So, we don't do the elf on the shelf thing. I won't get into the reasons why we don't (though I might add a link to my friend Lee's forthcoming essay about her reasons why, as they are pretty much precisely our reasons why).
While I'd been thinking a bit about the elf when they started appearing all over everywhere, I hadn't thought about the fact that this year Juliette would very much be aware of the existence of such creatures and, thanks to friends who have been told that every family gets an elf, fully expecting one of our own to show up on any given morning.
I didn't quite know how to respond to her. I don't want her to turn around and ruin the fun for someone else. I can see it coming that the elf is elbowing his way into the pantheon of children's folklore and it won't be long before being elfless will be tantamount to paying your kid for lost teeth without going through the fairy middleman. But for now and perhaps forever we won't have one, and it doesn't do to let Juliette go on believing that her elf is en route from the North Pole.
I ended up keeping it simple. Not every family has an elf. Period. She seemed to accept this. I felt kind of badly, though the fact of the matter is that there are all sorts of things that some families have and some families have not, some families do and some families do not. And we don't - can't - jump on every bandwagon.
Why should everyone have to celebrate Christmas the same way, anyway? Still, I was stewing a bit about how I am this big meanie who is depriving my children of their right to be monitored and/or delighted by a roving elfin character. And then I unpacked the Pershey family Christmas chicken.
Really, who needs an elf when you have a chicken? Clearly, Juliette and Genevieve will survive their deprivations.