God Save Us All from “The Elf on the Shelf”

Have Yourself an Absurd Little Christmas


by Joe Buonfiglio

I am an Absurdist. That means I tend to see the ludicrous nature of life and all its preposterous nuances within the chaos of existence as my normal.  In other words, no matter how weird things get, nothing really surprises me…


The celebration of Christmas started as a nice little idea: a bunch of Christians getting together to honor their Lord and Savior, share some good cheer and promote some peace within the savage breast of humankind. I’m an Agnostic, but I get that.  Where’s the downside, right?

But then in 1823, the poem A Visit From St. Nicholas makes the scene and the Father Christmas concept really starts taking off reinforced by the images created at the pen’s tip of political cartoonist and caricaturist Thomas Nast.

So what’s the first thing that happens to a sweet and popular idea once Americans get their greedy little mitts on it? That’s right.  How can we make money off this baby?!  The Big Man at the North Pole may be dressed all in red, but American business sees nothing but green.  Once the song Santa Claus is Coming to Town is launched in 1934 and the “naughty or nice” concept is firmly linked to toy-and-candy-based parenting-reinforcement techniques, the die is cast for the sensory-overload hyper-commercialization of a once holy celebration.  Throw in Coca-Cola, Hallmark and Rankin/Bass-lovin’ television executives usurping St. Nick’s rotund image for corporate gain, and Yuletide devolves into an appalling beast only an Absurdist could love … or at least understand.  Christmas becomes this machine designed to drive the economy under the mere guise of holier aspirations and intentions.

But of all the gaming-console driven, overconsumption-by-design stimulated, Madison Avenue manipulated machination with a bow on it, none of it — NONE OF IT — is more insidious than “The Elf on the Shelf.”

Whomever the sick, twisted fuck was that thought to turn a simple, delightful tale from a wonderful 2005 children’s book into a raging inferno of decorative merchandising featuring the story’s pixie scout elf in the form of a small, soft plush-toy should be boiled in the collective drippings of the world’s holiday hams.


Because the damn things are everywhere. EVERYWHERE!  There is simply no escaping them without strategies intimately linked to the taking of your own life via the purposeful consumption of your holiday Tannenbaum’s tinsel.

They’re as if sugar ants discovering you didn’t tighten down the lid on the honey jar in the pantry last night. They are as plentiful as a zombie horde crushing against a fence to get at the brain of an abandoned child stuck in the dead-end of a dank alley.  They propagate across the societal landscape as easily as cream cheese spreads on a lightly toasted bagel.  Hell, I was at a friend’s Christmas party the other night and she had a damn Elf on the Shelf sitting on the toilet tank.


How the hell are you supposed to “bake a stollen” with a freakin’ Elf on the Shelf staring down your back the whole time? Huh?  Answer me that!

So, I set the damn thing on fire with the cookie-dough scented odor-reduction candle in the bathroom and flushed the remains. Seriously, what choice did I have?  He was obviously condemning me for having eaten too much of the chilled shrimp at the party.  Oh, he didn’t say anything in voice, but those eyes?  That unrelenting grin?

I knew.


Needless to say, I’ve been “disinvited for life” from my friend’s holiday parties … and her daughter’s wedding … and her dad’s funeral next week.

But fuck it! You just can’t let holiday dolls walk all over you like that or it won’t end there.  You gotta nip that judgmental shit in the bud.  Find the biggest plush toy in the prison yard and beat it to death.  You don’t want to wind up being the Yukon Cornelius dolls’ bitch.  That’s not happening to me again!  Not this time!  Frosty’s carrot-nose ain’t gettin’ anywhere near my backside just ’cause I didn’t come up with enough stocking stuffers to bribe the guard for protection.  Not me, brother!  Those soft, cuddly fuckers won’t take me alive!  Top of the world, ma!  Top of the wor—


What was I talking about?


Anyway, however you celebrate or don’t, enjoy the holiday season. I wish you and yours as much joy and peace as you can handle.  Because in the end, isn’t it really all about—

Is that Little Drummer Boy nutcracker … … … staring at me?


© 2015 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

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