It’s official: the elf is back. Yes, ours is one of those households tormented by the infamous elf on the shelf. For those of you who don’t know the premise, the elf on the shelf is a cute little stuffed elf who is reported to spy for Santa, keeping a close eye on who is naughty and who is nice. Ours happens to be a household in which Santa is known to be a fictional character, but still we enjoy the whimsy our elf, Doogan, brings to the household each year. More than just a jolly decoration that sits stagnant on the shelf, Doogan is known to move to a different spot overnight. The kids have fun seeking out his new hiding place each morning.
I have to admit that the elf on the shelf is a brilliant idea, even for kids who don’t believe in Santa. Our elf, Doogan, adds a bit of fun to our holiday in that he gives my little ones something to look forward to each day between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Unfortunately, Doogan isn’t all fun and games. At least, not for my husband and me. Last year I made the mistake of upping the ante; I bought into the Pinterest elf on the shelf hype and started creating elaborate, mischievous scenes in which Doogan played a starring role. Throughout the season, he was spotted ziplining through the living room, toasting a marshmallow over a tea light candle, and waging war with a handful of G.I. Joe’s beneath the Christmas tree. As if I didn’t already have my hands full enough with the gift wrapping and holiday baking, I had to go and throw in just one more chore. A nightly chore, at that.
Oh, and we went all out. In the weeks leading to Christmas last year, we staged a complicated storyline in which Doogan plotted to steal the star from atop our Christmas tree. He’d leave evidence each night in the form of illustrated plans that showed him catapulting himself to the treetop. When any given plan failed, he’d try a different method on a subsequent night. The story culminated when—on Christmas Eve—Doogan finally succeeded in making his way to the top of the tree and absconded with our star. Naughty little elf. Lucky for us, he brought it back this year. Not so lucky for us? He came back with a new plan.
It seems Doogan and our dog, Mowgli, aren’t on friendly terms. So far this season, Doogan has been spotted tormenting poor Mowgli in every way he knows how. Doogan steals Mowgli’s toys and sabotages his food and makes himself at home on Mowgli’s bed. What’s worse is that Doogan brought along an embarrassingly ridiculous elf costume and he is bound and determined to dress Mowgli in it by Christmas. Judging from his success last year, I dare say that Doogan is likely to accomplish his goal. Which can mean only one thing: I’ve really set our elf standard high for next Christmas. Wish me luck.