Which Elf on the Shelf Mom are You?

elf1This time of year, my Facebook feed becomes overtaken by an elf. The “Elf on the Shelf” has gained immense popularity the last few years. Mothers everywhere are strategically placing this little guy (or girl) in mischievous situations each and every night from Thanksgiving until Christmas. Yet just as sure as my Facebook feed will be filled with Elves in elaborate setups, there will be the inevitable posts and articles about why certain moms will NOT partake. Even among our contributors, we are divided. Nearly all of us have different outlooks on the Elf on the Shelf.

Which Elf Mom describes you best?

The Good Intentions Elf Mom: 
This year will be different, she says. The Elf will come out on time and get into something different each evening. By day four, she’s done. Her Elf spends the rest of his days in the Christmas tree that she also vowed to keep alive past December 15 this year. That’s not going so well either. She has to come up with a better explanation than “Sorry, kids, the elf is in a coma” when her kids question why the Elf isn’t moving anymore.

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Job Security Elf

The Inappropriate Elf Mom:
This mom literally bought an Elf just to enter a contest. A contest, hosted by Jill from Baby Rabies, where you pose your elf in rather adult situations in hopes of winning a prize. This mom’s children likely don’t even know about the Elf or what he’s supposed to do. The kids only know that mommy giggles like a 12-year-old boy when she discusses the Elf. We call this, “Job Security Elf.” She needs to be sure more and more kids are added to the family so she can stick around, and she has quite a nefarious way to ensure this happens.

The Overachiever Elf Mom:
As soon as the Halloween decorations come down, she begins scouring Pinterest for creative ideas. Marshmallow bubble baths and cheerio “donuts,” anyone? Not only that, she is clever enough to come up with ideas that other overachieving Elf moms will want to copy. She has lists from each year so as to not repeat his antics. She spends more time cleaning up after the elf than she does her kids, and the Elf may or may not also have a detailed calendar of activities planned for December. Her children relish in this tradition, but let’s be honest: she does it more for herself than the kids. She may even have a secret crush on the Elf. And you better believe the Elf has a name. And birth certificate.

The Bare Minimum Elf Mom:
She reads the book to her kids and moves the Elf around the house each night, but she doesn’t get too involved with him. It’s just not that big of a deal to her, or her kids. This year, she may even spring for the DVD, but probably not. She’s the easy peasy kind of mom. The kids’ behavior is enough for her without having to add Elf antics to the mix.


The Elf is a Bribe Mom:
This mom is always looking for ways to use traditions to her advantage. She gets the Elf. She plays the game, but she has an ulterior motive. Her tactic is to utilize the tradition to gain good behavior from her children. “The Elf is watching!” she exclaims as her kids get into something they shouldn’t. This mom’s Elf has super powers like watching the kids at school and being able to take away all of their favorite toys.

The What the Elf Mom:
This mom has not even heard of The Elf on the Shelf, much less purchased one or come up with any schemes for him. Clearly, that means this mom doesn’t spend any time on the internet between Halloween and Christmas. She will hear about him at some point, though, because he’s EVERYWHERE. I wonder what type of Elf mom she’ll be when she’s finally confronted with the tradition.

The Elf Hater Mom:
Not only does she refuse to participate in this tradition, but she loathes it and may openly mock the Overachiever Elf Mom (in a loving way, of course!). This mom just has too much other stuff going on to add yet another time suck to her life. She will not bow down to a plush doll in the name of holiday spirit. In fact, the only spirit she’s interested in is of the alcoholic variety. Pass the egg nog, please.

Do you see yourself in this group of Elf Moms? Or perhaps you are one we didn’t list?

Myndee is a 35ish year old New Orleans area native. She's an author, speaker and self-love advocate. As an introverted extrovert, Myndee loves being part of the generation where most of her friends live in her computer. She and her husband, Luis, live just outside the city with their three kids.


  1. So, if you don’t buy this made in China elf than you are more interested in getting drunk than bringing holiday spirit to your kids? Nice message for the blog to send out.

  2. I’m not quite a Hater Mom but I pretty much pretend that The Elf on the Shelf doesn’t exist. Between caring for three kids and celebrating Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, my daughter’s birthday, and then Christmas, I simply have no time. Although I do like boozy eggnog. I’m laughing at the made in china comment. Way to be “that blog commenter.” Slow claps for you, lady.

  3. Ha! I love it, Myndee. I don’t really think I’m on the list, so I thought I’d offer the perspective of an Elf purist. First of all, we didn’t actually purchase our Elf – he was a gift from my in-laws to my then one-year-old a couple of years ago. But my son has been enchanted with him from the very beginning. While the book itself is poorly written in nauseatingly sing-song rhyme, it outlines the scout elf lore behind the tradition, and I’m really not sure how it morphed into the one-up culture Pinterest-monster it has become. We hide our elf every night in a fun spot (riding the train around the base of our Christmas tree, hanging from the paper lantern in the living room, hugging the sock-snowman my son made last year, etc.), and my son is excited to look for him every morning. That’s it. We don’t do it begrudgingly – it literally takes two minutes or less, and we enjoy it because he enjoys it. We keep it simple, magical, and fun. We read the book often, because my son requests it, and sometimes our elf even leaves my son some little notes throughout the season. But our elf doesn’t cause trouble, make messes, or participate in elaborate antics that require advanced planning or materials.

  4. I’m the good intentions elf mom. Night one, she brought the whole family these delightfully tacky matching pajamas. Night two she climbed the Christmas tree and put candy canes on it. She’s been in the tree since. I’m waiting for my 7 year old to ask why she hasn’t moved. Pass me the boozy eggnog!

  5. currently the oblivious elf mom is where I stand, however if and when the elf makes its sneaky little way into our house I will swing between inappropriate elf mom and intentions elf mom. ? It seems like so much fun…how have I been able to resist so far?!

  6. Alright, I admit it. I am *that* over achiever elf mom people hate. Our elf will play board games with dolls, have sack races with stuffed animals, trim the Christmas trees with new ornaments (or underwear) and even have a movie night with Barbie. This year, my daughter is really into reading the Harry Potter books, so I plan to sew the little guy a Hogwarts robe and givie him a toothpick wand. Maybe even find him a paintbrush broomstick to fly.

    My daughter loves the elf and I love the way she interacts with him, so yeah, it’s totally worth all the effort. And it’s fun, too. With my job, I work 45-60 hours a week, and coming up with little elf scenarios can be a pretty good stress reliever. In fact, I will likely continue the elf tradition even after she stops believing in the elf magic, just because it’s like a fun little inside joke we can share between us.


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