Rip off elf on the shelf

My family’s twist on a modern holiday tradition

Morgan Tate

I wake up and find toothpaste all over the bathroom, bright blue toothpaste. Smudged all over the sink and mirror. No one broke into our house; it’s just the elves. 

Holly and Jingle, our families’ elves, are being mischievous. The blue mess doesn’t take too long to clean up. Holly and Jingle make mess after mess all through the month of December. They hang up toilet paper all down the hallway. They have marshmallow fights. They spell words using M&M’s. But they’re really nice despite all the messes they make. They leave me messages in a colorful Advent calendar hanging on a wall in my living room. They give me small gifts that hang in those Advent pockets. 

Holly and Jingle are different. Different from everyone else’s Elf on the Shelf. Holly and Jingle aren’t dressed up in the normal red coat. Holly wears light green with a red ruffle around her neck. Jingle sports a red and white striped top and green bottoms. He also wears a t-shirt that can’t get past his arms that are attached together. 

I thought Holly and Jingle were like any other elf on the shelf for a while. Then one day I casually mention to my friend,

 “My elves made a mess today so I had to move them off the counter.” 

Her jaw drops

“You can move your elves?” 

That’s when I learned one of the sacred rules for the elves that you buy from the store. You can’t move them. This is all rather confusing to a 3rd grade me so I ask my mom about it and she tells me that they were my grandma’s elves and had been around since the sixties. 

Now Holly and Jingle’s family has grown. It’s not just them anymore. Now there are two more elves that are knitted, two reindeer’s that wear peppermint skirts, four gnomes, and a skeleton rat. 

I jokingly call them my “rip off elves on the shelves” but for me and my family, they are their own original Christmas traditions. 

That I will love — and cherish for as many Christmases that I have left.