Disclaimer: All opinions expressed in the following post are mine. Uh, that being Jessica. Rachel may or may not feel this way about The Elf on the Shelf or elves in general. In fact, I've found her to be very open-minded when it comes to the elf population. Where she stands on elf-related antics, is something you'll just have to ask her yourself.
I'm not sure what kind of excuse you could possibly give me right now for not knowing who The Elf on the Shelf is. However, just in case you've been doing a ten year orbit of the moon, I'll explain. This little toy elf, that your child names, is introduced to your family at the start of the Christmas season. Every day he or she sits in a new place in your home and watches your child's behavior. (Hmm, that sounds a little creepy when you put it that way.) At night, when your little one is sleeping, the elf flies back to Santa and reports what they've seen. The good. The bad. The mommy's lipstick all over their faces.
There are some rules. The elf cannot be touched because that will make his or her magic disappear. And, though your child can talk to the elf, the elf cannot talk to your child. One-way conversations may not be that new in your home. Especially if you have a teenager or a big football fan that lives with you.
Ok. So all that to say this. I love the elf in our house. His name is Snowman; a moniker bestowed on him by our 2 ½ year old. He has so far found himself anywhere from the windowsill in our bathroom, to hanging from the fan, to crashing Jesus's first birthday party in our nativity scene. But in a nice way.
What you will not find our elf doing is drawing on the family pictures with a sharpie. Or pulling toilet paper up the Christmas tree, molesting a Barbie doll, or any other behavior that if I found my child doing or preparing to do would only end in tears.
Now, I'm all for Snowman having some fun. Swing from a fan? Sure. My child can't get up there. Hang out with other toys and have a party? Not a problem. You get down like it's 1999, Mr. Elf. I'm not going to stop you. I am, however, going to drop-kick you to the attic if you tear up my kitchen by writing on my counters with chocolate syrup.
I think we've gotten a little off track with our elves, people. They are supposed to watch your children and help them be good. They're not there to promote naughty behavior. I mean that's a little counter-productive, don't you think? Being creative with your elf is wonderful. Giving him or her total control to terrorize your house, is not.
All I'm saying is this. If you let your elf write messages in flour, good luck justifying that time-out sentence you dished out to your little one that does the same. It's no different than when we get our Jack all riled up and then want him to calm down in an instant when we are "not playing" anymore. Well, he's still going at it, and he's two. So, his switch doesn't flip that fast.
But maybe you don't care if your elf writes on the mirror in lipstick (Do you not have paper in your house?) or the sink with toothpaste (Really, not even a post-it note or something?). Maybe you don't mind cleaning up after a magical toy that makes your child be good (you hope) while being bad (good luck). My little guy doesn't need any ideas. He can do bad all by himself.