Dear Elf on the Shelf,

You’ve been with our family for a few years, so you know by now that I love Christmas. I really do. I love everything about it, in fact.

I start ‘keeping an eye out for deals’ in August.

I LOVE wrapping Christmas presents.

Matching Christmas PJs are a requirement in my home.

I love it all. But I owe you an apology. Because though I am really good at Christmas, I am really bad at you .

You see, when I brought you into our lives a few years back, I did so with Pinterest grandeur. You were promised endless mornings of creative hilarity and mischievous shenanigans, surrounded by a family in matching sweaters and perfectly warmed cups of hot cocoa.

I even—wait for it—bought a photo album where I planned to document all of your antics year after year. Which I did. For three days.

Because you did not get a Pinterest mom—you got me.

(In my defense, I did save you from being named ‘Hairy Elbow’ by a creative 3-year-old . Yes, it is your middle name, but at least we landed on ‘Hats’ as a first name, so that was pretty clutch of me. #Truestory)

But still, I am sorry .

I’m sorry that you sat on the same shelf for four days in a row last year, and that we blamed it on you for being ‘tired’ and ‘silly.’ I was the tired and silly one, Hats Hairy Elbow, not you . Thanks for taking the fall.

I’m sorry that my kids are too creeped out by you to let you upstairs while they’re sleeping, so you’re quarantined to the first floor of our house, probably forever. It’s that smile, dude—sorry.

I’m sorry you live in my underwear drawer 11 months out of the year. It’s the only place you’re safe.

I’m sorry I can’t enforce the ‘don’t touch the elf’ rule. If my daughter thought that by touching you she inflicted some kind of injury upon you, it would legit ruin Christmas for the next three years.

I’m sorry for the time I left you in the refrigerator for 48 hours.

I’m sorry that we got a puppy this year , and that he will probably eat you. I promise to invent a tale of true heroism about how you died saving Christmas, while I wait for your replacement elf to be delivered by Amazon.

I’m sorry that your friends all have cute outfits and accessories, but the closest I ever came to that was the time I wrapped dental floss around your torso—the kids thought it was hilarious though.

I am sorry that you will never be featured in blog posts inspiring other elves’ charades, and that this , my apology letter, is your 15 minutes of fame.

Because, you got me—I’m not a “I’m sorry for the mess my kids were making memories” kind of mom. I’m more of a “I’m sorry for the mess I was just too darn tired to clean” kind of mom.

And you, Sir Hats Hairy Elbow, have had to bear the burden of that.

But I want you to know that despite it all, we really do love you.

In the chaos of our lives , you remind us that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be absolutely magical.

I’m not sure we have ever laughed as hard as when our daughter decided that she wanted to name you Hairy Elbow—that will forever be one of my favorite Christmas memories.

Every time I open my underwear drawer and see your little face (albeit a little creepy) I smile, because you instantly make me think about the joy of this time of year, and this tradition that we are making our own—even though I am terrible at it.

When I forget to move you, it’s usually because I am exhausted from a full day of getting to be a mom to my awesome kids.

And though your schemes are not in the least elaborate, my children’s eyes are still wide with sparkling wonder every morning as they search for you, and their squeals of pure delight when they find you are some of the sweetest sounds I know.

Because the truth is that my kids don’t need perfect. They just need me, as I am. Together we are magic enough.



P.S. Please try not to let the dog eat you, because in thinking about it, that would also probably ruin Christmas for the next three years.

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