I'm not a Scrooge by nature.
I've been caroling many times in my life. I enjoy Christmas songs in November. I'm even a fan of decorations, eggnog and those acid-inspired Rankin and Bass holiday TV specials. And the meaning of the season is not lost on me.
When my brothers and I were kids, we reveled in our traditional Christmas morning celebrations that began when we descended the stairs to the main floor to empty stockings together in the living room. We'd eat some candy and play a bit before heading to the basement where the big tree, lights twinkling and surrounded by wrapped packages, awaited us in tinsel-draped glory. Christmas was as it should be.
Except for the elf.
Any area the elf inhabited was a zone of fear for me. During the day -- and only when I was not alone in the house -- I might dare to risk touching the thing to hide it from sight for a few days of peace. Eventually, however, someone would find it and restore the demonic idol to its station in the living room.
The elf, a horrid thing my parents delusionally found cute and endearing, emerged year after year to perch menacingly on our mantel. Dolls creep me out as it is. The idea of a felt-clothed, plasticine-faced doll staring down at me with that pervy smirk of his all December long was nearly intolerable. I kept expecting to wake up one morning to find it sitting on my chest trying to steal away my soul with some satanic spell chanted in rhythm to the jingling of its tiny bells.
Which is why I can't understand how so many families have bought into this latest Elf on the Shelf craze. As if the idea of a bearded fat man breaking-and-entering your house in the middle of the night wasn't bad enough, now there's a magical doll that moves around the house while you sleep?
Yesterday, it was in the kitchen!
Today, it's in the den!
Tomorrow, you wake to find it on your nightstand smiling down at you like a serial killer... Doesn't sound like a holiday thrill to me. Sounds more like the plot of "A Very Chucky Christmas."
I want to fall asleep dreaming of sugar plums and figgie pudding, not pass out from hyperventilation due to an elf-induced panic attack. My idea of yuletide fun is finding the correct ratio of nog to rum to nutmeg, not figuring out how to set my cellphone speed dial to 1-800-EXORCIST.
Fortunately for me, our children have shown no interest in acquiring their own elf. Our house remains an elf-free zone. Unless there is an elf somewhere in the house and he's just really good at hiding...
© 2013 Mark Feggeler