Elf in a pine overcoat

The holidays are a hectic time for everyone. So much binge eating and drinking and shopping to do, preparing the house for guests, sobbing violently into your eggnog and screaming in closets for hours on end. A magical season, indeed. With all of these things to check off our to-do lists, why would anyone want to add even more? Not me, that’s for damn sure. And this is why Elf on a Shelf is forever banned from my household. All that being creative, finding shenanigans for the elf to get into, just to have a pair of tiny eyes watching me all day? No, thank you, sir.

In my opinion, instead of adding more crap to my list of things to do this time of the year, I’d rather put something on my shelf that could be of some use to me. Here are some of those ideas:

P.I. on a shelf: follows your no-good husband around and documents how many hoes he tried to bone throughout the day.

Samurai on a shelf: quickly and silently dispatches intruders.

Itamae on a shelf: for when your samurai gets hungry.

Migrant worker on a shelf: especially handy if you have a farm to which you tend or even if you just need help painting the exterior of your home.

Acquaintance with no filter on a shelf: for those times when you really want to know how your new haircut looks or if you should return those leather pants.

Dirty hippie on a shelf: happily dispenses small amounts of decent quality marijuana and will also spontaneously go into uncomfortable detail about your aura.

Rick Astley on a shelf:  will serenade you with one of his many [sic] hits. And because he really needs a place to stay for a couple weeks. A month at most, he promises.

Person with way too many uplifting quotes on Pinterest on a shelf: Handy if you need an uplifting quote to get you through a rough day, or if you need to aggressively berate the customer service clerk at Target.

Little person on a shelf: because that’s way more politically correct.

Overnight fitness guru on a shelf: they can show you how to use tires and pots and pans and even bigger tires to get physically fit all in the comfort of a cold, abandoned warehouse. Only a 47% chance of getting horrifically maimed or injured.

Frequent LAN party-goer on a shelf: so you feel better about yourself. Instantly.

Down on his luck neighbor on a shelf: in case you feel compelled to give a little back at this time of the year. Give him a few things to do around your house and then pay for his Christmas goose.

And last but not least, my personal favorite, giant, novelty-size bottle of Irish whiskey on a shelf.

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5 reasons I’m a shit mom

December 2013 marks the fourth year in which Facebook and the holiday season triumphantly unite like heralds of the apocalypse; wreaking cinnamon and marshmallow bespattered havoc hither and thither and pretty much making me feel like the worst mom in Mom History. Maybe I’m being a bit too dramatic, but if there’s one thing that the internets loves, it’s the drama. I try, good lord do I try to Laura Van Dyke the crap out of this magical season; but despite my efforts, I tend to Brett Butler-ize the whole deal. Not all of the following reasons why I’m awful are Christmas related, I’m pretty much using this forum like a support group. The holidays are such an emotional time. And I have ADD. Squirrel.

1) Four words: Elf on a Shelf. Three more words: oh, hell no. $30 for this tiny demon to scare the bejesus out of my child and me? I don’t need anyone’s judgmental eyes leering at me, silently asking why I cracked that third beer. On a Wednesday. And I certainly don’t need that thing coming alive in the night and plucking out my eyeballs to use as décor on his House of 1,000 Corpses themed gingerbread house. Anyway, I prefer that my kid think of Santa like the blazing eye of Sauron. Surveying everything from high atop a tower in the bowels of Mordor. He knows when you are sleeping.

He's too busy watching you change to see where the ring is.

He’s too busy watching you change to see where the ring is.

2) Gasp, processed foods. Is that so bad? Short answer, yes. You know, she gets her veggies and her protein and so on and so forth but she also gets her boxed macaroni and cheese and frozen chicken nuggets and all that offensively delicious stuff. Yes, I feed her Rice-a-Roni and yes, I still read the directions on the back of the box while preparing it. BUT I use an old-timey wooden spoon to stir it, just like the one grandma used to beat my dad’s ass. It’s the little things that make me feel metaphysically connected to my heritage.

3) I’m not crafty. Not in the least bit. A world full of Pinterest and Martha Stewart and JoAnn Fabrics feels increasingly like a deceptively shallow lime pit to me. For example, my kid recently had to decorate her own construction paper gingerbread man as “homework” for preschool. Sounds like fun! I haphazardly gathered some crafty bits from the store, like glitter and buttons and whatnot. I pretty much let her take the lead on this project, but I did lend a hand here and there to make sure she didn’t glue her forehead to the table. The outcome? A ghastly combo of Frankenstein’s monster and Wesley Snipes’ character in Too Wong Foo. And then Eli Roth puked on it. The most terrifying Christmas abomination since that extremely uncomfortable Bowie and Bing duet. And I’m pretty sure her teachers burned and buried the thing in some ritualistic Hoodoo ceremony. Go ahead and blame this on the three year old, but we all know deep down that mommy sucks.

4) I jam Bubble Guppies songs. I don’t just listen because I have to, if I could jam out to this crap in the car alone, I would. This doesn’t necessarily make me a shit mom in and of itself. Actually it makes me a pretty cool mom to my now 3 year old. It’s mostly a point of shame for me, and will be for her when I’m still making her watch the show at 12 years old. I needed to get that off my chest.

5) I’m eating the entire Advent calendar. Who does that? Seriously? I’m literally taking candy from a baby. AND I’m also rationalizing it by telling myself that an excess of chocolate isn’t good for her, especially after all the sodium and Yellow #5 she’s consumed this afternoon because I was too lazy to peel a fucking carrot. I guess I also want to teach her that life is full of disappointments. I’ve opened that tiny, metaphorical door thinking there was a delicious and rewarding metaphorical piece of chocolate in there, too. And do you know what I found instead? Unemployment. A UTI. A stoner boyfriend who’s convinced his band will hit it big. A useless college degree. The list goes on and on.

So, in conclusion, I’m just the worst. Or am I? Yes I am. Or am I?