The Elf Will Not Arrive by Saturday

The 10 year-old is adamant that the house must be decorated for Christmas by December 1st. She’s developed some strong holiday convictions this year, like no Christmas music before Thanksgiving (I delighted to call her out when I heard her singing “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year” the day before Thanksgiving). But this decoration deadline is about more than simple holiday timing. It’s about the elf.

The bloody elf.

The decorations have to be up by Saturday because that’s when the elf comes. But it’s all still down in storage and today is Thursday. She has two hours of cheer practice tonight, and tomorrow night we’re going to a production of “A Christmas Carol.” It’s not going to happen.

I tried to get creative with the timing. “Oh, it’s not December 1st when the elf arrives. It’s the first Sunday of Advent. So we can do the decorating on Saturday.”

Not persuaded even a little, she says, “No, the elf is always here by December 1st” (I honestly don’t know where she’s getting this. I’m pretty sure we’ve been later than that in decorating during the elf era before).

I parlay: “That’s because the first Sunday of Advent is usually the Sunday after Thanksgiving. It’s later this year.”

She doesn’t miss a beat in her takedown. “The elf is an atheist.”

So much of parenting is managing disappointment.

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