[DISCLAIMER: this post contains some sensitive-ish information about Santa, so you might not want to let your kids read it.]

UPDATE: My daughter will be turning FOUR in a few days, and Baby Varacchi 2.0 turned six months(!) last week, so she'll be just past seven months when Christmas comes around. Still, the Varacchi household will remain elf-free.


Baby Varacchi is turning 2 in a few days, and she'll be heading into her third Christmas. Obviously when she was just a few weeks old she was completely unaware of anything; when she was 1 she lost her mind when we sat her on Santa's lap, crying and screaming and thrashing around. This year she was much calmer, even had a big smile on her face as she approached the Jolly One and sat for pictures.

By next Christmas, I'm sure she'll have a much greater understanding of who Santa Claus is, the concept of the Nice vs Naughty List, and the rest of the Christmas lore. What she will not have an understanding of, however, is the Elf on the Shelf.

I am staunchly against this "tradition" (that traces its origins way back to the golden days of yore, in 2004). I have plenty of friends who take to Facebook to share the cute locations that the Elf showed up and surprised their kids each day leading up to Christmas, and as much as I love my friends, I hate every moment of it.

elf on the shelf
Brad Barket/Getty Images

I talked about the Elf with my wife, and she agrees that it's a pointless extra layer of scaring kids into being good. I understand that the very nature of Santa is that of a narc, and the "sees you when your sleeping" bit is creepy from an adult perspective, and to be honest it might help to abolish the entire notion of only being good for the sake of getting presents, but I know that Santa is so entrenched in society there's no turning back on that. What I can turn my back on, though, is the Elf on the Shelf.

It bills itself as a "tradition", but it's nothing more than a marketing ploy, an attempt to make parents buy yet another book and doll. It doesn't even qualify as a 'toy', because the Elf comes with a warning that if touched, it will lose the magical ability to communicate with Santa. You can't even play with it! It's a stupid ugly doll that would sit in my attic from January til November, then sit in various places around my house for four weeks in December, then get thrown back in the box? Unnecessary.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be a total Scrooge - I love Christmas. I just already think holding the approval of Santa over a kid's head is enough, I don't need another spy in my house watching Baby Varacchi's every move.

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