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I told DD the elf on the shelf was moved around by parents not magic, I think I'm about to become a social pariah

(142 Posts)
R0nJ0n Thu 03-Dec-15 13:33:18

I don't do the elf on the shelf. What other people do with elves is none of my business, but I personally find the whole thing a bit forcing Christmas magic overkill, and the elves are damn creepy.

DD, aged nearly 8, was asking me about the elf on the shelf this morning as she'd heard about it at school. From time to time I set some of her cuddly toys up in amusing tableauxs while she's at school. There's no pretence it happens by magic, she knows I do it, so I told her the elf was kind of like that and at night a mum or dad puts the elf in a silly situation for the children to find in the morning. After a bit of grumbling about why don't we have an elf (because they freak me out a little and life's too short being the answer) the subject was dropped.

Several hours later I was in Asda and it suddenly hit me, I'd told DD the elves weren't magic, but I didn't tell her to keep that to herself. She's not the sort of child who'd maliciously spoil the magic for others, but she is a pedantic little thing who likes to correct people when they're wrong. Added to this several parents of her classmates take the elf very seriously indeed, they go the full monty with special North Pole breakfasts when the creepy wee buggers arrive, and compose highly elaborate scenarios for him (Is it a boy?) to be found in.

By tommorow morning I'm going to be on the receiving end of some cat's bum mouths, aren't I?

CousinChloe Thu 03-Dec-15 13:37:22

I know I'm just about to be even more vilified when I explain to my 2 year old that Santa is a really fun game that we play, where we pretend he's coming, but actually it's mummies and daddies who fill the stockings. I'm going to wait til AFTER the Christmas party where he's coming, so hopefully she won't be in a situation of blurting it out, but I'm not prepared to have how our family's Christmas traditions work dictated to by others.

But I will tell her how important it is that we never tell anyone it's just a game and we keep playing it with all the other children.

And I totally agree with you about the creepiness of the elves!

SoupDragon Thu 03-Dec-15 13:39:21

But I will tell her how important it is that we never tell anyone

Yes, because that's guaranteed to work with a 2 year old.

You are kidding yourself.

Whatsinaname2011 Thu 03-Dec-15 13:40:45

I'm the same I've told my children that some people believe in God but that he's not real it's just something their parents have told them.

The whole world will never agree on every belief so whatever your child believes will be questioned at some point.

poorbuthappy Thu 03-Dec-15 13:41:26

My eldest dd worked out the santa myth at 7/8. We had a chat and I also forgot to tell her not to tell anyone else.

When I did remember to tell her she responded with, "how about I promise not to tell anyone else?"


Floggingmolly Thu 03-Dec-15 13:45:22

You're going to tell your 2 year old that Santa doesn't exist... What a joyful charmer you arenot

MaryPoppinsPenguins Thu 03-Dec-15 13:49:15

If your two year old told my children Santa wasn't real... I'd be 100% pissed off. I really wouldn't do that if I were you.

NewBallsPlease00 Thu 03-Dec-15 13:51:03

At 2 you could say nothing... Pretty sure they're happy with simple explanations - I say that having a very questionable inquisitive one myself

spritefairy Thu 03-Dec-15 14:02:05

Bloody hell. What is wrong with kids believing in magic now days?
If your child told my 2year old Santa is not real I would be livid. Let kids be kids.

Sorry for de-railing op

JohnCusacksWife Thu 03-Dec-15 14:10:45

Never even occurred to me to suggest the flipping elves were real! I'm afraid I can't work up much concern that my kids may have let the secret slip. And I agree they're v creepy.

INeedACheeseSlicer Thu 03-Dec-15 14:11:34

I think you are overthinking it with the two year old.

Do you preface every game you play with an explanation about how you are only pretending? Or tell them every book is just a story before you read it?

You really don't need to do that with a two year old, surely. It's like picking up a doll and rather than saying "Ooh, I think dolly needs a cuddle, she's sad", saying "Ooh, let's play a really fun game, I'll tell you dolly is sad and needs a cuddle, only she doesn't really, because she's just a doll, and isn't real, it's just a game."

CuppaBiccieBliss Thu 03-Dec-15 14:12:55

Well, a girl in dds class (they are 6) tried to tell dd and her friends that the elf isn't real. Dd piped up and told her that if she didn't have an elf she mustn't be good enough and on the naughty list blush
After a long chat with her (and much laughter from us) we had to explain that not everybody believes in the same things. If someone told her santa wasn't real, especially a 2 year old I would be highly pissed off.

NicoleWatterson Thu 03-Dec-15 14:13:54

I do elf and I'd be pretty annoyed at the magic being spoilt (not to mention my planning and spreadsheets!!). The answer to mine when they ask 'why x hasn't got an elf' is that some people have them some don't, it's simple no magic or bullshit. Some at their school have snowmen or reindeers, so it's all different in different houses.

BigginsforPope Thu 03-Dec-15 14:16:19

Lots of families don't believe Santa is real. It is not a crime you know.

CousinChloe Thu 03-Dec-15 14:16:55

Sorry, I didn't mean to derail the thread OP. I appreciate just because Santa is more mainstream (at the moment!) than Elf on the Shelf that people are going to feel more strongly about the former than the latter. And because an 8 year old has more chance of keeping quiet.

But we're not doing it to be joyless, we'd rather be open about it from the word go in our family rather than having the trauma of a discovery at some later date. And if my 2 year old "tells" your 2 year old that, then surely you'll just laugh it off with some comment about how Sanga doesn't visit those who don't believe or something?

Exactly as whatsinaname says, my 2 year old will probably be told her belief in God is untrue by some other child soon - I can't be livid with that child's parents for theming their child what they actually believe can I?

CousinChloe Thu 03-Dec-15 14:17:18

*telling. Stupid autocorrect

BessieBlount Thu 03-Dec-15 14:18:12

Why would you tell your 2yr old that? shock
IMO, it's nasty and spiteful. That beautiful magical awe that they experience between about 2 and 6. Why would you deny your child that. Why?

BessieBlount Thu 03-Dec-15 14:20:16

And my eldest 2 boys are 12&10. Both past the age of believing. There was no trauma here and both love keeping the magic going for their younger siblings.

R0nJ0n Thu 03-Dec-15 14:21:38

Some of the parents I know definitely pretend that the elves are real, and the whole thing is a big deal to them.

It wouldn't bother me if DD came home from school saying Father Christmas isn't real either, she kind of knows anyway, I've just never said it outright although I am going to make sure after this Christmas she knows I know she knows it's me iyswim. She's nearly eight and in year three though, I do think two is a bit young for officially telling. Even if you don't want to do the whole Santa thing I don't think at that age they really need any explanation of where their stocking came from.

WipsGlitter Thu 03-Dec-15 14:26:01

First off a two year old has no real concept of Santa (or God!) anyway.

Second I don't know anyone who as an adult now says they were 'traumatized' when they found out there as no Santa.

If you put up a tree, buy presents, send cards, pull crackers, eat turkey, do stockings or have an elf on the shelf your traditions are already being dictated by others!

But I think you know you are being smug provocative.

CousinChloe Thu 03-Dec-15 14:29:59

Bessie -
Partly because I'm a Christian who wants my DD to believe what I'm telling her about Jesus, not think it's just another fairy tale that everyone stops believing in when they grow up. (I appreciate that she may not believe and I'm not able to / wanting to control that, but I want her to know that when I'm telling her something like this that I mean it, not that I might mean it for a few years and then not any longer).

Partly because I don't like the way that Santa can be used as some kind of graceless God substitute, who knows everything you do and rewards you or not depending on your behaviour (and this is not how the real God acts, biblical Christianity as I understand it is about a God who gives us undeserved favour).

Partly because I do remember being really upset when I found out he doesn't exist, crying myself to sleep that Christmas Eve and having the whole next day seem so flat and empty.

Partly because I don't think the magic of Christmas relies on a belief in Santa - you're together with family, enjoying food and presents and traditions and games (and for us, remembering Jesus' birth) - I just think we'll be able to have a great Christmas from the outset without bringing Sana into it.

But sorry OP, this has really derailed it now. Shall we leave the Santa topic and go back to Elf on the Shelf?

HeteronormativeHaybales Thu 03-Dec-15 14:30:32

I really don't understand why some parents get so very angry and upset, as if personally offended, at even the thought of their children finding out about Santa/FC. I've never put up a great pretence, and my kids know it's us (partly because we live in a country where most dc get presents on the afternoon of the 24th, but have retained the Brit way). I'm sure they still have a lovely and, yes, 'magical' time playing along. There is a lot of oppressiveness in some of the uses and abuses of the Santa myth (and I include EotS among those), very little of them in the spirit of the original St Nicholas, and I'venver been keen to enter into it too wholeheartedly. The degree of some people's invstment in the belief of their children feels a little oppressive too.

randomcatname Thu 03-Dec-15 14:30:56

The thing is two year olds WANT to believe. They love it. I think you're letting yourself in for a helluva lot of awkward conversations, CousinChloe. Apart from your child's immediate circle, have you any idea how many random friendly people in the street like to ask children if Santa was good to them? I foresee a lot of unnecessary grief in your future with regards this.

CousinChloe Thu 03-Dec-15 14:32:37

You're right Wips, I did know it was provocative, was trying to reassure the OP that she's not the only "killjoy" around and I'll be far worse.

Genuinely happy to go back to Elf on the Shelf discussion.

CousinChloe Thu 03-Dec-15 14:37:32

Random - you might well be right. That's why we're going to try to hold the line of it ring a game which we all play, including us, and so we'll have stockings etc which we pretend are from Santa, but that it's not really real. It may well end up too confusing and not the perfect solution. But we'll give it a go and see.

How old do you reckon most Elf on the Shelf-ers outgrow it? Has it been around long enough in this country to have a strong enough believing community established among 8 year olds plus?

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