Saturday, December 7, 2013

Stop The (Elf) hate!

I'm 39 years old and it's a little after 1 am on a Friday night. No, I haven't been out for a night on the town. I am, however, patiently waiting for the cookies our elves are making to finish so I can complete their project for tonight.  Yes, I am "one of those" over achieving elf people.

Since the elves have returned to families across the world this past week, Facebook has blown up with people complaining about them.  For every 1 post I see of an elf I easily see 15 of people complaining.

It's equally the same in the blogging world, for each blog I read that happily talks of elf antics there are 10 more rambling on about what a waste of time these elves are.

All I can say is STOP.  Seriously, please stop.  Leave the elves alone.  Move on with your lives and let go of this negativity and hate.

Don't get me wrong, not everyone has negative intentions.  Some of my friends simply don't want an elf, some are a bit freaked out by them and some - believe it or not - don't even realize they exist but are still supportive of their friends and family who do have elves.  Others take a very humorous approach to the Elf life, positioning their elves in "naughty" or illegal ways (I admit, I am very amused with these!).

It's the bashing and complaining that have pushed me to write tonight while I wait for our cookies to bake.  I really don't understand it.  You don't like the elves?  Ok. I don't recall anyone saying you had to.  You are offended by them because they "don't teach the real meaning of Christmas"?  Well, that's pretty judgmental and jumping to conclusions.  I know many elf loving families who also light the Advent candles each night and discuss the upcoming celebration of the birth of Jesus. I also know many elf loving families who believe Santa is the meaning of Christmas.  We live in a world where that's a choice and doing what works for your family should be most important. But the bottom line is - you don't know.  You don't know what else we discuss in our homes and it's saddening to see people who claim they would never have an Elf on the Shelf because it distracts from the meaning of Christmas hold themselves to a higher standard, judging those who have an elf - without knowing what people do privately or accepting that another family may have different beliefs.  The last time I checked that was the exact opposite of what God wanted me to do and be.

Religion aside - I'd really like those who feel the need to complain about the elves to stop and realize one thing... the one reason people like myself do this - our children.  You are criticizing, making fun of and disliking people for putting extra effort (and sometimes extreme lengths) into doing something that will brighten their child's day.

Yes.  That is exactly what you are doing.  You are angry at people for making their children happy, for creating a fun magical moment in time for their child, for being an involved parent.  Do you feel better about yourself now?  You've complained enough to take away some of the joy people have in doing an activity to make their own children happy.  Wow, good job. Pat your back.... Sigh.

You may not want to admit it but once you step back and read it, even if you refuse to admit it, you know it's true.

I have never met an Elf person who said to others "you HAVE to do this" or you "have to be an over achiever" if you do.  I've never met anyone who has an elf say that their family and friends have to like or approve of what they do.  There is a reason for that, do you know what it is?  Here, I will tell you -  we do not do it for you.  No, really, we don't.  We are doing it for our children.

Oh, I know where your mind is going... then why do we insist on sharing it on Social Media?  That is simple, because no matter how simple or how elaborate, we know we have just done something that our children will freak over when they see.  We wait with eager anticipation each morning to see their faces light up and know we have just brought something fun and positive to their world. And we want to share that excitement, that happiness, that idea because good is contagious too.

And it's not easy, it's not easy to keep thinking up new ideas - this allows us a way to share our experience, tips and advice with others who are looking for something to do.  Ah, yes, we share.

During a long overdue conversation with my BFF, she brought up the recent postings of a series of pictures with dinosaurs who "came to life each night" while the children slept and did many of the things our elves do.  Everyone raved over how awesome this was, how it sparked imagination, creativity and bonding.  Somehow that was ok... but the Elf on the Shelf who does the very same thing - is unacceptable. I can only hang and shake my head at this "logic".

I have friends who have angels or move wise men instead of elves, do you know what I think about that?  Brilliant!!  Seriously, brilliant, unique and - same outcome.  You have made your children happy.  I absolutely love it!

In all honesty - I do not have time for our Elves.  I don't.  I don't have time to shower most day let alone figure out what these two elves will do next.  But, I make it happen for my children.  Will they be better off in life because of it?  Doubtful.  Will they have a better childhood than someone who's parents didn't have an Elf?  Not likely.  Will they have memories, unique and special to our family that will last a life time?  Yes.  And that is what matters to me.

We live in hard, harsh, scary world and 5 days a week I have to send my children out into it.  I can't protect them from everything. I can't keep them young forever.  But I can bring joy, creativity, imagination, and laughter into each day and if from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve I sleep a little less to bring 2 elves to life - I am doing it.

I'll even enjoy that I get to do it longer than most.  As those who know me are aware, my children both were born with Fragile X Syndrome, an intellectual disability that affects Parker significantly more than Allison yet both have major challenges to over come every single day.  If saw their faces light up just one morning from the elves - you would be here each night up after 1 am to make it happen again the next day too.

My children have enough challenges.  EVERYONE has enough challenges.  So, let's stop.  Stop with the negativity.  Stop with the whining.  Stop with the elf hate.  Remember, it's just as easy to compliment as it is to complain.  And if you can't - remember, you don't have to say anything either.  Do you really feel better after complaining about people doing something fun for their kids?  You may not realize but in that same amount of time, you could have shared something positive about your children, yourself or someone you know.

We have many, many elf days left in this month.  I hope that even if you aren't a fan of the elves, you chose to be a fan of people creating wonderful memories with their children, sparking imagination and most of all starting a child's day with happiness and a smile.

Maybe if we all put a little more effort into being just a bit kinder to each other... that kindness would spread.

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