Things I’m supposed to care about but don’t, Christmas Edition

by Janelle Hanchett

Motherhood is continually urging me to give a shit about things I couldn’t care less about. Actually wait. No. Not motherhood. The hype surrounding motherhood. Websites, magazines, television, my damn Facebook feed.

It expects me to care about things like Elf on the Shelf, for example. Nope. Don’t care. I think it’s weird and a lot of work. “Hey kid, this creepy ass elf is gonna sit here and watch you and if you’re bad you get nothing because you’re bad bad BAD.”

Generally speaking, I’m the worst behaved person in this house, so why the fuck would I turn it into some Santa-big-brother-watchdog panopticon? Plus, they have the rest of their lives to feel like they’re being watched by the establishment. (Oh yeah, I read Foucault too, bitches.)

But here’s the thing: I also could not possibly care less if you use Elf on the Shelf. No really. I can think of fewer things less relevant to my life than whether or not humans make a flour snow angel with a plastic doll on their kitchen floors.

So when I read some article expounding on the pros and cons of Elf on the Shelf, all I think is WHAT THE HELL WHO CARES? And then all these parents growing irate, yelling and screaming and name-calling. Get a fucking hobby.


But the worst is when somebody comes up with a “new issue” that must be addressed. A new one. A new concern. Something serious. Something The Super Conscientious Mother discovered and is now writing about to inform the unenlightened masses, the implication being, of course, that if you’re a conscientious mother, you too will be concerned with this issue and change your behavior accordingly.

Behold, I give you, “Why we should leave the smaller gifts to Santa.”

Look, if it's made into a meme, it's real and important. Don't deny.

Look, if it’s made into a meme, it’s real and important. Share that shit and be The Conscientious Mother.

Yes. That’s right. We all have different incomes, and since Santa isn’t real (sorry to bust that one to you if it’s news), rich parents may have Santa brings lots of stuff and poor parents may have Santa bring not much stuff and then the kids go to school and talk about what they got from Santa and the poor kid says “OMG mom Johnny got lots and I got nothing and now I’m sad.”

And so, obviously, we should all make sure Santa brings socks. Because Santa’s a dick. Damn it. You see? This is my problem. I care so little about this nonsense I can’t even be serious about it.

Here’s the Facebook status update about which the aforementioned article was written: “Not all parents have a ton of cash to spend on making their kids [sic] Christmas special, so it doesn’t make sense to have Santa give your kid a PlayStation4 [sic], a bike, and an iPad, while his best friend at school gets a new hat and mittens from Santa.”

Look, if some kid got a Playstation, a bike and an iPad from Santa, they’re a fucking Kardashian and our kids aren’t going to school with them. And “big” is relative, right? I mean I grew up with a single mom and every year we had one “big gift” and one year it was a fish tank and I thought that was about the coolest thing I ever received in all my damn life because I was kind of used to small.

And parents buy kids the big gift that makes sense in their family, right? I mean you don’t really have to spend that much money to get a kid a gift that rocks their world. And seriously when does that conversation even happen? Kids go back to school 2 weeks after Christmas and this happens:

Kid one: “What did you get for Christmas?”

Kid 2: “Tons of shit nobody needs. What did you get?”

Kid 1: “Tons more shit nobody needs.”

I’m paraphrasing, but isn’t that pretty much how it goes? For real if your kid is old enough to decipher between parent gifts and Santa gifts, inquire and assess how it goes down at his homie’s house, then come home and pontificate about the inequalities of Christmas morn, your kid is old enough to find out that Santa lives “in the heart.”

George believes in Santa wholeheartedly. She also claims she has a “weiner shooter” and was relieved to finally become an ironworker officially (see photo to the right), so she can “help daddy with his work.” FullSizeRender-2

Her next favorite gift was a $5.00 bubble blowing machine I picked up on Groupon.

And yeah, maybe there’s some jealousy and maybe there’s some sad with the older kids. I see how the Santa fantasy potentially result in a kid’s hurt feelings, but I gotta level with you here, the only response I have to something like this is “Oh give me a fucking break.”

Maybe I’m a horrible person. Maybe I’m a self-centered ass with no concern for the pure hearts of innocent children. But I have no interest in bulldozing the path in front of my children to attempt to save them from the pain of reality. Some people are rich. Some aren’t. We aren’t. And if that requires a conversation about The Fat Man and why he brought Phil a WiiU and Rocket a $90 robot, well then I guess that conversation happens. And better yet, what if the Bastard Red-Suited Unequal Distributor of Resources triggered a conversation about being grateful for what you have? For being happy for others? For truth, perspective and empathy?

Maybe we talk to our kids about jealousy, about the ego’s attempt to control and take and get more. Maybe we talk about the way we think Stuff will bring happiness, the never-ending process of “As soon as I get this one thing I’ll be happy.” And how it never works. Let’s talk about capitalism and consumerism and materialism and waste (which I fully support during Christmas, FYI)! Really, the possibilities are endless.

Or maybe we just say “Yeah, I don’t know kid, I don’t know why that happened, maybe Santa’s something of an asshole.”

But seriously. All this bullshit hovering and helicoptering and clearing and bulldozing and setting up and protecting and making just right, how does that even make sense? At what point will somebody make the maintenance of my kid’s happy feelings their life’s work? They won’t.

How long will my kid live on earth before he feels jealousy? Before she realizes some people are better off than her? And what good am I doing them by running around like a bored squirrel on meth making sure nothing ever hurts them?

None. I’m doing them no good. How the hell do you prepare a kid for life by protecting them from life?

I want to protect my kids from danger, from real, permanent pain. That’s my job. That’s my work and I fight like hell to make that happen.

But a stab of jealousy? A realization of the difference of incomes? A momentary feeling of I’M NOT GETTING WHAT’S MINE? Yeah, sorry kid. That’s life, and it sucks sometimes.

Sometimes Santa’s a dick.

Now let’s go see how this robot works.


Arlo wants to know why all he got was a fucking teething ring.


Do you want to get back into writing? Maybe you write shit in your head all the time but never “put pen to paper?” If so you should probably join me for my first 2016 Writing Workshop.

One spot left in January morning session. February evening session is the only evening session I’ll offer of this workshop in 2016 (too many batshit kids in the evenings).

Email me with questions:

Or just sign up.


  • LaToya

    I got rid of my facebook because I got sick of opinions and posts like that one. I also got sick of reading about parents critiquing other parents. I also got tired of people over-sharing. Just tired.

    Anyway, I am not doing Elf on the Shelf either but mostly because I’m lazy – I don’t want to add one more thing that I feel OBLIGATED to do. Where’s the joy in that?

  • Beth

    You always say exactly what I think/feel. I kept seeing that damn meme pop up in my feed and wanted to flip the fuck out. I don’t do the Santa thing, but if I wanted to put “Santa” on a damn Porshe for my kid, I get to do that. There is so much worry for other people’s kids, when in reality, most of those parents need to be focusing on their own families, not mine.

    • renegademama

      Where’s the meme? I need the meme! I’ve been looking for it but can’t find it. If you find it will you send me the link? 🙂


  • Megan

    We just don’t do Santa. I don’t see the point. I figure that by the time DS is old enough to ask why he’s not getting presents from Santa, he’s old enough to know there is no Santa. I really don’t get the whole idea of Santa anyway. DS still does Santa related stuff at daycare, but he’s 4 and has never asked me where his gifts are. But he’s also happy with literally any gift ever, so Idk.

  • tamara

    I completely understand. There were some Christmases growing up that we didn’t have anything under the tree and I swore that my kids wouldn’t go thru that. Yeah. There have been a couple Christmases (sp?) that I, as a single mother couldn’t do for them. And you know what, they’ve survived. If aunts have filled in w/ blankets and board games, they’ve been ok with that. They understand. I have hurt more about it than they have. I made a vow after years ago after buying hundreds of toys that after 2 days no one cares about, that they would only get 3 gifts for Christmas. Period. That’s all Jesus got, and they aren’t better than Jesus. They know this. They accept it and tell all their friends about it. It does mean that I have to come up with 3 good gifts for 17, 15 and 13 yr olds, but if I can’t, oh well. When they’ve gotten $100 basketball shoes 2 weeks before Christmas, JUST TO PLAY BASKETBALL IN, you can’t complain when you wake up with a roof over your head Christmas morning. Just sayin’.

  • Ashley

    Arlo got the shaft. I hope he gnaws on that robot! #TeamArlo (I kid…I kid…)

  • Lea

    I swear when I see that I have a new email from you i feel like Santa came!!! You are Awesome!!! Who said life is fair anyway?
    P.S. Tell arlo next year will be bigger and brighter

  • Jill

    Well stated!

    I read some meme somewhere from I think Louis C.K. where he reply to such ‘why did so and so get more than me’ questioning by saying “The only time you should look into your neighbors bowl is to make sure he/she has enough.” I thought that was pretty damn great!

    • Nicole

      LOVE that man!

  • aimee

    Like a bored squirrel in meth. Oh my hell. Recently found your blog and if I were rich Oprah it would be my favorite thing and everyone could read it for free! Oh wait….

  • Kelly

    My daughter asked Santa for a Barbie house and my son asked for a toy fish. Ever try to wrap a toy fish?

  • Leigh Ann

    you pretty much voiced all of the things I thought about this Christmas, but was too lazy to actually write about.

  • Jessica

    Because I reposted that very article on Facebook and because I am one of your Facebook friends (maybe?), I feel as if you are speaking directly to me…because doesn’t the universe revolve around me?
    Seriously though, Now I feel kind of dumb because you are on point, as usual.

    • Natalie

      Can I just say that you took it really well if it was indeed about you? Most would have had a hissy fit. Go you. Look at us being all grown up and shit!

      • Jessica

        Hey…everyone has opinion, just not everyone has the platform and audience to make his or her voice heard.
        I seriously doubt any of that was “about” me. It just takes one idea to spark a few thought and then someone with a lot of talent can take those thoughts and make really good paragraphs and such.
        I am a huge fan, but I gotta admit it hit me in the gut when I realized I posted that same “article” on Facebook and poor kids vs rich kids and all the Santa nonsense. I felt dumb, a little less cool even, because my favorite blogger just unknowingly hurt my feelings. *tears*
        I have opinions also. And by nature I tend to not say things that I know will upset, no matter how little, someone else unless it is required. Making someone else feel “less than” for no reason other than…I don’t even know why in this case, in my opinion is mean…bully-mean. That’s my OPINION though. I’m a big girl, she’s still my favorite author and I will still read her blog. Because I know that this isn’t the first time I won’t agree with her.
        I don’t do elf on the shelf because I think it’s silly and a waste of time but I would never get on a soapbox and talk down to all my friends who do the elf on the shelf for their kids.


        • Jessica

          *blog author*
          *And all the other bad grammar and writing in general*

        • renegademama

          Hi Jessica,

          Thank you for your kind words, and I’m sorry I hurt your feelings. It was of course not my intention. And you know, the fact that you shared that article shows a level of compassion, patience and empathy that far surpasses mine. I have a pretty critical outlook, which is both a talent and a curse. It gives me an eye for bullshit (which is good for a writer), but it also gives me a penchant for being a bit of an asshole, and I come across a lot “harder” than I am. 🙂 I would never think less of you or anybody else for sharing that article. I was just sharing my idea of it.

          Anyway, all my best.


          • Jessica

            No worries! I think that’s why we’re all drawn to your blog.

            • Lou Taylor

              Jessica I wish I had something so profound to say it would make you whistle The Sound of Music out of your ass. Alas, I do not. Let me tell you instead of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Nope….wrong savior. Oops. Let’s try that again….my savior is actually not a person at all but a small capsule commonly known as an antidepressant. A few weeks ago I would have read your words and just groveled in the understanding of your pain but Janelle wrote a gut wrenching, hard hitting truth about times we just feel like a big piece of shit otherwise known as the human condition. It moved me. I felt every word and took the advice someone had given her that she so bravely shared. Every day, do one positive thing. Clean one corner, pluck one wild eyebrow…you get the gist. One of my positive things was to tell my Doctor I needed a referral to a mental health professional. I actually went and considered her recommendation to just try to begin working through depression with a Mother’s Little Helper. I know, I know. There are bazillions of women who will put a fork in their eyeball before they’ll take a pill to make them feel better. I got one word for them…..menopause. I am in the full blown throes of the Change of Life we all hear so much about and losing functioning hormones that dictate well being in our brain has made me… hand to God…clinically depressed. I share that because I feel fairly normal these days. I am up to three, sometimes four positive things each day. I read your response to Janelle’s piece today and say to myself, This poor woman is very depressed. Who really gives a shit about a disagreement over a fucking ugly ass elf and the shelf he sits on??? Clearly you are a master at being a logical adult. You’re also clearly an educated, open minded individual. The feeling I get from your words is that something else is going on besides the elf on the GD shelf. Maybe you’re reaching out, looking for understanding, a validation that your opinion matters. Maybe the little white capsule has made me delusional and I’m off my jump there.. Since we all agree that opinions are a natural occurrence I hope you will be understanding of mine. I believe a self assured, mentally healthy, well adjusted woman who so clearly reads and loves Janelle’s pieces would not have had the reaction you did. I’m reaching here and just saying woman to woman if you are struggling, just reach one more inch. There are some really lovely women following Janelle and Janelle herself is a warrior Queen when it comes to picking one’s self up and dusting crap off and carrying on. Help and understanding are just a keyboard away. Of course there is the chance I’m out of my fucking mind, I’m into this new thing called giving a shit about people. I’m not well practiced at it but I’m giving it a whirl. A polite Fuck Off will not hurt my feelings in the least. I certainly have lots more work to do on my own damn self so if I overstepped, forgive me. And anyway, how about those fucking Lakers!?

              • Jessica

                I’d forgotten all about this. It’s like those time hop memories on Facebook. I cringe.

                But thank you for taking time to write such a heartfelt message. Clearly you care. It shows.

    • renegademama

      Oh gosh I should have written that other comment here. I don’t even remember where I saw that article, and it absolutely wasn’t directed to you. I saw it everywhere! (Please read my other comment.)


  • Amy

    This is the BEST! I agree 100%. I do not do elf on the shelf – mainly because I don’t want to take the time to come up with 23 ideas. I guess that makes me a bad parent – OH WELL! I do the Santa thing – just b/c I remember how much I loved it as a kid. And I NEVER once, growing up, thought I got jacked from Santa if I didn’t get something as awesome as Joe Schmo. I was thrilled with what I received from him! I asked for computers and trampolines and Barbie houses… didn’t get them. But I did get something from my list, and it was just awesome. I want my child to experience that magic for a bit.
    I also want her to understand, ASAP, that life isn’t fair, and there is inequality in life. She has more than others, and much less than some. LIFE. Why shelter her from what she will experience the second she goes into school????
    You ROCK.

  • CSmith

    I’m with you that I could give a crap less what other parents are doing. We do a sort of “elf”, only we use a reindeer and since we don’t do Santa he doesn’t report back. My kids just like seeing what Rudy the reindeer was up to while they were sleeping. This year I let my teens set him up every night and the results were hilarious. And, I really think that parents are worrying way more than kids about most things. I don’t remember kids really comparing gifts when I was little and I don’t see mine doing it now. What kind of asshole kid rubs in that they got more than you, anyway. My kids might talk about their favorite gifts which this year were: a harmonica for my 5 year old, a pair of cowboy boots for my 3 year old, and a pair of princess shoes and matching hair ribbons for my 9 year old. The only ones who are aware of price are my teens who got an X-box and a tablet but they would never brag about what they got.

  • Sara

    This. “How the hell do you prepare a kid for life by protecting them from life?

    I want to protect my kids from danger, from real, permanent pain. That’s my job. That’s my work and I fight like hell to make that happen.”

    Aaaaah thank you. Perspective. That’s exactly what I needed!

  • Tina

    You know what? When kids talk to their cousins, or get back to school and talk to their friends, they don’t say, “Santa gave me this, my parents gave me that.” It’s, “What did you get for Christmas?” and, “I got this for Christmas.” There is no mention of Santa ANYWHERE in those conversations, because by that time, they can’t keep straight who gave them what – except for MAYBE the gifts they had to go to someone else’s house to get. They just remember it was under the tree Christmas morning, or Christmas Eve, or even Christmas evening, or whenever you open your gifts. I’ve never heard a kid say, “Santa got me,” x thing. It’s always, “I got this.”

    As for Elf on the Shelf? Talk about creepy. “Santa Clause is Coming to Town,” is bad enough with the, “He sees when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake.” And the threat of bad kids getting a lump of coal? Yeah, I had a grandparent threaten give my toddler a lump of coal in his stocking for Christmas if he wasn’t good.

  • Nicole

    You fucking rock! We are seriously kindred spirits – it’s really too bad I don’t have more people in my life like you. I’d probably stay out of some trouble.

  • Phillipa

    Yep….love this. Hubby and I had the same conversation before Christmas when I saw this exact FB post. Nothing gives anyone the right to tell me what I can or cannot give my kids in my house. Peope need to stay out of other’s business and teach their kids that sometimes life just isn’t fair…..may as well get used to it now.

  • Cait Fitz

    “Maybe we talk to our kids about jealousy, about the ego’s attempt to control and take and get more. Maybe we talk about the way we think Stuff will bring happiness, the never-ending process of “As soon as I get this one thing I’ll be happy.” And how it never works. Let’s talk about capitalism and consumerism and materialism and waste (which I fully support during Christmas, FYI)! Really, the possibilities are endless.”

    A-flpping-MEN!!! I love every word of this post. Thank you for writing exactly what I feel. These mothers, or parents, or whoever need to get over themselves and let these kids figure some stuff out on their own. They will be better off for it!

  • Sarah

    Somehow our minds must be linked, because I always agree with you. You are my bff in my mind since my kids have already run off any real, available human being. You rock, I love your posts, keep em coming. My eighth month okd got a chew toy too. It got jacked two mins after he got it by my almost two year old since everything in her reach is “mine”, last time I saw it it was tied to the back of the 10 year olds remote controlled truck bumping down the hallway at breakneck speed, its all ok though, since he seems to enjoy gumming on last years discarded barbi doll.

  • Erin Schermerhorn

    OMG, I love your posts. If you ever decide to move to Pennsylvania, we can be friends. We don’t do Santa, so that takes care of that pesky elf on the shelf and present problem. It is my personal opinion, but I don’t think lying about Santa and then telling your kids not to lie sets a good president, irregardless of the intent. I am waiting for the call that my kid ruined the magic of Christmas for little Timmy

  • Diane

    I never told my kids there was a Santa Claus…..and I never told them there wasn’t. I just let them figure it out. My thought was these presents are bought with cold, hard cash. They are not doled out from some welfare state in the North.
    While we are on this topic: I hate Rudolph. The reindeer like him now just because Santa let him lead the sleigh. Before they were BULLIES and assholes. They should have liked him regardless of his red nose. What a horrible message for kids.

    • j

      Exactly! I grew up singing the “rudolph” song and loving the movie, but when I watched it as an adult I thought the same thing, they were bullies!

  • Lyndsy

    Oh how I love your posts. I read them with sheer joy.

  • Susan

    My mother taught elementary school for 35 years and had an answer for every Santa question. She told us from Day 1 that parents had to pay for the Santa Service. Therefore we could not ask for too much and this was also why poor children may not receive anything from Santa.

  • Espy

    Spot on, as usual. It’s interesting that we wouldn’t dare tell another parent’s kid how to behave, but we don’t hesitate to tell the parents themselves.

    Seems backwards to me. I think kids could do with a little more community guidance.

  • Mel

    The list of parenting things that I just don’t give a shit about keeps getting longer and longer. Sometimes I think people devise new stuff because they feel guilty that their lives are basically very comfortable (a lot of this ‘latest controversial parenting thing to gnash teeth over/get into impassioned online debates about’ seems to originate from middle-class white people in first world countries [I say this as a middle-class white woman in a first world country]). Anyway, it’s all sound and fury; signifying nothing. Much more important – where can I get my ‘like a bored squirrel on meth’ merch?

  • Emily

    I’d say that this is one of your best but that would be impossible to really say.

  • Sue

    That picture of Georgia is the best! She is so freaking cute!

  • Andrea

    Holy shit! I thought that was some kind of joke. Then when I realized I just wasted a minute or two of my life reading, reacting, and shaking my head, I got pissed. Even more time wasted. I applaud traditions. Im trying to carve out my own. I have my opinions about that Godforesaken elf. But no one cares, nor should they. Though Id also applaud anyone who attached the elf to a bottle rocket…much like my brother did with my Barbie doll. Ka-fucking-boom! Love your blog!

  • Linnea

    Can I just say that you rock, your family is beautiful, and I love every freaking thing you post? You say what we all feel/think but are too chicken shit to say out loud. I know it may not feel like it to you sometimes, but your life and the way you share it with us is hilarious and wonderful. Keep doing you the way you do…it’s awesome!!!

  • Kim

    Can I buy you a drink? Seriously woman, you are the cat’s freaking meow. Other than “testify” I don’t really have words. I just nod in agreement. Good calls all around. 🙂

  • Kim

    Wish you’d had a blog when my kids were small. Hell, I wish there HAD been blogs when my kids were small (they are 23 and 21 now).

    Good advice against helicopter parenting. I’m in grad school and working. I see the results of over-protective parenting in the workplace and in the university every day. Young men and women seem utterly unprepared to handle a school or work environment in which they don’t receive constant feedback, approval, and pats on the head.

  • Grouchiegrrl

    “Get a hobby”. Mate, that IS their hobby. Snarking is apparently now how lots of people spend their spare time. I don’t get it, but GOMI exists, and FB is full of it, so clearly…..

  • Marianela

    I like your point of view Janelle, especially when you mention that children should not be protected from life itself.
    As you must already know I do Elf on the Shelf. I learned about it last year and decided to give it a try. I have a friend that will go to great (crazy) extents as far as the Elf goes, but I think it’s because she is trying to make things funner and better for her children as they are going thru a divorce. Why do I do it? Not because I love staying up late and thinking about what the heck I will be doing next for the damn Elf who cant wait for Christmas to be over; but because i love seeing my children’s faces in the morning when they go searching for the darn thing and find that he’s also got some important messages to deliver that will be heard a lot better than your own parent’s advice; because let’s face it, nobody listens to us. So, yes, my Elf Sneaky, of which I am proud of for preserving my kid’s innocence for a bit longer, has done cool stuff, not so cool stuff, and when he’s been “tired” or “forgot” to relocate around the house, we always wonder what could have happened and the stories that come up are always funny and make us laugh. My favorite Elf deed must have been the messages he left on our bananas in the kitchen one day: “I am Thankful for Moms around the World”. Call me crazy, but the next few days my kidz were a lot nicer to me.I say use it as an advantage, and only if you want to and have the time and energy. When it becomes a competition between families then that’s when it should end. Cheers!

  • mbwest

    First of all, here’s your meme:

    And secondly, I’m the weirdo amongst my mommy friends, because I’m the only one who goes around spouting words like “panopticon” and “Foucault.” Thank you. ~MaryBeth

    • Lou Taylor

      I gotta say to you and Janelle both that I had to look those two up! I won’t rest until I find a way to casually work both of them in a sentence!!! Beyond impressed…seriously!

  • Laura


  • Sheila

    Wow just wow….speaking of hobbies…for someone who “doesn’t care about all these issues you sure took about of time to expound on the whole Santa subject.
    My youngest still believes in the magic of Christmas and I’ll keep it going as long as she believes. Some people believe and some don’t. That’s just the way it is. But I’m not going to trash talk you because you don’t.
    I think kids should be taught to appreciate what they have all year long and should always be learning life lessons – not just at Christmas.
    This is just a poor excuse for sanctimonious assholes to get up on a soapbox.

  • Cheryl S.

    My 9 y/o pretty much has santa figured out, but she held on this year. She told me it took her BFF 20 minutes to tell her all the stuff she got for Xmas. I said “Isn’t she lucky” and that was the end of the conversation. Sorry kiddo, life isn’t fair (Something else I’ve said to her many times).

    I saw the FB post you’re talking about and I damn near rolled my eyes out of my head. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    I think the commenter above me has it right “I think kids should be taught to appreciate what they have all year long and should always be learning life lessons – not just at Christmas.
    This is just a poor excuse for sanctimonious assholes to get up on a soapbox.”

  • Julie

    Nothing to add, you said it all so perfectly! I don’t know why, but this is hilarious and one of my favorite quotes of yours: “And what good am I doing them by running around like a bored squirrel on meth making sure nothing ever hurts them?” You have the wisdom of Ghandi and the self expression of a truck driver, and its REFRESHING!

    Thank you for that!

    • Lou Taylor

      Julie, you took the words right ‘outta my mouth!

  • Cat

    Totally loved this post.

    I am leaning toward eliminating Facebook as a New Year’s resolution because I end up feeling so negative. One of the things I hate the most is all of these “Important” parenting messages. I have one friend who manages to link 10 or 15 a day (usually about something I am doing or not doing that is supposedly going to ruin my children forever) and it drives me crazy. I mean, parent however you feel is best but why so judgy, judgy, showy, showy all the time. It just irritates me and then I get irritated at myself for being irritated and it’s just a bad cycle.

    We have been intentionally vague with the whole concept of Santa and avoided Elf on a Shelf entirely because we wanted to get away from the whole ‘you get gifts for being good and none if you are ‘bad’ thing. For hardcore Santa families, I think it is hard to explain the fact that some very nice kids get not very much in the way of material rewards at Christmas. Also, the idea of a magical spying elf watching me all the time would have scared the bejesus out of me as a small child. So, I was super late to catch on to the appeal.

    I like the way that Marianela, above, does Elf on a Shelf, though, because I think that kids – deep down – know that stuff is pretend but they like the magic of it. And that it is fun. Once it gets so obsessive – and I know kids who are obsessed over what Santa brings them and how much and how much someone else has – it creates an insatiable desire that nothing can really satisfy, and that’s not fun.

    But I will not be “sharing” my particular view on Facebook because, really, if someone does it differently, it’s not the end of the world.

  • Natalie

    I just wanna know what post of yours has the most fucks. Can you point me the way? I wanna go read it. K. Thanks.

  • Stacy

    At the risk of sounding weird……I totally love you. I love your blog and how real you are and how often you use the word fuck.
    I love how when I’m freaking out about not being the pefect parent I read your blog and calm the fuck down because there is NO SUCH THING. I love how some days your kids compete for who is the biggest asshole cause it makes me feel NORMAL for thinking the same about my kids.

    Have a Happy New Year and please keep em coming! 🙂

  • Cherrill

    I was too busy making Christmas “magical” for my kids to comment before now (haha), but wow, did I love this post. I saw that same piece about Santa bringing mittens,etc and got into several….conversations with people about it. Like I’m going to let some random screenshot on facebook determine how my kids’ Christmas will play out. And yet so many of my friends shared it expecting me to say “right on! now you’re talking”?

    Last year I made a resolution not to read any post with arbitrarily numbered lists of parenting advice. And failed. And got annoyed probably 98% of the time I clicked through. Reset on that resolution this year 🙂

  • Billie

    I love this! We are fortunate enough to have extra money to spend on our kids but we don’t. One gift from mom and dad, one gift from Santa…. Period. Christmas is for spending time together, not spending money on each other and that’s what we try to teach our kids. I guess that comes from living on the ‘poor’ side growing up and not getting all the stuff my cousins got but hey like you said, that’s life, and I think we’re sending a better message doing things this way. PS…. My cousins keep threatening to buy us an elf on a shelf because our kids NEED one, I said you do it and I promise you there will be a flaming pile of dog poo on your front step with an elf attached to it.

    • Teri

      Billie–yeah, if the cousin brought an elf to my house, it definitely would be going home with them…possibly internally.

  • Karen

    Just catching up on your blog. I am guilty of sharing the post on Facebook regarding save the small gifts to be given from Santa and the big gifts from parents. I thought it was a valid point. I enjoyed reading your thoughts, they are valid as well. Personally, Santa gives the small shit and I give my kids the big presents. I want my boys to know mom and dad had to save their hard earned money to buy gifts, we wanted to buy you gifts, don’t break the toys, treat your gifts with respect, and show appreciation 🙂 To each their own way. Oh and my boys never once mentioned any of the gifts Santa brought friends…

  • Melissa

    Well said! In my house, Santa only brings a new set of xmas themed pajamas and a good book to read over winter break. Everything else comes from me, but it’s 100% my own vanity. I want the credit for working my ass off all year to afford all the bling!

  • Paige

    Only you could compare Santa Clause to the panopticon and I fucking love you for it.

  • Rachel

    Totally agree! Except for the Elf on the Shelf part :)…but we don’t do the whole “he’s watching you to see if you’re bad” crap…I didn’t want an elf, but the 12 year old talked me into it. But we are minimalist elf-movers–every night Fred just moves to a different spot (sometimes the fridge, sometimes hanging from the chandelier) and my kids think it’s hysterical just to try to find him when they get up in the morning. But I’m definitely not having the elf make messes for me to clean up 🙂 I have to admit that the the elf makes me laugh too, and is adding a little a joy to the misery of holiday preparations…