3 S.R. Johannes: The Problem with Owning Your Own Elf

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Problem with Owning Your Own Elf

Marketing Tip of The Day: Know your Audience (published or pre-published)

  • about 3/4s of juvenile books are bought by people ages 25-49 (don't forget to also market to adults)
  • 41% of items purchased on Internet are books making them the most popular online purchase (yes you need to do Online marketing)
  • 115 is the number of new, independent bookstores that opened in 2007. (utilize booksense.org)

I bought Elf on a Shelf for my kids last weekend (really my daughter, my son is only 18 months so what does he know right?).

The elf set comes with a book and a small elf. The premise?
Be good? Santa's Nice list.
Be bad? Santa's Naughty list.

No matter what - the ELF tells Santa all each night.

My daughter loves it.

Bonus #1 - The joy of bribery
Any bribe that gets kids to behave - is a great buy in my opinion. I can use it not only for my kids but for their friends at play dates. Excellent. It'll at least get me through the holidays. Hopefully, I'll get totally lucky and they'll come out with one for every month, every holiday. A groundhog, a heart, a bunny, anything to avoid the potential fits.

Bonus #2 - Secret Wishes
I get to hear my kid whisper wishes. Its amazing what she will ask for. yesterday I heard her ask for our dog back. he died last spring. broke my heart.

Bonus #3 - Magic of Christmas
I get to see the magic in her eyes every time she finds him. I love being a witness to her pure innocence. She really believes that the elf is there to report to Santa. It makes the holidays magical for her and me.

Now for the problems....

Problem #1 - You have to name it.

Why my daughter chose Winko is beyond me. What ever happened to Bob or fluffy. Winko? Now when she tells people, they look at me like I made the suggestion. I didn't - I wanted Herbie or Dopey.

Problem #2 - Unrealistic expectations
Since my daughter is telling him her wishes, she actually thinks she is going to get a treehouse, a trombone, and a car. Oh, the disappointment!

Problem #3 - The biggest problem of all!
You have to rehide it every night.

Actually - that is not the real problem.

The real problem? I have to remember. One more thing for me to remember besides lunches for the morning.

The first night - I (and my hubby-in-crime) failed miserably. We totally forgot. The elf is supposed to leave the house, report to Santa, and then return in a different place.


To be funny. To be cute. To make you find him. Because he is magical. Because he can fly.

All slightly annoying.

So what happened? My daughter wakes up to the "elf on the same shelf!" Disaster!

"Mommy, why didn't the Elf move?"

"Uh, maybe he was tired."

"Maybe he didn't go see Santa."

"No, I'm sure he did. Maybe he forgot."

"Maybe he is broken."

"He's not broken honey. We probably just up too early and he hadn't moved yet."

"Maybe he isn't magic and can't fly."

"I'm sure he can fly. Maybe he just likes that spot. Maybe he wants to stay there."

"Well, that stinks!"

Great, I've damaged my daughter once again.

Later, when she went into her room to get something.

I rush around to reverse the psychological damage. I grab the elf off his crummy shelf and try to stick him on the plant. But he falls off.

I jam him on the counter but he flops over.

I swing him up onto fan just as I hear my daughter coming down the hall.

I mean the stress of it all. The total anxiety.

As she rounds the corner, I slip into my room and pretend I am folding clothes (something I don't do often).

Mommy! Mommy! Winko moved! He is magic! He's just sneaky!

Whew! Another disaster contained.


holly cupala said...

That's hilarious! Though I can see the problems as you have recounted them. My little one is 3 and would probably get a kick out of it.

Corey Schwartz said...

Ha! That is absolutely hilarious. I found it especially amusing because I was in a critique group with Chanda Bell, the author of Elf on a Shelf! She is really amazing. Pretty much rote it, packaged it, and marketed it herself, and I'd say she'd done a darn good job. It seems to be everywhere!

Irene Latham said...

We have an elf at our house as well... he eats apples and oreos and makes mischief at night. Oh he also writes back when written to. The things we do as parents to make magic for our wee ones... I love that my son loves this elf and believes so fervently. Totally worth the trouble, and I really will be sad when that inevitable day comes that he no longer believes...

Anonymous said...

Your kid is a crack-up. I'd be just like you, forgetting about the Elf. Good save, though.

The funny thing is, this makes me look at my own childhood and wonder what sorts of trials I put my parents through when they messed up!

Carrie Harris said...

Winko. Snarf. That's hilarious. For ages, my kid named everything Arthur. Didn't matter if it was male or female, it was Arthur.

So did she get the trombone? :)

Anonymous said...

Winko is too cute. When my son was tiny I told him that there were "little people"/elfs living in our air vents and when we heard the vents rattle (when the air came on), it means they were playing. Sadly, I think I scarred him for life with that one...