Elfless Shelves, Etc.

Meet the elf! Oh, how I hate him.
Meet the Elf! Oh, how I hate him.

Elf On The Shelf People fall into two categories:

There are the Earnest Elf People, the ones who go to great lengths to show off the little guy’s wondrous magic. When they are not ooh-ing and ahh-ing the Elf’s antics, they use his existence as a means to deliver thinly veiled threats. (“Oh, I sure hope the Elf didn’t see that!”)

Then there are the Naughty Elf People, who take great pleasure showing the little guy breaking into the liquor cabinet or making a lecherous pass at a Bratz doll.

Most of my friends fall into the latter category.

As for me, I am not an Elf-On-The-Shelf Person. I believe that warrantless elf spying violates my civil rights. If Santa is too lazy to find out on his own if someone is naughty or nice – something he did with little effort back in the 1970s, I might add – well, that’s his problem, not mine. I’m showing that pint-sized KGB agent the door.

As a parent of a young child, however, this opinion of mine is not popular. My son can’t help but notice that almost all of his classmates have elves. I suppose that in this age of social media run amok – an era when nobody can reasonably expect any right to privacy – having an elfin tattletale skulking around is something to covet.

I don’t get it, but there it is.

So my son and I compromised.

Meet Butter Boy! My stupidest impulse buy ever.
Meet Butter Boy!

Butter Boy is perhaps the most useless kitchen gadget ever. You shove a stick of butter in his head and it allows you to easily butter your corn on the cob. Since corn on the cob season is over, I offered B.B. some seasonal work.

See? He's a lobbyist for Big Coal! (These ideas seem like good ones at 6 a.m.)
Hey, it seemed like a good idea at 6 a.m.

Butter boy is not the only unusual holiday decoration we have these days; we also have a Christmas Mouse.

As longtime readers of this blog might recall, I had a Christmas Mouse last year, too. I released him the day after I caught him because the weather was mild.

This year’s visitor, however, decided to poop on my countertops the day after we had a horrible snowstorm. I couldn’t release the little guy under such terrible conditions, so he’s now a houseguest, living the Life of Riley in a mouse condo – eating cashews, cereal, and peanut butter – until the weather decides to cooperate.

As I write this, it is snowing. So, yes, there is a reasonable chance this guy might be rooming with us until April.

If he wasn’t so gosh darn adorable, I’d mind — but he is, so I don’t.

68 Replies to “Elfless Shelves, Etc.”

  1. I am completely in agreement about the elf on the shelf. Butter boy, however, I’m intrigued by. I have an Alton-Brown-inspired “no unitaskers in the kitchen” rule, which means of course that my husband loves nothing more than collecting unitaskters. (Apple cutter, strawberry de-greener, etc.) He might need a Butter boy in his stocking…

    1. Oh, I do so love the unitaskers. One thing I have been searching for ever since I learned it exists is a teabag squeezer. Ellen squeezes her teabag with her fingers for some bizarre reason. Then she follows up each squeeze with an “Ow!”

      1. FYI: Tupperware reps used to give teabag squeezers as gifts for guests. I have one I got years ago. I don’t know if they still have them but if you know someone who sells Tupperware, ask them if they are still available. 🙂

  2. So glad that I never caved to the clamoring for an elf! Butter Boy is far superior.

    Have you seen Dwarf in a Drawer? Twitter is imploring me to “Follow” him, but I shall not. Nor will I succumb to “Mensch on a Bench.” “Leprechaun on a Log” might entice me if it meant that I could sip Irish whiskey while looking for rainbows and blarney!

  3. We’re not pro elf nor anti-elf in our house, but we have one serious Santa believer who is usually far better behaved in the month of December. Good luck with butter boy and mouse! (Must be a story in there about the Adventures of Butter Boy. In a galaxy not-so-far away . . . . ) Happy holidays!

    1. I thought Butter Boy was a fine substitute for the elf. He looks creepy enough to be a spy, doesn’t he? Just look at those cold, dead eyes!

      As for the mouse photo, the little fellow spends most of his day sleeping under his food dish, so a paparazzi moment has not yet presented itself. But I will be sure to get you a picture before his ceremonial release into the wild.

  4. I love Butter Boy! But wait until your son is older; you’ll see Butter Boy in all sorts of precarious situations…

    As you mentioned, my family members are also “Naughty Elf People.” I’m kind of proud of that fact, I think. 🙂

  5. I have just recently learned of this Elf on the Shelf phenomenon. I have to admit that I would be one of those people putting their Elves in compromising positions. Or, I’d annoy my cats by posing him in different positions next to them.

    I like Butter Boy. I mean, he already has the winter off, so why not make him earn his keep? And he looks like he could rat out a kid for being naughty just as easily as the Elf could.

    And you’ll have a special place in Animal Heaven for being such a good host to your mouse. I’m sure he’s very comfy and cozy hanging out at your place.

  6. Yes Yes Yes!!! Elf free is the way to be. My 5 year old has been on my case daily – nay, hourly – to get the ELF. She actually thinks she sounds sane when she says, “but mom it really does come to life when we’re sleeping!” Exactly! We don’t let mice roam around our house at night, why would I let an elf run around stealing my underwear and pooping marshmallows everywhere. That is literally the last thing I need. I know I would walk down for a fresh water one night and find him sitting there with a knife on the counter claiming he was just getting a piece of ham. Yeah, right, buddy! I’ve heard that one before.
    But the butter boy seems alright by my. I certainly wouldn’t feel the need to race up the stairs in the dark, because let’s face it, he’s chubby and greasy.

  7. The kids rarely sleep all night as it is. There’s no way I’m staying up to mess about with an elf. So relieved my two haven’t heard of it yet. I’ll just tell them it must be a tv show in Austria or something. Love the butter boy! You butter watch out!

    1. I am now kicking myself for not writing “You butter watch out!”

      If your little ones hear about the elf, just tell them it’s an American thing. Apparently Santa believes that Americans are naughtier than Canadians and require more oversight.

  8. You, sir, are hilarious! Being of another generation (probably your mama’s), I never got the fascination with the spying elf. But I must admit, I do enjoy a good elf photo now and again. But back to the matter at hand… Congratulations for sticking to your guns AND for showing your son another way to be imaginative!

  9. I’m sitting here smiling.
    FIRST because you are unwilling to let a mouse go into the wild because it is snowing outside and will thus allow him to continue living in your house………… that is hilarious and entirely understandable. We would get along. I had a fondness for the mouse that was darting about from behind my washing machine but alas.. it was giving my dog anxiety (she’s made for hunting lions but will go after a mouse if it presents itself) so I had to dispense with ending it’s life. Please don’t judge me.
    Also: Your butter boy alternative to the Elf on the Shelf is my absolute favorite thing I’ve read today. And I do a lot of reading. CRACKED ME UP.

    1. I am pro-rodent (“prodent”) so I can’t bring myself to end the lives of those little guys, even if they are pesky, which, I admit, they often can be.

      But my little fellow seems to like her cage. I’m sure she’s never slept or eaten so well in her life. And when peek under her food dish (where she sleeps) she greets me with a placid expression, something along the lines of “Oh, hi there.” There’s no fear, which pleases me greatly.

      I am glad you like Butter Boy. He is a fine elf substitute, though, unlike elves, he can raise your cholesterol. So be aware.

  10. I have seen the elf popping up on FB pages, but I haven’t been inclined to partake in such frivolity, mainly because my kids are all grown up and Grandson is too little to understand any of it. As a kid, we had a small Santa, his wife and an elf that would stand on our window ledge as decorations, but that was it. Each had been a gift one Christmas and became a long-standing tradition. None of that ‘spying’ stuff went on with our elven trio. I much prefer the antics of the dinosaurs of Dinovember. Some of their adventures are hilarious and they don’t spy for Santa! 🙂

    1. That elf design has been around forever. I remember seeing one in my great grandmother’s house when I was a kid that looks just like the ones they sell today. It’s the recent Elf on the Shelf “legend” that frosts my shorts. Down with spying!

  11. I can’t stand that Elf-on-the-Shelf thing! Yay for you! Butter Boy is a huge improvement and certainly needs a job to keep him out of trouble during the off season! 🙂 So. What’s the name of your house guest?

    1. I’ll have to give Butter Boy a job in the spring, too. Hmm….The Easter Butter?

      After much discussion, the name of my house guest is Moxie. And if she sticks around much longer, I’m going to give her her very own blog.

  12. My brother works at the local Barnes and Noble, and pointed out the other day that most of the Elves on the Shelf are white male, the next amount is black male, and then white female, and then a tiny amount of black female elves. We thought it was an interesting reflection of how society is often portrayed by Hollywood.
    I would prefer to hang out with the butter boy. At least he can do something moderately useful.

      1. I was talking about the lack of diversity in a lot of Hollywood products, which is probably far too political of a reference for a discussion of an elf and a corn-cob-butterer.

  13. This elf on the shelf must be an Eastern thing as I only discovered it when I moved to Florida. Being originally from the west coast, we never had such things….don’t like things spying…whether they be elves of Butter Boy, although I do like Butter Boy’s wicked laugh.

    You and your mouse fetish…if you haven’t read Herman the Great…you need to as I am sure that you are really the main character, Mark…in disguise.

  14. The Elfontheshelf is creepy and nosy and would never ever be allowed in my house (but, I admit, neither would Butter Boy, not to hurt your feelings, but he may even be creepier, or is it creamier?) Anyway, as a parent, I didn’t need to use an imaginative snarky elf who ‘comes alive’ at night to keep my kids well-behaved. I used Santa Claus (or the threat of no Santa Claus) and by gum, (or by reindeer), that was enough for us back then, why do the grown-up Santa believers (like my kids, the new parents) now need to invent ANOTHER new fantasy. Sigh.
    Poor Santa. I’ve heard he HATES the elf.

  15. I… feel guilty now. We’ve had a mouse problem for a couple of months, and in the past couple weeks, one of them has met its demise via the cat, one was released by the chicken coop in hopes that… well… the chickens would eat it (it was a no-go), and the other was released in a cold, snowy field at midnight.

    Mice over here don’t get the option of staying inside until the weather is pleasant. But if they did stay inside, the cats would likely kill them anyway.

    1. For the record, the mice in my house are not allowed to have the run of the place. I catch them in humane traps and keep them in a cage until they can be released. So even if I had a cat (and perish the thought!) the feline would never get the chance to kill.

      I think the world of you Rebekah, but I gotta say say this re: the way you treat our little rodent friends:


  16. I am out of the loop. Just hearing this year about the Elf on the Shelf manipulation doll. Is Santa getting lazy or losing his magical powers. Is everything out-sourced these days?

    Love the Butter Boy compromise… I’m all over anything featuring butter.
    The mouse however, you can keep. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  17. HAHAHAHA!! Butter Boy!

    I, too, loathe the little spy and set my kids up with a “magical webcam” when they came around asking for an Elf. Supposedly, the webcam would stream a direct link to Santa’s computer – which may or may not be way creepier. Oh, well.

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