Elf Wars: How Do YOU Feel About the Elf on the Shelf? by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead

Holidays
9 months ago
Elf Wars: How Do YOU Feel About the Elf on the Shelf?

You’ve heard of the War on Christmas, you’ve heard of the Mommy Wars, but have you heard of the Elf Wars? Fighting for the North (Pole) we have the mommies who love the Elf on the Shelf and delight in his every naughty little prank. Fighting for the South (Pole) we have the mommies who detest the little twerp and his messes. We interviewed some moms, and here’s what they had to say:

Noelle: I love the little guy. He’s adorable. He brings such joy to our family. He’s just so silly, always spilling flour everywhere, hanging underwear in the Christmas tree, turning the milk pink, pooping chocolate chips, toilet-papering the house, freezing the car keys and drawing mustaches on our photos in permanent marker. It’s hilarious. He really makes the season magical.

Griselda: Are you serious, Noelle? You know who has to clean up after the little miscreant, right? All the flour and chocolate and toilet paper? The ruined family photos? You do! And guess who’s late to work because her car keys are frozen!

Noelle: But it’s all about the kids and the magic of the season.

Griselda: We already had magic! We had Santa!

How do you feel about the Elf Wars? Are you a Noelle or a Griselda?

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Renee Herren
Team Noelle all the way! Our elf, Andy, has helped our family create such great Christmas memories and I will always cherish his silly antics! My son knows the truth about our elf and takes turns coming up with things for Andy to do. In my opinion, it’s all about the Christmas spirit and not setting expectations that do not add joy to your family’s holiday experience!
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
Thanks for sharing, Renee Herren ! I love that even though your son knows the truth about your elf it's still magical for your family! That's one for Team Noelle! :)
Morgan Hawthorne
Totally a Griselda. I definitely (gasp) stopped moving him last year. He's more of a decoration now than anything else. I just feel like my life is usually super crazy around this time of year, and I need one less thing to have to remember in December. 😎
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
December is SO insane; it's easy to understand how one more thing to do seems like too much. Thanks for sharing, Morgan Hawthorne ! That's one for Team Griselda!
Joanie Ruiz
I really don’t like it. I feel like it focuses to much on behavior that children should be doing all year. My kids asked me last year why we didn’t have an elf and i told them it’s only for naughty kids who need to be reminded to behave.
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
What a great "out" for parents who don't want an elf to visit their home, Joanie Ruiz ! Thanks for sharing. Another vote for Team Griselda!
Vanessa Sargent
I'm a modified team Noelle ! We are starting a new tradition this year which is similar to the " original " but with a twist. We bought an inexpensive elf from Target and will surprise our son with him on our cruise next week. we will tell our son that Santa has sent an elf to live with us for the month of December to see how our family celebrates Christmas. He will be involved in everything. He will travel with us , make cookies , decorate the tree and even read bed time stories. I like this use better bc my son can carry him around and he wont lose his magic. He will be a part of of family and " learn" our traditions to report back to Santa. I'm sure he will get into mischief here and there but I won't have to scramble to move him every night or be afraid of him being touched and losing his magic. Once Christmas is over he will go back to the North Pole and share his story about our family with the other elves and santa. Just another take on the elf on the shelf !
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
I love this twist on the "original," Vanessa Sargent! You're making it work for your family! I think that's the key with anything like this!
Susanah Crowder
Total Griselda! My husband wants to do this. I said fine, but he would have to think up ideas and clean up. I will help him with set up. I will actually help with clean up, but I really could go without it!
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
Maybe that's the ticket- making the hubbies do all the work! LOL. Thanks for sharing Susanah Crowder !
Mike Prochaska
No elf he like Chucky from child’s play!!!
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
Mike Prochaska !! Well, you're clearly Team Noelle! :)
Mike Prochaska
Yeah I hate the thing
Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds
Hahaha, this is awesome, Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead ! Somehow, I missed the Elf Wars while my kids were growing up. I think I would have been a Noelle back then, tho. Now, I’m with Team Griselda all the way! Thanks for the fun post!! 🎄
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
Ha! I go back and forth. We do it, but "Sparkly" hasn't made an appearance yet, if that says anything! LOL.
Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds
I have half a mind to go get one and surprise my college kids, but maybe not... Keep us posted if Sparky comes out to play, LOL! 😀
Heather Murphy-Fritz
I’m somewhere in between. I love the magic of the season but don’t do anything elaborate with our elf. He may get stuck in the blinds, but he doesn’t freeze anything. The kids enjoy looking for him and there are times he does come in handy if they act a little crazy.
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
I don't do anything too elaborate either, Heather Murphy-Fritz ! Certainly no flour messes here!
Mike Prochaska
Can we let the dog chew the elf?
Donna Mansell
Elfidy Melfidy (pictured above) has been a member of our family for many years now. He even came to bring some special love when my older son fractured his skull. We really needed all the magic we could get right then. (He's fine now, thankfully. ) He has kept the spirit alive through 11 years old, and now that there's a new member of Team Santa this year in our home I expect that the shenanigans will be even more fun!
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
Thanks for sharing, Donna Mansell , both the photo and your story! If your Elf on the Shelf is considered a member of the family, then you are most definitely a Noelle! How special for the whole family!
Gina Pomering
I am half of each! I have forgotten to move him a few times and made some mad dashes for him before my son got downstairs! Other times I set him up building a toy train and riding a reindeer in from the N pole. My son still waits for him to arrive so I move him but I resent the lil bugger too!
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
I'm right there with you, Gina Pomering ! I have to set a timer to remember!
Lauren Weitzel
Mostly Noelle here. We have a Christopher Popinkins instead tho. Doesn't do anything crazy except a few times here or there may do a little extra (ie. tight rope walking across the room). But no messes, I'm not cool with that! ;) The kids LOVE him and he is just extra excitement and magic for the season for us. Thankfully my husband is great about moving him as I'm usually too tired at that point to think about it if I manage to stay awake past the kids!
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
Thanks for sharing, Lauren Weitzel ! This is how we handle it too. Our elf does not make messes, but he does have a little fun (he always zip lines across the dining room once a season!).
Donna John
We missed the Elf, but I think I would have been on team Noelle. At least for the first year, and then he probably would have turned into "that damn elf." :-)
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
I think that’s how it goes for a lot of people, Donna John ! :)
Katie Sloan
The Elf doesn’t come to our house until Dec 1. He may sneak into the cookie jar or freezer but otherwise is not mischievous. I’m not going to make a mess then clean it up.
Stephanie Monahan
Love, love, love our Elf!!! My son loves his elf and I enjoy watching their ‘relationship’ grow. My son leaves him notes during the year to check in with him. Our Elf even visits for other special occasions....birthdays, Halloween, Easter. We have moved 2 times since Hermie has appeared and Hermie visited in each new home to let Jacob (my son) know he knew of the new house. Made my sons day and helped the transition easier too. I’m gonna keep it going as long as I can and then pass it off to my son who can then move him for his sister!
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
You are definitely a Noelle, Stephanie Monahan ! Sounds like your elf is really a part of the family! Thanks for sharing this with us!
Bri Montoya
Team Noelle! While our elf, Elvin, was a lot of work, we always felt like the more Christmas magic the better. Our son is old enough to know "the truth" behind the elf, but has just joined in on the fun. Now it's a game for the whole family and he enjoys getting to hide/position Elvin just as much as finding him and seeing what he's been up to.
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
Sounds like a perfect transition now that he's older, Bri Montoya !
Lisa Hix
We got our Elf as a gift a long time ago, before it became a big thing. I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to touch it, so the girls have always held “Pepper”. When their friends would notice them holding our elf, they would freak out about it losing the magic. So I had to make up a big story about how people used to be able to touch the elves, but some kids were too rough. I told them that when the elves would go back to the North Pole their ripped seams would turn into actual injuries. So they had to invoke the no touching rule, but we’ve had Pepper so long we got “grandfathered in.” It’s a pain to move her around but the girls LOVE her, almost more than Santa. They write her letters and she writes back. She doesn’t make any messes. I have enough of a mess around here, no way I’m making more. She usually does something different each year. She wrote them notes every day one year with ideas for RACKs (random acts of Christmas kindness) that we had to complete each day. She always brings them matching Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve. The girls are so into it that I can’t help enjoying it myself!
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
I love this, Lisa Hix ! Thanks for sharing. I especially love RACKs!! You should write a tip about this (hint hint)!
Stacey Roberts
I didn’t really know about him till a few years ago when all the ideas showed up on Pinterest. So I bought one and would surprise my 11ish yr old son who kind of got a kick out of it. My daughter thought it was stupid! Then last yr I found him in a drawer with arms and legs tied in knots and his hat was missing to find Barbie must’ve been in on the deal. Granted my son is notorious for this kind of thing, but I asked what the deal was and he said he creeped him out! Don’t tell him but I rescued elf for sheer purpose of not letting him go down like that! Last year though, rescued elf and Bagwell pulled off Rudolph.
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
Oh my goodness, Stacey Roberts ! What a story, and the pictures! I think some moms here (the Griseldas!) would have been glad to let the elf "go down like that" but you rescued him!! :)
Diona DeHaven Mower
I think if a family member brought an elf to my place, I would light the little critter on fire. 😂 I have the responsibility of my whole house on my shoulders... music lessons, sports, work, homework, laundry, cooking, bills... I CANNOT add another source of stress to myself. Luckily, years ago my kids all said “who falls for that? We don’t live in Toy Story! Toys don’t move themselves!” I was free from guilt of not adding this tradition to our holiday. I don’t judge others who like to do this. More power to ya! I just can’t.
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
You are definitely a Griselda, Diona DeHaven Mower ! And your kids gave you the perfect out! :)
Stephanie Cannoe
Love the creative juices and hilarious mischievous ideas and pictures. Very entertaining. My kids love it, that's all that matters to me. And to be honest, I Don't inspire the antics, but their hamma does and 'he' is very sweet to our boys. I appreciate his sentimental notes too.

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