Christmas is a double edged sword. Full of cheer, parties, angry shoppers, and sugar jacked children. There’s good and bad. Whudahyagonnado?
But, do you know what Christmas has that kicks more arse than anything? That makes it the most important holiday ever?
Santa is like the ‘Odin’ of all holiday icons- there are none more powerful... and yet benevolent.
I love him because he has given me “THE POWER!”
The power of COAL FEAR. Ho Ho Ho!
Ok, everyone know what “The Elf On The Shelf” is?
For those who don’t, it’s a little Elf doll that comes with a book (I’ll be popping in an excerpt in a mo). Basically, Santa sends the elf to your home to watch the children during the day, and then magically flies to the North Pole at night to report to Santa on whether the kids have been naughty or nice. Kinda like Santa’s little Narco.
So, we got out our elf and book a few days ago and reintroduced The Destroddler (4 yr old daughter) to her old friend Narco the Elf*.
*Not his actual name.
“Look Sweetie, it’s Santa’s elf!” I said. “He’s going to report back to Santa if you’ve been naughty or nice.”
The Destroddler’s eyes went all squinty as she looked at Narco with unabashed suspicion.
“Dad, what happens if he tells Santa that I’ve been naughty?”
“Well, instead of presents, Santa will bring you coal.”
There was a mighty pause.
“What’s coal, Dad?” I could tell she didn’t like where this was going.
“Coal is a piece of black, dirty rock.”
I watched the gears turning in my daughter’s head as she tried to come to grips with the possibility of a stocking full of coal instead of My Little Ponies. I think she was having a hard time understanding how The Great Bringer Of Presents could be so spiteful as to deliver a dirty great pile of rocks to our house.
“Santa’s gonna bwing me coal?!”
“Only if you’ve been naughty, Sweetheart. But I’m sure that you’ll be good for Santa, because you’re already a really good girl. Were you good for Mum today?”
She took a moment to think. And then said this-
“Well Dad, I may have been... a little bit bad today.” Her finger and thumb held about a millimeter apart. It was one of those lovely ‘moments’. You know what I mean...
Why did she admit to her small transgressions (which according to reports were an all day stream)?
Because she has COAL FEAR.
And I couldn’t be happier. And I don’t care if that sounds mean. If you have a problem with that, feel free to come over and put her to bed for me tomorrow night.
It’s not a terrible thing. She realizes that bad behavior has consequences, as it should- in this case coal instead of presents.
She knows that Narco will run off to Santa first chance he get’s and spill the beans.
The Elf and Obersturmführer Bällerinä are definitely not friends. I think she may be plotting a way to get rid of him. I’m not kidding.
A little part of me is sad that she had to experience this betrayal by Santa. But-you know- just a really little part. The rest of me is virtually fist pumping and doing a “Running Man” victory dance and saying “That’s right! Your arse is mine for the month of December! I own you!” Feels good.
Parents of young children need as much help as we can get. COAL FEAR gives us a mighty hammer to wield that gives us a pretty easy run heading up to Christmas. If she starts to crank one up, all I have to do is say-
“I hope you make a good choice, Sweetie. Because, you know, Santa’s gonna find out if you’re bad.”
And that’s it. She settles down and becomes lovely again almost instantly. It’s the toddler equivalent of snapping to attention whilst yelling “SIR, YES SIR!”. I love you COAL FEAR.
Now to the book. My daughter definitely feels like there’s something not quite right with the elf. He’s the tattle tale. The snitch. The Edward Snowden of Christmas. No one likes a rat, even when they’re 4.
She has a point. There’s a vaguely creepy undertone resonating through the book. No surprise really, as it’s about a magical elf who totally violates your privacy on a daily basis, taking notes and reporting back to that coal-giving-bastard Santa, everything you did that day. Allow me to demonstrate.
Here’s an excerpt. Read it once like you’re reading to a little kid. You know, all bubbly and happy and shit. Then read it another time all sinister, or in a demon voice (my personal fave).
At holiday time Santa sends me to you.
I watch and report on all that you do.
My job’s an assignment from Santa himself.
I am his helper, a friendly scout elf.
“Friendly scout elf” my arse! It’s more like the NSA, except cute and in a red hat. Again, I don’t care because I’m in the middle of a Halcyon period of child compliance, and it’s blissful. Piss off if you don’t like it.
So, if you’ve got a small kid(s) and you’re not using the COAL FEAR, then you had best jump on that train pronto, ‘cause you’re running out of time. Unless of course you’d prefer to ride that wild stallion of a toddler into Christmas alone. In that case, I wish you luck, Kemosabe, but don’t take a knife to a gun fight.
I’ve decided that next year Narco will come out on the day I hear my first Christmas song whilst out in public- probably around November 20th.
The Destroddler may not like him, but Narco has power. He has Santa’s ear. He’ll drop a dime on her in a second if she’s naughty, so she’s been... really good. And easy. And lovely.
Oh man, I love you Narco. You’re like a month long Christmas present.
That’s it for now.
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“...the unread voice of a generation.”