Don't mess with X-mas

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I’m old-fashioned, I guess. This writer ( can spell out the reasons she doesn’t like the “Elf on the Shelf” in detail, but I just don’t like how ham-handedly it’s trying to become something. Look at the packaging:

Traditions become traditions – they don’t declare themselves. And they certainly aren’t trademarked and only available from a single source. And call me old-fashioned, but traditions don’t suddenly appear; they’re a gradual build, not a marketing scheme. Dickens didn’t call it “A Christmas Carol: Your family will read it every year.” The mere suggestion would have doomed him to contempt.

Cookies and milk for Santa, stockings by the fire, stars on trees. These are traditions. We each have our own family rituals, too, but they should be ours, not something we bought for $29.95.

Listen, fair play to Carol Abersold, who invented the thing. She’s made a lot of money, and she’d be crazy not to make more. But she’s not getting a dime from me. And if you have one of these elves, I’d like to say flat-out that you’re a terrible parent.

That’s a joke. It’s Monday, and I wanted to see if you’re awake. But seriously, leave the elf on the store shelf. He's a sad liar and someone should curb stomp his skinny butt.

We all have favourite traditions. Take movies, for example. My faves are oldies but goodies: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and the original, animated The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. I have family who watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation every year. I picked up the Trailer Park Boys Christmas special on DVD this year. Only saw it the once, years back, and thought it was funny, so for $5, what the heck. I saw Polar Express for the first time last year. An amazing spectacle, but am I the only one who thought it was creepy?

When it comes to music, again, I go with tradition, and not traditions that have been invented in the last decade. Give me Bing Crosby and church choirs (although I’d be lying if I said I don’t like Fairytale in New York, by the Pogues, or Chris Cornell singing Ave Maria).

Christmas is personal. If you like elves on shelves or gnomes on domes, knock yourself out. Just so long as you don’t replace Christmas with “holiday season”. I’m an agnostic with strong atheist leanings, but if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s historical revisionism. The thing with the carols and the tree and the presents and Saint Nick? Yeah, that’s called Christmas. You don’t have to think the baby Jesus slept in a manger to acknowledge the Christian roots of the holiday, enjoy the art that came out of those traditions, or partake in the secular rites that have grown up around it.

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