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When it comes to parenting there’s a fine line between wanting to give your kids the same experience that it seems like every other kid out there has, and just causing more anxiety, stress or work for yourself. And it seems like every holiday season that entity known as the Elf on the Shelf brings out arguments for both sides.

On the plus side it’s a way to get your kids to behave during December, when energizing sugar snacks are at an all-time high. Downside? You have to get seriously creative, year after year, in order to keep the illusion of this spying doll being alive for your kids to find each morning.

There are pros and cons no matter what, but it’s safe to say that we can all give this mom in particular kudos for a brilliant elf idea. And we’re probably all also crying alongside her after a subsequent panicked reaction resulted in her “breaking” her son’s heart.

Brittany Mease shared her story on Facebook recently, explaining how she started out having her family’s long-standing elf, Elfis, “break” his leg  after her kids left their toys out. She wrote a note explaining he was on “bed rest” for 14 days, effectively giving herself a break for half the month.

Like we said, brilliant.

But it all backfired when Mease forgot about the thing, and the kids realized the 14 day doctor’s order had expired. It was at that point that Mease stuffed the elf in the oven to deal with later, putting it out of the kids’ sight. Unfortunately she forgot about it too, and well… you can imagine what happened next…

Yup, she forgot ‘Elfis’ was there until she went to heat up some pasta, and a “funky” smell began to waft into the next room. The pictures of a melty Elfis and her kids’ reactions are priceless.

You want to laugh, but how do you NOT feel for everyone in this situation? Especially the mom, since she had to subsequently call Santa and find a new Elfis during the craziest time of year?

It’s stories like these that should seriously make new parents consider whether they want to even start the Elf tradition. Then again, some of our favourite holiday traditions are often pains in the butts, but they wind up making the best memories in the end.

Damn you, Elf. You win again.