Our household has been issued an official citation.
It’s humiliating, and annoying, and I’m inclined to tell the darned whistleblower to mind his own business and let my beagles have at him. But in truth, I must admit, we brought it on ourselves. Seriously, though, did he have to go straight to the authorities? Couldn’t he have manned up and addressed the issue with us directly? Apparently not. Because we were served papers just this morning.
You’re familiar with the Elf on the Shelf, right? He’s an elf, sent by Santa to stalk our children, playing Big Brother, tattling if the kids are leaning toward the naughty. He stakes out in plain sight and carries a list of the kids’ transgressions up to headquarters. He writes little notes to the kids, and I’ve started to suspect my daughter is a little sweet on him, which is totally inappropriate seeing as how he’s 18 and in elf college (or so he told her in a note), and she’s only 8. And what does he do? He goes and throws us under the bus. Not the kids, but my husband and me. The nerve.
The notice is so tiny, I can barely read it. But it looks official enough, at least as official as anything the North Pole would put out, what with all the glitter and stuff they insist on plastering all over everything. “You’ve been served” with a smattering of sparkles and smelling suspiciously of peppermint. (Which, incidentally, could also be from the dogs drooling all over it after they ate an entire package of candy canes. But I digress…)
What could we have done, you may wonder, to have been placed on constant surveillance, our every move, I’m sure, being scrutinized by some pointy-eared elves? It’s all spelled out in the notice.
Holiday Spirit Citation
The Parnell family is in violation of code 8008.1 of the official code for Holiday Festivities for the State of Familyhood on this second week of December. The following violations have been reported and must be remedied in order to strike the names of the family parental of units from the “coal” list.
Violation 1: No Christmas tree has been erected within the home.
Violation 2: The fireplace is currently covered by cardboard boxes containing numerous papers from Emily’s “reorganization,” effectively blocking the Santa Claus entrance and preventing the hanging of Christmas stockings.
Violation 3: There are no hot cocoa ingredients to be found in the pantry.
Violation 4: There are no candy canes in the house (although it has been noted that approximately 50 mini candy canes were consumed in a canine foul play incident).
You have exactly two days to raise Christmas cheer in the household to an acceptable level by rectifying the above violations, as well as playing at least an hour of Christmas music each evening, baking cookies and finding the gifts you’ve hidden in closets and under beds, and wrapping them.
Once this is complete, the Parnell adults will be removed from the “coal list” and, with additional show of good will toward the household, may be added to the “nice list” along with their deserving children.
I guess he told me.
Overland Park mom and freelancer Emily Parnell writes weekly.