The elf with issues


By Marianne Walsh

Member of the Chicago Parent Blog Network

So the elf thing.

I held out for a long time. A $30 book and stuffed toy seemed extravagant. Also, from what I gathered on Facebook and social media, the whole operation seemed, well, complicated. There was a backstory. And rules. And nightly repositioning of the doll in all sorts of inspired and fun ways.

My middle son, Jack, requested one for years. In a fit of desperation last December, Jack even crafted his own version, aptly named "The Elf I Made Myself."

mar elf

While I found his adaptation noble and creative, Jack hung his head in sad defeat and muttered something along the lines of "it's just not the same."

I caved.

And wouldn't you know? After years of protest and disdain for the whole wretched concept, I am now having an absolute blast with our Elf on the Shelf. My husband has even gotten into the act as we gleefully debate where little "Kane" should go each evening.

That is "Kane" as in Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks, by the way. Not candy cane. With three boys, my chances of securing a festive moniker like Peppermint or Kringle were about the same as my ever buying a cute pink dress with bows. Or walking into the bathroom and actually finding the seat down.

Part of the fun Joe and I are having with Kane is giving him a new vice each night. Our backstory involves him spending time at Betty Ford and quite possibly Joliet Penitentiary. Why have a boring old elf when you can have one with a sordid past?

Doesn't every family need at least one black sheep in time for the holidays?

Or rather, one Blackhawks-inspired drinking and gambling elf?

mar elf2

Traditions all start somewhere. And I cannot wait to hear my kids revisit this one in about 20 years or so:

"Hey fellas, remember when mom and dad gave our elf a hangover?"

This is going to be AWESOME.

I hope the kids enjoy it, too.

Kids Eat Chicago

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