Meet Jingles, the chronic fatigue syndrome elf!



This is Jingles. He is Sadie’s “Elf on the Shelf”. In case you are living in a fallout shelter, “Elf” is a little toy that you can use to launch a nice Big Brother spy mission on your kids at Christmastime. Elfie sits on his shelf, or wherever, and watches your kid all day. Then at night, he reports to Santa on the day’s transgressions before flying home. As a parent, it is your job to move the elf each night to his new spot so your child can find him upon waking up. Also, the child cannot touch Elfie or she will contract full blown AIDS she will rub off his Christmas Magic.

I can’t believe I actually fell for this shit. It’s because I saw one too many pictures like this:


Freakin’ Pinterest is the bane of a lazy Mom’s existence. “OHMAGAWD!” I exclaimed. “How cute is that! This is going to be sooooo fun! Christmas memories. YES!!!” And before you could say “Kris Kringle” I was slapping down my plastic at I couldn’t wait for Elf to arrive! Where would I hide him? How would Sadie respond? Even more important, would he actually make her BEHAVE???

Two days later Elfie arrived. I had gotten the $30 version with elf, book, and bonus DVD. Now from all these pics I had seen of Elves hanging from Christmas trees and ziplining through kids bedrooms, I figured he would have a bendy Gumby body. Not so. Get some duct tape, ya’ll, if you plan to get freaky with your Elf. He is your basic “Made in China” piece of shit with a felt suit, permanently sewn together hands, and no feet. Workshop accident, maybe? Even worse is his face. From all the photos, I knew he had an impish grin and upturned eyes, but let me tell you…look in his eyes and it’s clear to see he has killing on his mind.

Later that night, I introduced Sadie to him. Now keep in mind, she isn’t even three. So, in addition to explaining about the old fat man who brings toys in his magic sled, I am now trying to coax her tiny mind around the idea that this CHEAP DOLL is actually one of Santa’s magical elves. I read the book for some backup help. But with awesome writing like this:

“Each night while you’re sleeping to Santa I’ll fly to the North Pole right through the dark sky.”


“A push or a shove I’ll report to the boss but small acts of kindness will not be a loss.”

She was more confused than ever. I kinda get why the book was self-published. “Let’s give our elf a name!” I cried, undaunted. “Ummm, you do it.” she tells me. Now keep in mind Sadie names EVERYTHING, even her turds. So I named him Jingles.

I also thought the whole no-touching thing would be an issue. But she has never tried to touch him, ever. Little kids can sense evil.

But the main thing I hate about Jingles is that I’m supposed to move him every night. It sounds fun, it’s not. The last thing I want to do after I get home from work is make some holiday magic. The first night I put him in the leftover Halloween candy. I also put him on top of the aquarium with a fish net. I put him in the Christmas tree (yawn) and then her stocking (double yawn). And after that, he’s pretty much stayed on top of the bookshelf. Sadie doesn’t care.

And the few times I’ve tried to use Jingles to stop her bad behavior, i.e. “Sadie STOP punching the dog!! Jingles is watching and he will TELL SANTA!!” she has looked at me with a “bitch, please” face, like, “ok mom YOU can’t tell me what to do and now you think I’m going to listen to that toy?” And, sadly, she is 100% right.

Here’s the moral to this sad holiday tale: make your own traditions. I’m an unconventional Mom with a crazy, wild ass kid. Something that’s mass produced and comes from a box is not going to make our season bright. I could have just as easily bought a two dollar rubber snake (Sadie loves snakes) and made up some sort of tale around him. Even better, we could do this in JULY when I don’t already have a long list of shit to do. If you love your elf, awesome. You are a better woman than I. It just seems like anytime I try to be the kind of mom I’m not (organized, cheerful, crafty) I lose out on being the Mom I am (awesome).

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118 comments on “Meet Jingles, the chronic fatigue syndrome elf!

  1. Hi there Nikki – I wanted to thank you for this straight forward, tell-it-how-it-is, story. I absolutely love that you are not afraid to say what you think, and you actually welcome All feed back (good & bad). This story had me in stitches. Not only because of the story’s base, but also because you are saying Exactly what almost everyone else is feeling. So Thank You! And the comment about you trying to be the Mom you are not, well I believe you are being exactly the Mom that you are. You are not afraid to try new things and in the process get you child to do the same thing. I believe you have already conquered half of the “parenting battle”. Too many parents refuse to make their children, or should I say show their children, that trying something new can be so much fun. We are ultimately the same in that we learn from trial and error. So kudos to you Nikki! Keep up the good work and before you know it Sadi will be a beautiful young lady that is intelligent and not afraid to work hard and take on the world to get what she wants out of life. As I said, I think that you were wrong with the first part and correct with the second part of your final sentence, you Are being the awesome Mom that you are and your Are making special memories that will stick with your child for the rest of her life. Just think, years down the road (if she remembers this particular memory) you two can laugh about that Christmas that you bought the Elf-From-Hell! LoL Keep making those wonderful & bonding memories Nikki! Take care! :-D <3

  2. jwolff3232 says:

    Hah,I enjoyed watching the influx of facebook elf pics and the slow decline and lack of consistency. The elf folks one though, because the check already cleared, they don’t care about your interest waining! Good post, thanks.

  3. Muse says:

    My whole master plan is to find a used beat up one and make him into all sorts of suicide attempts or horror scenes. Whatever works better. Then photograph them to save them for posterity. I thought it would be hysterical. I wont tell my kid or show her of course. I don’t want her to be traumatized but yeah, I only see evil in that thing and always have. It must die; many, many deaths.

  4. We have had better luck with the North Pole PNP email thing…my five year old definitely shapes his shit up if you send it about a month before Xmas. We do a freebie email that says he is kind of in between naughty/nice, and then pay 3 bucks for the one that says he made it to the nice list. The free one is just as cool,you can personalize it, and all you have to do is sit at the computer and then yell, “Hey, Santa sent an email!” I love the internet.

  5. Margar(ita) Mama says:

    Thank goodness there is another mom out there who isn’t into the Elf! I refused to cave even with all my fellow mommy friends posting pictures of their Elf on good ol’ Facebook and instagram

  6. […] If you’ve got Elf on the Shelf and holiday decorating fatigue from too many long nights browsing Pinterest, Nicki Daniels feels your pain: […]

  7. jgroeber says:

    Thank you. Thank you for joining in my contempt for Frosty Bo-Bo-Dee (our EOTS) who I never forgot to move (to another boring place in my living room.) I blogged in early December about misplacing him from last year. It was the late night, two glasses of wine, I-just-put-together-a-whole-plastic-kitchen-myself fog. I hid him somewhere so strange, I’m certain not to find him until they go to college. This year I hid F.B.B.D.2 in the back of the cabinet over the oven, wrapped in foil in a ziploc bag… I’ll definitely (NOT) remember this stealth hiding place.

  8. Pahahahahaaaa!!!! Yes, the Elf on the Shelf thing is creepy. Yes kids, some voyeur Elf is going to go tattle on you to Santa.
    Oh but you arent suppose to tattle on your friends to Mama. Or make a total wreck of the place like some of those scenes on Pinterest. In fact, lets be honest. Nothing says Christmas Spirit like your own private Evil Little Elf Stalker.

    • I never understood the concept behind making your elf make a wreck of your entire house. Why create more havoc when you are trying to get your kids to behave? Anyway, I so do not need an elf to make my house look like a shit pit.

  9. We never went the elf route. In fact, with the way my kid is wired, holding something over his head, like his needing to behave or Christmas (presents) won’t come, would either put him into a permanent tailspin or me. For some reason, when this kid of mine came into my life, using threats or conditions and punishment to affect his behavior just didn’t seem right. We found a different way that seems to be working well for both of us.

    “It just seems like anytime I try to be the kind of mom I’m not (organized, cheerful, crafty) I lose out on being the Mom I am (awesome).” I absolutely love this and so relate to it.

    • Again, thank you. I never buy into fads, and I’m disappointed in myself for trying to be one of those perfect Moms. Jingles is going on Craigslist, tomorrow. I was gonna throw him out, but I figured I’d just give him free to a good home, the little fucker.

  10. kbandas says:

    Elf of the Shelf makes me want to grinch out all over the place. This year, I tried to tell my two-year-old that the elves have magic spy glasses that enable them to watch his every move… he could smell that BS a mile away. Cheers to making your own special Christmas traditions!

  11. Reblogged this on Unfiltered Thoughts and commented:
    This lady calls it like she sees it. Made my sides hurt from laughing so hard.

  12. I felt like I was reading about my own daughter! She adores snakes too. I had considered buying an elf, even had it in the online shopping cart but talked myself out of it. I’m glad I did. I think I will make my own character for us to enjoy instead of following the masses with a made in China toy that is obviously not worth $30.

    Merry Christmas.

  13. snarksense says:

    Hilarious. I don’t even have kids and I feel this way when I see parents posing their elves… come visit me :)

  14. Reblogged this on The Attentive Soul and commented:
    My thoughts exactly!

  15. 1jaded1 says:

    This post is so funny. That ubiquitous elf is so creepy! I had never heard of this before two weeks ago (when I left my shelter *wink*). I was working late one night and a coworker said, “shh..don’t say anything. I’m hiding him.” The next morning there was an email to the group saying that Jack was watching us. I never felt so violated.

    Can’t wait to read more.

  16. samara says:

    I already welcomed you over on Le Clown’s blog. I’m a newbie myself, but you are a phenomenon. A force to be reckoned with. I’m glad I found you, because I missed this on FP.

    And that creepy Elf – he eye fucks you, wherever you are in the room. Oh, yes he does.

  17. The Hook says:

    Traditions rule.
    Elves are creepy.
    You seem nice, though.

  18. My Christmas In Jail | A Clown On Fire says:

    […] And yet, she has already been Freshly Pressed. […]

  19. sarcasmica says:

    I feel so much less guilty and so much more thankful I didnt buy this and get roped into the annual commitment! Laziness wins another battle :)
    funny stuff!

  20. Those things have creeped me out for a while now. Glad to see I’m not the only one. I think I’ll just skip doing Santa at all with my future kids. Saves a lot of hassle.

  21. Too funny! And a good moral to boot.

  22. Why have an Elf when you can have a Bumble?

  23. ruthykay says:

    Now I’m glad I never bought one. Although my son has been begging for one since they have one at school. Looks fun, but sounds like too much work.

  24. Hahahahaha! That was incredibly hilarious! Your daughter’s a prize!

  25. […] If you’ve got Elf on the Shelf and holiday decorating fatigue from too many long nights browsing Pinterest, Nicki Daniels feels your pain: […]

  26. vquotidienne says:

    This is great! I always wondered about all the ‘elf of a shelf’ hysteria…

  27. elenawill says:

    I wish you peace. Turn it around. Let the wild kid do it for you to see and enjoy.

    • That is an interesting idea. Sadly, Jingles has gone missing.

      • elenawill says:

        Probably for the best. However, I bet others would gladly donate/want to get rid of one. My kids are grown, but as a retired teacher, I just did not like the manipulation of children this way. I say let the kids make up scenes for adults. They are way more creative than we are :)

  28. missdisplaced says:

    Ew! I find that a bit creepy.

  29. houseofginn says:

    LOL! I just wrote about Elf on the Shelf too! I think they are evil! Great post!

  30. Love the Elf. Hilarious.

  31. katyhancock says:

    Oh my goodness this is a delight hahaha. And you know there’s only one person moving that little imp around all night and all of the Pinterst pictures are from her effort.

  32. Saiyara says:

    Just awesome. And funny. Thank you for the laugh

  33. nina says:

    Hilarious read. And it was the picture that caught my attention. Great job!

  34. manda1dawn says:

    I love this. :) – The reality of Elf on The Shelf!

  35. darknesslites says:

    The elf, like too many other holiday “traditions” is seriously creepy

  36. sydneygen says:

    Snap Sistah.. too much freakin work, and freaky as all get up! Even I’m afraid to look at him. Of course, google Elf on the Shelf Almost R-Rated for some more psycho ideas… why not, you’ve already started the traumatic experience by buying it (okay, I’m kidding, but you get that, right?!?!!!)
    Merry Christmas! Thanks for the smiles

  37. Nicki, this cracked me up. I’ve been through Super Mario, Cabbage Patch, the Ascent of the Evil Beanie Babies, Build a Bear, American Girl, and you know what? My daughter never wanted anything but books anyway. A few beanies, but I was a single mom and she understood. But man, get the tree up and crank the Andrews Sisters and Motown Christmas, and we’d be dancing all over the house! She’s also Jewish so we lit the Menorah and sang the phonetic words on the back of the candle box. She’s 25 now and we have so many silly, CHEAP memories!

    That is one bad-ass, evil little elf. The Jeffery Chandler/White Jesus eyes should have been the tipoff!! Congrats on the Fresh Press, am sending link to several moms. Merry Christmas, Amy Barlow Liberatore, Madison, WI

  38. LMAO – great post. Luckily my daughter turned into a sullen teenager before this Elf/Shelf craze got started. Not that we ever made a big deal out of Christmas anyway, still as a working mom with a hubby who travels, I would not ever have had time at any time of year to do this kind of schtick. Bless you for even trying!

  39. gregschina says:

    Life is creepy-elf free if you want to come on back to the fallout shelter! This is my first time to see this ghastly abomination, and hopefully my last…

  40. From one “never gonna be THAT Mom” to another…Cheers to attempts! That elf would end up in the shop vac if I was ever responsible for it. My daughter, a four yr old skeptic, would call his creepy little ass out anyway. Great post. And congrats on getting freshly pressed :)

  41. outaboutmum says:

    I’ve been listening to how fab this ideology of elves being on shelves all day in work. I couldn’t genuinely get my head round it, to me it seems like a lot of hard work and not exactly in part of the unconditioning parenting I am trying to live by. But hey who am I to rain on other peoples parades… Great post!!

  42. Mike McGraw says:

    Great post! I feel I now have permission to put ours in the microwave tonight. He will go good with the deep fried turkey.

  43. Jo says:

    that elf thing is just creepy! and a waste of cash! enjoyed reading this posting, made me laugh!

  44. I haven’t even read the post yet, but I’ve got to comment on the effing hilarious title.

  45. dheerajsah says:

    Elfie Or Selfie :) Talk of the town!

  46. I think the only good thing this plastic piece of shit can do is be used by adults to make comical situations (read: perverse and obscure) to put the damn doll in, take a pic of said situation and doll, and upload onto Pintrest to bamboozle and sucker other parents into buying said piece of shit doll. It’s seriously the greatest marketing ploy ever! You can only be a “good” parent if you spend money on this and try to emulate the pictures on Pintrest!

    My favorite is of Elfie flushing mommy’s birth control pills down the toilet. Seriously, look it up. He also really likes to get freaky with Barbie and Ken apparently. ;)

  47. At first glance I thought this would be fun but I also know I’m terrible with pressured creativity…. Yet I will probably order an elf and try for as long as I can anyway.

  48. I’m so glad to see this. My mother-in-law tried to give one to us, and I “think” I might have dodged it. She began the comment, “When you get up in the morning you can…” and everything else was lost. Lady, I get up at 5:15 am. I am not messing with any damn elf.

  49. Azure James says:

    Gosh darn it, can you even believe the amount of people that hate Elf on The Shelf? The only question is why so many people even buy it in the first place.

  50. Huffygirl says:

    I’ve always thought the elf was creepy and it’s nice to see someone who agrees. Funny that I never noticed he had no feet, which makes the whole thing even creepier. How does he move every night – drag himself around by his hideously long arms? Great post, and congratulations on being FP’d.

  51. This is just sooooo funny. Makes me glad I haven’t got kids to threaten with Elf abuse. However, we do have a collection of teddy bears, and we are convinced that they get up to something when we’re not looking!!!!

  52. Aimee Lee says:

    Lol! Yes, I agree that it is important to make your own traditions that better suit you and your kids. We have two elves (a boy and a girl) and I have only moved them about five times this month. I definetly don’t get freaky with this elf shit :) The kids and I are more interested in making up our own dances to the Nutcracker and making our own ornaments this season.

  53. drbibeall43 says:

    I LOVE your story about the Elf. One of my FB friends (whose mother was my best friend when we were growing up) has an elf like this, and he gets into all sorts of mischief. She posts different pictures of him in some of his escapades. This year, I acquired two elves–both of them vintage. I no longer have small children around for the elves to spy on, but they do make a nice addition to the decorations.

  54. […] If you’ve got Elf on the Shelf and holiday decorating fatigue from too many long nights browsing Pinterest, Nicki Daniels feels your pain: […]

  55. I love this. Thank you! My Knucklehead and I are all about creating our own holiday traditions. Know what our traditional Christmas dinner is? Puerto Pibil. It’s a slow roasted Mexican pork dish we have with rice and spinach leaves on Christmas morning (there is no remotely Latin blood flowing through either of our Northern European veins). You can find the recipe on the extras disc on the 2-disc DVD version of “Once Upon a Time in Mexico.” Robert Rodríguez himself will show you how to make it. We’ve done this since The Knucklehead was five. Why? Because the Knucklehead likes Mexican food, and thinks it’s cool (there’s tequila in the marinade, how bad-ass is THAT?). I like it because on Christmas morning I put it in the oven and forget about it, go play on the floor, and dinner is ready. Also, I think it’s kinda cool, too. For a long time it was just him and me, and we decided we weren’t going to do anything on a holiday we didn’t want to do. Christmas Eve is pizza and out to the movies. We wouldn’t have changed a thing. Brava, Nicki!

  56. pagunone says:

    I’m a stodgy old fart and the thing that attracted me to your post was the Ayn Rand propaganda your little elfy friend is sitting on. “Atlas Shrugged” is the bible of extreme right-wing permanently-stuck-in-adolescence T-Party Republican money-is-power worshipping ideologues. The anti government, pro big business, chain-smoking Ayn Rand died in poverty completely dependant on social security. Oh the irony!

  57. […] If you’ve got Elf on the Shelf and holiday decorating fatigue from too many long nights browsing Pinterest, Nicki Daniels feels your pain: […]

  58. […] If you’ve got Elf on the Shelf and holiday decorating fatigue from too many long nights browsing Pinterest, Nicki Daniels feels your pain: […]

  59. Awesome, loved this, you are hilarious!

  60. urbangentle says:

    My son begged for the elf for two years, I knew it was a mistake because it is too much freaking work but I bought it out of guilt this year. I go to bed at 9, the same time as my son, if I get up and walk around he pops out of bed and follows me around so moving the elf at night is impossible. I actually think I fall asleep before my kid does. This morning I was in the shower when my son woke up early looking for me. I flew out of the shower, ran downstairs, lied to my son and hurriedly stuck the elf under my towel against my soaking wet body. We have owned the elf for about 5 days and I have forgot to move him twice already! I knew I could not handle it. BTW, does anyone know, is it okay to separate the little hands, mine seem to be sewn together.

  61. Bravo! I just had this discussion with someone I know casually. I said I did not like TEOTS because it was too commercial and the expectations of what you were supposed to do were to high/unrealistic. Plus, why buy a $30 product to make memories. This mom said she has tried it with her child, but he is just not into it. I asked if she did anything special to celebrate the holidays and she said every Christmas morning she makes homemade donuts with her child. What a unique tradition. I feel like the makers of TEOTS have taken away our ability to be creative and make our our traditions.

  62. Thank you for my first snorking laugh of the day! Love, love, love this!

  63. […] If you’ve got Elf on the Shelf and holiday decorating fatigue from too many long nights browsing Pinterest, Nicki Daniels feels your pain […]

  64. kim thal says:

    Hysterically Funny and so true!!

Hey girl, where you going? Slow down. I just want to talk for a minute.

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