“Mommy, I wonder where Snickle Fritz will be today?” my happy, little, green-eyed son chirps, every single morning since December 1st, without fail.
“Well, let’s go look!” I say, excited at his excitement, … especially since I remembered to move Snickle Fritz the night before. That in itself is something to be proudly excited over.
“Snickle, oooh Snickle! Where are you?” Tiny hollers, walking around our tiny house in search of his scout elf. He walks around the living room, dining room, and kitchen, calling for his eagle-eyed, reporting-back-to-Santa friend. Not like Tiny has to worry–he’s 99.9% good every day.
My kid is awesome.
I raised him, so that means I’m awesome, too.
… That felt necessary to say.
Anyway, he searches and searches over the course of 3.5 minutes, and then the elf is found.
“I found him! HAHA! Oh, Snickle, you’re too funny! Why did you sit there today? Why did you do that?” Tiny chirps, every morning.
Tiny thinks the elf is sneaky, mischievous, and downright hilarious. The only problem is, Snickle Fritz, our wonderful elf, is only in this gig for the photo ops. He doesn’t make snow angels. He definitely doesn’t bring presents. He doesn’t swing from the chandelier holding eggnog, martinis, or tropical beverages. He doesn’t create epic messes for a single, working mom to clean up. He doesn’t play board games with the dinosaurs … because this isn’t Toy Story, and I don’t want to be explaining to my child why Snickle comes to life, but the toys do, too, at night.
Like, does Snickle in his elfishly magical glory make the inanimate toys come to life only during Christmastime?
I mean, let’s think about this elf playing with other toys story for a minute. Snickle Fritz, according to the book, watches over Tiny Tot during the day. When Tiny falls asleep at night, Snickle returns to the North Pole, whereabout he tells Santa whether or not Tiny has been a good boy. At what point in this story does Snickle Fritz stop to have a siesta with his buddies, or play a rousing game of Duck-Duck-Goose?
Isn’t he too invested in getting to Santa, or getting back to oversee Tiny? Can he oversee Tiny Tot’s actions if he’s nose-deep in a bag of marshmallows? Will he notice what Tiny’s doing while he’s sleeping off a martini-filled night on a hammock?
“Sorry, Santa. Nothing to report today. But my tummy sure is happy from drinking hot chocolate and eating an entire bag of Oreos.”
This is where the elf stuff gets to be too damn complicated. I have a headache thinking about the fabricated explanations of Elf on the Shelf. But, because everyone knows I’m highly analytical, and I love to think, who didn’t see my internal ponderings of elf debacles coming?
Because making up an already made-up story about a scout elf (circa 2004) is too complex, our elf stays with the lazier side of elfing. December 1st, when the tree is put up, Snickle lands in the tree. He sits there, proudly gazing around the house, happy to see that Christmas is coming. When the tree is decorated–or finally decorated, I should say–he’ll swoop in, hug an ornament, and merrily wait to report back to Santa. He loves sitting in flowers, in wreaths, and on bows because he’s an elf who appreciates nature … albeit fake nature that glitters. He gazes lovingly at pictures of Tiny when he was tiny. He occasionally hangs from objects because he loves hearing Tiny Tot giggle. While he doesn’t love coffee, he thinks my addiction to Starbucks needs to be pointed out on occasion. He may, occasionally, steal a cookie if the cat doesn’t eat it, first.
And I’m not really keen on the idea of a cat eating Snickle, anyway.
See? Snickle Fritz, in all his awesomeness, sticks with the lazier, photo op side of elfing. He knows he doesn’t have to step up his game to keep the child entertained. Besides, Tiny doesn’t care that his elf doesn’t make snow angels, wrap the toilet in wrapping paper, toilet paper the tree, disasterously make a cup of hot cocoa, bring presents for twenty-five days straight, change out the stockings for underwear, eat an entire bag of marshmallows, or create a large-scale village play scene with every doll in the house.
However, I don’t disapprove of elves that go over-the-top on a larger-than-life scale. It’s cute. I love looking at pictures of elves who get into trouble on a daily basis. Snickle Fritz, though, is just too lazy to be like the other elves. I guess that’s why he picked our home. He saw us from the North Pole and said, “Them. Those people. I want to be involved in The World of Crazy, but I want to sit around and chill. They look like they understand the importance of hanging out and being epically lazy.”
He may, on occasion–if I don’t eat it first–steal a cookie. He might take one of Conner’s favorite toys and hold it hostage for the day. He might even make me realize how much coffee I drink on a daily basis.
… He never messes with my wine.
And he definitely doesn’t bring presents back to the house from the North Pole. If I hate anything about the elving community, it is that.
“Mommy, do you know what Rudy brought me this weekend?” Tiny Tot asked in the car, driving back from visiting his father for the weekend.
“What did Rudy bring you?” I asked, trying not to assume anything about this particular elf–or the owner of that elf.
“Candy Land! He brought me Candy Land as a present! Have you ever played Candy Land? Can you believe Rudy brought me a present? Snickle never brings me presents.”
And he never will.
Snickle’s not that type of elf.
Like, what did Rudy do? Steal a present from Santa? Because now, in my thinking stage, I’m wondering if Santa is releasing these gifts before December 25th, the day that Santa, and Santa only, brings presents to children around the world, or if the elves are stealing them from Santa, and bringing them back to the homes of the children they watch. And, if they are stealing from Santa, does that then make them naughty?
Isn’t the purpose of the elf to report back to Santa about being naughty or nice?
When the elves are naughty, is that not a double standard?
Maybe there’s a reason Snickle never touches my wine.
… I’m just saying.
The elves aren’t going away any time soon. They’ve created a tradition to make Christmas all the more special. They’ve created an ability in which children believe in magic again, even beyond the normal age of Santa doubt. Therefore, I love the elf in all his magical scouting cuteness. Still, Snickle is lucky that I remember that he exists every night. He’s not out to be amazing.
He’s just here to keep an eye on Tiny, and make sure my angel continues to believe in the magic of Christmas.