By Dawn Cranfield
GMA’s Lara Spencer Elf on the Shelf Blunder
Warning parents – if you have young impressionable children, do not let them read any further; this article may contain damaging evidence of reality that Christmas magic exists only in the spirit of the holiday.
Last week, Good Morning America’s Lara Spencer inadvertently told viewers the elf of the loved toy The Elf on the Shelf does not really travel to the North Pole in the middle of the night to report back to Santa. She was also seen handling the toy, apparently another act that could land her on the naughty list.
Outraged parents complained to the program, some claiming she was “The Grinch who stole Christmas for ruining the fairy tale for young viewers.” (nypost.com) I suppose GMA did not realize their target audience was 4 to 8 year-old viewers. As a child I cannot recall watching Good Morning America, sitting down with a cup of coffee, biscotti, and discussing the DOW; but that is just me.
Other outraged fan of the show wrote on the show’s Facebook wall, “THANKS A LOT U MORONS!!!!” My kid ran upstairs this morning saying the elf on the shelf isn’t real and that parents hide it in the middle of the night!!! I’M PISSED!” Another wrote: “Tune in tomorrow when Lara tells children all over the country that the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are really just your parents.” (nypost.com)
GMA aired another segment responding to the outrage. The storyline of the segment shows the elf, now named Gary sitting in a tree; it is explained that in the original segment the elf was handled because it had not yet been named, so he was unable to travel to the North Pole and
he had no magical powers.
So, did they save the day and save face? Were the offended parents able to explain the blunder to their children and save the magic of Christmas?
Hard to say; the same offended parents will probably not write or call to say if they were pleased with the resolution, human nature I suppose.
However, it made me think of how Christmas magic disappears; how children start to learn about Santa and when they discover it is their parents. Then, when they start to put it all together and establish the fact that the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy are all one in the same as well.
My own kids started to figure out when they were around 7 and 8 years old; maybe earlier. They had wanted Furby’s for Christmas and they found them in my closet; when Santa brought them, they discovered the secret. They knew for certain when another year one of them received a large gift and they found the box for the gift thrown away in the trash; Santa left his gifts opened under the tree.
My brother-in-law has an ex-wife who told her children when her boys were 3 and 4; much to the chagrin of their father. So goes Christmas magic.
When I was 6, I found some wrapping paper that Santa used; I did my best to ignore it, I tried hard to believe the rest of my life. Still do.
There are so many places for children to discover the lack of magic in the world; as a parent, you have to be incredibly creative to continue the traditions if you want your child to believe. Every store has stocking stuffers, there is a Santa on every street corner, and you can overhear moms talking about it in public; so, if you want to keep the magic alive, perhaps parking your child in front of the news is not the best place during the holiday season.