I love tradition. I have a whole slew of activities that I’ve done for decades for no other reason than I’ve done them for decades. There’s no reason I root for a baseball team located 1,500 miles from my home which I have no geographical ties to yet I’ve managed to see a Royals’ game every year for the last 31 years, even going as far as driving to Kansas City to do so.
Traditions help us maintain a constant thread connecting past and present. Those moments, such as my annual trips to the Florida Keys, are like benchmarks of life. Having a kid just adds to the desire to have moments to measure the passage of time by.
This adherence to traditions is especially true during the holidays. It starts around Halloween when I end the night curled up on the couch with the entire candy jar and watch “Creep Show,” the Stephen King-George Romero schlock horror masterpiece.
It continues through Thanksgiving, which I inevitably end up shucking oysters until my hands have been sliced up like a honey ham (Don’t ask, it is a Florida thing), and continues with stone crab at Christmas dinner (again, a Florida thing). I couldn’t even tell you why for certain, but I have to hang a spider ornament on our Christmas tree before we can put the star on top.
You’d think I’d be open to new traditions that are easily shared with my son. But, seriously, “Elf on a Shelf” is stupid.
For those of you who need a refresher on this phenomenon, “The Elf on a Shelf” is based on a children’s book from 2004 by the same name. The premise of the book is about sentient elf dolls that act as domestic spies for Santa Claus to tattle on the kids that don’t behave.
“I watch and report on all that you do!” the book actually tells kids.
The notion that kids should should accept that there is an infallible being that watches your every action and has the power to punish you based on what you do in the privacy of your own home is creepy enough. I don’t want my kid to be inoculated by some despotic domestic surveillance program. YOU HAVE A FOURTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS, SON!!!
From The Atlantic:
Why inject a note of fear and suspicion into a season and a holiday that are meant to be about love, togetherness, and forgiveness? Perhaps, Christmas aside, raising morally aware children requires we go several steps beyond the concept of a naughty/nice dichotomy.