Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Robot Elf on the Shelf

Today my kid came home from our babysitter's house begging for an "Elf to sit on our shelf."

My sphincter puckered up when she said it. 

I'd just been gloating to the Mr. last night about how lucky we were to have dodged that particular bullet early on, since roughly 3/4 of my parent friends who have started the Elf thing in previous years had taken to my Facebook feed over the last couple of weeks to bemoan the existence of their elves and the added holiday pressure that moving them around caused them.  

I had also recently read this  article, which points out that the Elves are conditioning our kids to live under constant surveillance... which I'd honestly never considered before, but now that I have read it there is simply no way to click the "ignore" button on the concept in my mind.  Of course, this mass-surveillance concept is not logic that makes sense to a 6-year-old.  And I didn't want to just tell her the Elves were fake, since that would both kill the fun for her friends, and lead to more questions about whether or not Santa was real.  

I didn't want the entire Christmas "gig" to be up.  

So this is roughly the conversation that transpired at bedtime tonight when she brought it up again:

Kiddo:  Mom, why can't we get an Elf for our Shelf?
Me: Well, honey, the grown ups in a house have to sign a paper saying that it's ok for the Elf to come in and watch us all the time.  And mommy and daddy don't want to do that.
K:  Why not?
M:  Because we think it's kinda creepy.  Santa can already see us all to know if we're good, right?  
K:  Yes, with his magic eyeballs.  But the elf isn't creepy! He's cute he just... smiles a lot and stares at you!  *Does impression of elf face*  
M:  Well, I think that's creepy.  Besides, why would Santa need an Elf to live with us?
K:  I dunno, just to, like, help him and make it easy for Santa and things like that.  
M:  I don't think Santa really needs their help though...
K:  Yes, he does!  Elves work to make the toys and stuff, mom!  Gosh, we just watched that movie, remember?
(She had me there: We've watched Elf twice this year already.)
M:  Yeah, I know he needs them to help with toys.  But why would he need extra elves around the world like that?  And, *lowers voice to a whisper* have you ever noticed how all the elves on the shelves look exactly the same? 
K:  Yeah....
M:  Well, why do you think that is?
K:  *thinks for a while* Maybe they're actually robots?
M:  Oh yeah?  Robots?  Like robots pretending to be elves?
K:  Yes.  Like, the real elves make the pretend elves at Santa's toy shop and then make them robots and give the to people to try to make it easier for Santa to use his magic on people who don't have the shelf elves.  
M:  I bet that's exactly right!
K:  But maybe the parents just move the elves?
M:  Uh, maybe.  But if they were robots, couldn't they move if someone controlled them?
K:  YES!  So maybe someone is controlling them!
M:  See?  NOW do you think it's kind of creepy?
K:  Yeah, I think you're right.  That is SUPER creepy.  
M:  Yeah.  So if other people have elves, that's their decision.  But we don't want a creepy robot elf here, do we?
K:  No way!

And that, my friends, is how my daughter reasoned her way out an Elf on our shelf.  

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