a game for his X-Box, or something for his PC (or an iPhone hmm )and says "Father Christmas will bring it" (cheeky glint in his eye)
"No" I tell him "he brings toys made of wood and nails. Not iPhones".

And I want at least some of the credit.

SugarHut Sun 08-Sep-13 21:19:27

I have to say, IMHO, the Elf concept is just that step too far.

Let me be the first to say I'm a Christmas obsessive. Panto already booked, cake already designed, most presents purchased already. Walk in wardrobe dedicated to Christmas ribbons, wrapping paper and decs. I adore Christmas. I do 1st Dec hampers for all the women in the family as a relaxation present for the festive period, and Christmas Eve hampers....both of which, frankly are massive overkill, but I LOVE giving presents and can't help myself.

When we already have FC watching during the year for who's good and been bad, and who delivers the presents/stockings, I think the idea of another North Pole character, essentially a spy for December to bring more stuff and report back to FC is just a little too much...and that's coming from me smile Soon the Elf will be merely expected and we'll find ourselves strategically placing Rudolph's around the garden to step it up a gear.

I remember at Easter, seeing Easter Crackers in the supermarket, and thinking, bloody hell, that's just going too far and losing the whole old fashioned loveliness. I think Monsieur Elf smacks a little of that...

<< awaits torrent of bah humbug disagreement ;) >>

UniS Sun 08-Sep-13 21:41:44

nope- not dong it here either. got quite enough stuff to do in dec with out that one. DS has an advent calender, we start decorating the house early dec and just carry on till christmas day gently making and adding stuff.

Iwantacat Sun 08-Sep-13 22:05:17

Not doing it!! My DD has autism and would be distraught if she touched it or when it leaves to go back to the North Pole! TBH I don't like giving them the idea that its watching them and reporting back to Father Christmas.

tacal Tue 10-Sep-13 17:49:58

Iwantacat my ds has recently been diagnosed with autism. I did not know he had autism last Christmas when I decided to introduce elf on the shelf. He was distraught when he touched the elf and also could not stop crying when the boy in the elf on the shelf dvd touched the elf. I feel like such a bad parent. This year there will be no elf!

elQuintoConyo Tue 10-Sep-13 21:57:52

Pile of wank. Creepy-looking tattle tale.

Advent calendar with little chocolate/family activity/crafty thing to do
Stocking
Presents
Tree
Decorations
Tradtional food (bar solid farts sprouts)
Family
Cold and snuggly
= enough

No Christmas hamper, either. Present and stress overload - no thanks.

skyeskyeskye Tue 10-Sep-13 22:32:31

Not doing it. Never heard if it before MN. Nobody round here does it, or the Christmas hamper.

My DD is 5yo and the Christmas traditions that I have done every year are:

Reading The Night Before Christmas every Christmas Eve
New pair of pyjamas mainly so looks ok in photos next morning.
Leaving a mince pie and milk for Santa

elQuintoConyo Wed 11-Sep-13 13:33:34

Also, I'm in Catalunya where kids have a log that 'shits' sweets and presents on Christmas eve, when kids hit it a stick.
Caga Tio = shitting log.

elQuintoConyo Wed 11-Sep-13 13:35:08

with a stick

GlobalWarning Wed 11-Sep-13 13:41:38

We do it but in our own style. The elf isn't here to watch them. He just comes and causes havoc a couple of times a week. It's great fun thinking of things for him to do. We are in our third year this year. He sometimes leaves little presents. Not just for the kids. He left me wine so has been invited back.

TheYamiOfYawn Wed 11-Sep-13 13:46:52

We do it, but with a very tasteful elf who isn't a spy. She comes to visit us to learn all about how Christmas is celebrated, and leaves little notes with ideas for activities (choosing some things to give to a charity shop, giving to a bfood bank, tidying up, making a bird feeder, that sort of thing).

MadeOfStarDust Thu 12-Sep-13 15:35:56

Nope.... here Christmas is the day - presents, family, feasting and a film on telly.... We have an advent calendar and that is about as far as we go to acknowledge Christmas beforehand....

The Elf wasn't invented til the storybook in the noughties, not like it is a great tradition or anything... just seems another way to wind up the kids pre-christmas and get more folks to spend more money.....

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