DON’T PANIC! 3 ways to handle Elf on the Shelf emergencies

There are few things parents look forward to more than Christmastime. They can take a break from playing disciplinary bad-cop and simply threaten kids with Santa’s toy-withholding judgment.

In the past, the mere mention of Santa got kids to behave. But, nowadays, a jolly fat man isn’t menacing enough, so enter the Childs Play Chucky-inspired Elf on the Shelf! This doll-man surreptitiously watches you all day with his lifeless plastic eyes and then flies around tattling at night, like some low-level Cold War espionage narc. I’m thankful I grew up pre-Elf on the Shelf because he would have made me so high-strung that my bed-wetting problem would have lasted well beyond 1979.

But mental health side effects notwithstanding, it seems like Elf on the Shelf is here to stay. Mom boards are rife with posts that begin with “HELP!” “CODE RED!” “SOS!”and “MAJOR EMERGENCY!” No, their kids didn’t choke on tinsel; their husbands didn’t shoot a staple into their kidneys while hanging lights.

Their Elves on the Shelf were compromised.

The Elf handbook doesn’t cover what to do when tragedy strikes. The rule simply states:  “There’s only one rule that you have to follow so I will come back and be here tomorrow: Please do not touch me. My magic might go, and Santa won’t hear all I’ve seen or I know.”

So I spoke to some FBI officials who handle these cases, and here’s what they told me is proper protocol for Elf emergencies.

In case of dismemberment. Sometimes toddlers who are wise beyond their years rip Elves’ heads clean off. You do not want your older children to discover that the Elf is not a Real Boy but merely cheap stuffing. Do not panic. Proceed immediately to Facebook and post a status update. Glue gun glitter, sprinkles, anything festive onto the gaping wounds so they look magical. Say he collided with an errant sleigh. Explain in the most sexist way possible that Mrs. Claus will make soup and nurse him back to health that evening.

In case of pet ingestion. Pets (particularly Golden Retrievers) find Elves tasty. Do not panic. Proceed immediately to Facebook, and post a status update. Explain that the Elf got held up in customs. Buy a new doll. Follow your pet around during potty time for a week. Do not—DO NOT—let your children see the bright red felt bits that appear when your dog eliminates.

In case of inappropriate touching. An Elf who has been touched by a human child becomes unclean. Do not panic. Follow Facebook protocol described above. Google “how to build a shame tent,”and isolate your Elf inside it in the way that women isolated themselves during biblical menstruation. After seven days and seven nights, your Elf is cleansed. Hopefully by then, Christmas will be over, and you can be rid of that creepy thing until next year.

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Photo © carrietayloe/Flickr.

About Erica June Ford, Bundoo Blogger

Erica Ford is a writer, editor, and host of the Boston radio show South Shore Live.  Her humorous essays about parenthood have been featured in The Huffington Post, the New York Times, and her popular blog Mommy Klatch. She is the author of Scotch Tape is Cheaper Than Botox.

Erica completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, received her law degree from Boston College, and practiced law in Boston for several years. Aside from her three daughters, the highlight of Erica’s life was when Oprah Winfrey asked her to read her writing onstage at the Life You Want conference in 2014.


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