The holidays are fast approaching, which means it’s almost time for the arrival of Christmastime’s most controversial guest: the Elf on the Shelf. To some, the Elf is a beloved harbinger of Christmas cheer. To others, he’s that creepy little f-cker we forgot to move again last night. One dad who found himself firmly in the latter camp decided it was time to create a rival for the Elf on the Shelf. Children’s author Adam Reed invented the Reindeer in Here, and it’s coming this Christmas to take the Elf down.
The Reindeer in Here was essentially created to be the anti–Elf on the Shelf. He’s a “cute and cuddly” reindeer with big blue eyes and one horn that’s smaller than the other. Rather than showing up to provide 24-hour kid surveillance to Big Santa, the Reindeer in Here’s job is to learn about kids — their likes, dislikes, personality, where they live, etc. — and report on the fun adventures they have with their host family. The official website explains:
“After naming their own reindeer, the child is encouraged to show it around, taking it to a different place each day, both inside and out of the house so that when Santa comes on Christmas Eve, he knows as much as possible about the child, how good they’ve been and exactly where to deliver the presents.”
They even made this handy chart to show how the Reindeer stacks up to his, um, competitor?
The Reindeer in Here is still a spy, but it’s a friendly spy. And, lest you have any doubt that this reindeer is meant to be a savage clapback to the Elf, the makers even created Shelf the Elf, a social media movement to “empower parents” to fight back against the “creepy” and “stressful” Elf culture.
As Newsweek reports, some psychologists do claim the Elf on the Shelfactually has the potential to be damaging to small kids. David Kyle Johnson, PhD, wrote for Psychology Today that, like Santa, the Elf on the Shelf is a lie that “threatens your parental trustworthiness.” He adds, “… Stopping bad behavior with promises of future reward is … a terrible and harmful practice. First of all, it’s just lazy parenting — the easiest, but worst, way to get your children to behave. Secondly, children need to learn self-control and to do the right thing for its own sake.”
But, as an Elf on the Shelf mom myself, I can’t help but wonder if we’re all getting our panties in a twist over nothing. Yes, the Elf on the Shelf book is weird. “The Elf on the Shelf is watching you, what you say and what you do,” it posits. “The Elf on the Shelf is watching you, each and every Christmas.” As a parent, I’m not particularly down with the whole Elf spy thing — and a lot of parents aren’t — so our Elf exists solely for fun. I move it around and my kids think he’s just there to tell Santa what they want for Christmas. No biggie.
But, even for parents who do use the Elf as some sort of behavioral aid, it’s hard to imagine things are really so out of hand that we must be “empowered” by a crazy-eyed reindeer to finally ditch the tradition before we cause permanent damage.
The thing with the Elf on the Shelf, the Reindeer in Here, Santa Claus, the Mensch on the Bench, and every other friggin’ holiday “tradition” that hasn’t been marketed to us yet is, these things don’t need to compete with each other. They’re totally under our control. It’s our choice to buy it. We get to choose how we introduce it and what kind of role it plays in our holiday celebrations.
So if the Reindeer in Here sounds like the perfect fit for your family, more power to you. Or, if your kids are already counting down the days until the Elf on the Shelf shows up, awesome. And, if you’re just sitting there beneath a massive pile of smiling elves and stuffed reindeer, patiently waiting until your kids finally grow out of all this bullsh-t and you can get some peace? Um, same.
Read the full article here.