emergency on the shelf

Christmas Reminder: Please Don’t Call 911 About Elf on the Shelf

911! Photo: Elf on the Shelf

Each year the Christmas holiday brings with it ample “good” reasons to call 911. Your house is too full of cousins; you are in need of a distraction from an accidental lack of gifts; you touched the Elf on the Shelf, which is prohibited according to guidelines plainly stated in Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition. I strongly suggest, however, that you refrain from calling 911 under most of these circumstances.

A young girl in New Jersey recently learned this lesson, but the damage — both to the Elf and to her local police precinct — had already been done.

Perhaps it might help you understand 7-year-old Isabella’s state of mind if we go over the rule stated in Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition, with which you may be familiar:

“There’s only one rule that you have to follow, so I will come back and be here tomorrow: Please do not touch me. My magic might go, and Santa won’t hear all I’ve seen or I know.”

Oddly enough, I have the same rule. After accidentally touching her family’s Elf on the Shelf, and worried the magic might go, Isabella placed a quick, breezy call to her local 911 operator. The transcript follows, provided by NBC New York:

“Hello?” the 911 operator says.

“It’s Isabella,” the girl says.

“Hi. Hi, Isabella. Why are you calling 911?” the operator asks.

Suddenly, the girl panics.

“Don’t come to my house!” she shouts. “Don’t!”

Isabella — I love your style. She then explained to the 911 operator that she was trying to call her dad and, through an error presumably linked to muscle memory or her mind simply being elsewhere, “accidentally” called 911.

(Isabella, my friend, I’m not trying to embarrass you, but I do think lying to 911 operators is a perhaps worse Santa-related offense than touching the Elf on the Shelf. Please keep this in mind.)

Of course, police had to check on her anyway and found her in tears. The officer who found her reportedly radioed back to HQ explaining, “Isabella apologized. She touched the Elf on a Shelf. She won’t call 911 again.”

NBC New York spoke to Izzy’s mom, who believes Izzy has learned her lesson. “I think she knows not to call 911 unless it’s an emergency,” she said, “and an Elf of the Shelf falling off the shelf is not an emergency.”

Huh. Clearly Izzy’s mom has not read Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition.

Please Don’t Call 911 About Elf on the Shelf