A few years ago, someone gave my family an “Elf on the Shelf.” If you’re not familiar with it, it’s essentially a small elf in a box and a book. The book tells you that you’re supposed to hide the elf each night during the holiday season and let your kids find it. It’s magic or a messenger of Santa or something. It was wildly popular last year and is probably continuing to sell well this Christmas too.
But as I started to think about the whole “real meaning of Christmas” debate and “is Santa bad” discussion that you almost are required by law to have if you’re a Christian blogger, I started to think about that elf. He was just sitting there with a smug look on his face perched on the fireplace mantle looming over our nativity scene below on the hearth. Instead of the traditional Santa vs. Jesus discussion, I began to imagine what would happen if that elf ever ran into the characters from the nativity scene. What would that conversation look like? I present you:
Elf on the shelf meets the characters from the nativity scene.
Wise Man 1: “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Who are you?
Elf on the Shelf: “I’m the Elf on the Shelf.”
Wise Man 1: “I can see that. It’s right there on your box. I can read, kind of goes along with the territory. I’m a ‘wise man.’ But what are you doing here?”
Elf on the Shelf: “I came to spread holiday cheer and tell people about the magic of Santa Claus.”
Wise Man 1: “That sentence is so wrong on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin. First of all, please help me understand what ‘holiday cheer’ is. Is that some sort of glitter? Like a pixy dust or giggle spray or other elf razzle dazzle?
Wise Man 2: “Slow down Myrrh man. No need to get sarcastic.”
Wise Man 1: “You stay out of this Gold Guy and don’t call me Myrrh man. It’s ‘M&M.’ No one knows what Myrrh even is. I sound like some sort of under the sea creature. I knew I should have brought the gold. Everyone loves you. My gift is judged as slightly better than paprika or cinnamon. Awesome.”
Wise Man 3: “Myrrh man, Christmas is not about the gifts we give, it’s first and foremost about the gift we received. Jesus Christ.”
Wise Man 1: “I know I know, Frankincense Fellow, it’s just that you don’t understand the pressure I’m under with the Myrrh reputation. At least your gift sounds like Frankenstein and is easy to remember. When people say my gift, they never know where to finish the word, they always just kind of trail off and say, Mryhhhhhhhh. But this isn’t about me, this is about this punk elf.”
Elf on the Shelf: “I’m Elf on the Shelf.”
Wise Man 1: “Here you go again. There’s no shelf in the nativity scene and therefore no elf. I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is I’m wearing my traveling robes and won’t be able to tune you up myself. The bad news is the shepherds are always up for a beat down.”
Shepherd 1: “What’s going on?”
Wise Man 1: “This Peter Pan looking doll over here is trying to distract us from the birth of Christ. He’s trying to steal some of sweet baby Jesus’ thunder.”
Shepherd 2: “Oh, that’s not happening on my watch. It’s on like Donkey Kong.”
Elf on the Shelf: “On like Donkey Kong? Isn’t that violent? Can’t we all just giggle and watch my Will Ferrell movie, Elf?
Shepherd 3: “Agreed, tossing you out of this nativity scene like a bouncer at a bar is violent, but people overestimate how clean and well behaved we shepherds were back in the day. We were like longshoreman. Think of us less as caretakers of sheep and more as Pastoral Hooligans. We live under the stars and wrestle bears for fun. David was a shepherd and he cut Goliath’s head off.”
Elf on the Shelf: “Gulp.”
Shepherd 1: “Don’t worry we’re not going to do that to you. We are going to bounce you out of town like a super ball though. Drummer boy, hit me up with my theme song.”
Elf on the Shelf: “Wait, the drummer boy wasn’t at the birth of Christ either. Why isn’t he getting the bum rush?”
Shepherd 1: “Because Jesus is funky and loves a good beat. Plus, every superhero needs a theme song.”
Wise Man 1: “You’re a superhero now? How’d that happen? I must have missed that in the Bible.”
Shepherd 1: “Easy Myrrh-lin, the magician of questionable gifts. According to Matthew, you guys didn’t even show up at the manger. And at least you have a name, I’m just lumped in as a “shepherd.” I’ve got no identity. I had to create my own, with a theme song.
Wise Man 1: “Good grief!”
Elf on the Shelf: “That’s from Charlie Brown’s Christmas!”
Shepherd 1: “You’re still here? Let’s do this thing.”
(Commence elf beat down.)
I’m not sure if that’s exactly how the great elf/nativity scene clash of 2008 happened, but it’s how it happened in my head.
Does your family hide the Elf on a Shelf?
(Post originally appeared on SCL on December 8, 2008.)