So they have this thing out now called a Shelf Elf, which is a toy that you place in one room of the house to monitor your kids’ activities, then move to another room the next day, and so on. The Elf, commonly called Christopher Pop-in-kins, because everything holiday related has to have an overtly stupid name, reports back to Santa regarding your kids behavior, probably with a device with a needle that constantly wavers between Naughty and Nice. Because if it didn’t waver, your little angel wannabes will get too comfortable in the Nice Zone and start eating popcorn and peanut butter on the new couch with a false sense of security. I think.
We didn’t get a Shelf Elf this year for the kids because Dad had never heard of one, and because Mom knew (rightly) that our three-year-old daughter Gabriela’s head would explode with anxiety. Santa Claus, jolly as he is, is still a costumed, bearded, fat old man who is a little too nice to kids. (Never underestimate the power of facial hair on young kids.) Thus, Gabby, student of Latin that she is, has declared Santa Claus persona non grata in the Criswell house, though he remains more than welcome to drop off $92,000 worth of toys on the premises. But no closer than 100 yards from the house. If we knew what a restraining order was, we’d have one on Saint Nicholas. But once a year we end up with several garbage bags full of stuff in the middle of the backyard. Food for thought if you want to come ruin our Christmas sometime.
So if Santa is not allowed in the house, certainly one of his spies stands no chance. Especially one that “moves.” We have no need for moving parts in the house, less need for our daughter sleeping in our bed until she’s 26. Because she sleeps upside down and diagonal, her head by someone’s feet and her feet beside the other’s head, and every time she joins us, we wake up holding our lower backs as if we slept in an accordion. So, no.
And all the questions that arise probably would go unanswered. Is Christopher real? Is he alive? Does he talk? Does he see me at Day Care? Does he see me when I’m sleeping? Does he know when I’m awake? He obviously knows if I’ve been bad or good, but does he have so much as a Blackberry for Goodness Sake?
Where does this guy go when the holidays are over? The first thought is that he packs up with the rest of the toys and Christmas accoutrements and lives out of a box in the attic, the same attic where it’s 32 degrees below zero in the winter and 135 in the summer. He’d sit there with a little notebook and devise ways to properly gather intelligence for the next Christmas season, which next year will start in September. Or maybe he just runs away with the circus. Or he finds his way back to the North Pole. These are things we will never know, because we will never own a Shelf Elf.
We will, however, continue to use Santa and his entourage as a behavioral bribing device. As in, if you so much as think of writing the alphabet on your kitchen set in permanent marker again, we will drive your little behind straight to the mall and make you sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what you want for Christmas. That has worked very well in the past. Don’t think we won’t use it again sometime.