Unitasker Wednesday: The Elf on the Shelf

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

I like the holidays. I really do. I enjoy spending time with my family and sharing a good meal with good conversation and watching my son in the Christmas pageant. I look forward to exchanging gifts with my nearest and dearest and trimming the tree. I’m someone who prefers her holidays to be simple and free of rats who tattle on you to Santa Claus, like The Elf on the Shelf does:

If you have kids under the age of 15 and celebrate Christmas, you’re probably a fan of the Shelf Elf and now believe me to be the most awful human on the planet. “She doesn’t like the Shelf Elf? She picked the innocent Shelf Elf as a unitasker selection?! She must hate puppies and rainbows, too!”

If you don’t have kids and don’t celebrate Christmas, you’re likely confused by this little guy — this creepy, big eye, pointy nose, weird little guy. Which, is exactly as it should be. You should be confused and scared and in complete agreement with me.

Some background for the uninformed: There is a book you can buy for about $30 that tells the story of the Shelf Elf. In the book, it explains that the Shelf Elf is a spy for Santa Claus. He watches over your family throughout the day, takes scores of mental notes, and then while you sleep he reports back to Santa what happened that day. The next morning, the Shelf Elf is back, but he’s in a different spot in your home. Children are supposed to behave until Christmas out of fear that the Shelf Elf will give Santa a bad report and they’re supposed to want to hunt for the Shelf Elf each morning when they wake.

I have so many issues with this. First, how do you know your elf is honest? How do you know he’s reporting accurately what he sees to Santa? I liked it better when there wasn’t a middleman and Santa just assumed everyone was nice. Timmy? Nice. Sally? Nice. Bobby? Also nice. I’ve seen Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town and I know Santa is a generous spirit who is eager to forgive grievances and sounds an awful lot like Mickey Rooney. Second, the elf is a SPY. He’s a spy who repeatedly breaks into your house and you’re so terrified of him and what he’ll tell Santa that you don’t call the cops. When did Santa become a thug who orders elf operatives to break into your home? I’m not okay with this. Santa does not rule some kind of elf underworld. Third, why would anyone eagerly want to hunt for a creep like the Shelf Elf? If I were a kid, I’d flush the eerie thing down the toilet and hope that Santa just thought he took up with some lady elf in Reno. Finally, where’s the motivation for your kid to behave the rest of the year? All this disturbing piece of plastic with beady eyes and freakishly long limbs lacking muscle tone does is instill terror in my kid for most of the month of December. I’d rather my son behave all year round because of a belief in the golden rule, compassion, and empathy, not because of an anxiety-fueled ulcer resulting from a fear of an elf mafia.

Except for horrifying children and adults, I’m not sure the Elf on the Shelf has much task at all. Dude, he seriously gives me the willies.

P.S. Please don’t take this post too seriously. I’m just having fun.

104 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: The Elf on the Shelf”

  1. posted by Rai on

    I celebrate Christmas, but I don’t have any kids.Is there a model being developed to curb naughty dog behaviors ? If so, I’m all over it ……just kidding folks lol.

  2. posted by Rachel on

    This thing freaks me out. I’d be afraid he’d murder me in my sleep.

  3. posted by Don on

    But if a Shelf Elf qualifies as a unitasker then what does that mean for xmas lights and trees? I’m so confused!

  4. posted by henave on

    I have this little elf in my home and it falls in the category of “things your child finds out about at school”. In this category also exists the leprechaun of St Patrick’s Day fame, which also did not exist when I was growing up- at least not to the extent that I had to try and trap it so it could grant my wish, requiring elaborate traps as well as evidence of his existence (green footprints, chocolate coins,etc.) I never expected to spend the nights before Christmas being awoken from sleep trying to remember if I’d moved the little elf!

  5. posted by Wendy on

    One of these days these creepy things will make their way into some bad B movie horror flick. You won’t see one in my house! =P

  6. Profile photo of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    @henave — What is this leprechaun thing you mention? I’m clearly not an Alpha mom …

  7. posted by AwwwTrouble on

    We received two of these things from the inlaws. On the one hand, it has helped a time or two already with reining in an unruly child, and my 6 year old is delighted with it. On the other hand, yeah. Ditto everything you said. And how the heck do I get them to brush their teeth come January? The three year old is befuddled by it entirely. The first morning – mommy! sister hid my elf in the bathroom! No, little guy, it flew to santa and came back. Oh. Does Santa think I am bad? Etc. BLeah.

  8. posted by Heidi on

    I have littles and I hate this thing, I’ve hated it ever since I heard about it for just the reasons you mentioned! I was beginning to think I was the only mom who felt the same way. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone in wanting to rid the season of this creepy-eyed money waster!

  9. posted by Tiara on

    I’ve seen these all season. I never looked into what it was. The name turned me off, because an Elf on the Shelf is, well, clutter to me. We have enough holiday decorations without adding one this freakish looking.

    The Leprechaun thing is that elementary kids in school these days (mine do, at least) make a leprechaun trap. It’s usually a shoe box that they decorate to make enticing to the leprechaun and has a closure, to trap him in. I see it as harmless (as long as it’s recyclable) and it lets the kids be creative.

  10. posted by taivins on

    These things creep the heck out me too! I also am very amused by the female (with a little skirt) and the African-American (with a dark tan) variants.

  11. posted by Sarah on

    I have a friend who uses with her little girl, and the blog posts haven’t mentioned if the little girl even knows that the elf is supposedly reporting back to Santa (I agree with you, it does sound creepy). I just enjoy looking at the pictures each day of how excited she is to find the elf in a new place (e.g. the day she crawled in bed with mom and dad, the elf was in her bed when she got up, another day it was playing with her dolls, etc). Of course, even without the elf involved I’d still enjoy looking a various pictures of my friend’s little girl, but this makes it so she posts a picture of her almost every day, which she didn’t used to do :-)

  12. posted by Sabrina on

    I actually have one, although not by that name and not with the book — I bought it for pure nostalgia reasons, as my parents had one some 50 years ago. We never went through the spy stuff, it was just a cute fun decoration that we had fun figuring out where to place each year (him and his identical brother elf who wore green). Actually as we downsize this year, it is one of the things that will go in the giveaway pile without regret (other than that: it’s never the same and why try to go back feeling that comes from an implusive and silly purchase).

  13. posted by Dana on

    We have one and my kids love it! Better an elf the kids can see than wondering how Santa “sees you when you’re sleeping”….now THAT’S creepy! :-)

  14. posted by Sarah on

    You are reading my mind! Couldn’t agree more!

  15. posted by Beth on

    I am an Elf on the Shelf hater. My daughter begged for one but I did not cave. I look at it as one more thing to clutter Jesus out of Christmas.

  16. posted by Martin on

    Someone had to say it…

  17. posted by Kandace on

    The Elf is extra creepy. I keep forgetting to move it and our two year old thinks it’s just some funny decoration that we have weird rules about… Glad we got it as a gift and didn’t pay for it!

  18. posted by Jessica on

    OMG! I don’t have children and I was wondering about this silly thing – thanks for explaining. And you should be proud of your thoughts. I think you make great points about the whole it’s a spy thing. Sad that we do that to children. You go girl!

  19. posted by Sarah S. on

    My kids are 14 and 16 and I am SO! GLAD!! that they are too old for this. Mainly because I would have felt obligated to do it as the mom who has to do everything cute and fun and “let’s wear matching jammies and take fun pics by the tree” whacko. But then you have to move it EVERY! single! night! or you have scarred your poor child into thinking they were horrible the previous day and will only get coal and thumbtacks for Christmas. I’m doing good to get my tree up this year. Who needs that kind of pressure?

  20. posted by Sue on

    Best unitasker write-up ever.

  21. posted by Kai on

    My issue is with the ‘A Christmas Tradition’ subtitle. The idea these days that a ‘tradition’ is something you can buy is appalling. Yet frighteningly successful.

  22. posted by Jenn on

    We have an elf but he’s not that elf. I agree, it creeps me out. Our elf sits next to the Advent calendar except for on Fridays when he hides in a different spot just so he can be found.

  23. posted by Lisa on

    Go over to your friends and relatives’ houses and re-hide the elf on them. They’ll find it in July.

    This also works with Easter eggs, by the way. I’m 43 and my mom still finds them well into the next year, although it helps if they’re fake plastic ones.

  24. posted by Attorney At Large on

    YES. Every time someone tells me how much they love these things I add them to my “crazy, don’t contact” list.

  25. posted by Erin @ Small and Simple Things on

    I am not a fan of Santa or the elf. We tell our kids that Santa is a game that some people like to play, and that Christmas is a time to remember the wonderful gifts we have received from God (and most of all, His Son). All the gifts under our Christmas tree are from real people.

    I do have a lot of friends who are big fans of the Elf on the Shelf though.

  26. posted by Norm Deplume on

    While I am not that much into the Santa thing, and would never try to convince my kids that there is a spy/elf in the house, I do get a kick out of seeing what other people (i.e. Facebook friends and random strangers on Pinterest)do with their elves.

    Someone gave us two elves like this, and until a couple of years ago, I had no idea that they were anything other than tree ornaments.

  27. posted by DawnF on

    Rachel made me laugh HARD! That was funny! Maybe he’s cousins with Chucky!

  28. posted by Julie on

    I’m a nanny and the family I work for has a novel approach. The big ticket item(s) are from mom and dad and Santa brings “low-tech” simple toys and books. The kids appreciate Santa because he brings gifts but they’re genuinely concerned about behaving well for their parents. I really admire their approach (I know all families are different) because I’ve never been a fan of “if you don’t listen then Santa wont bring…”

  29. posted by michelle s. on

    I’m with Kai and Beth on this. My kids are 12 & 14 and we had a hard enough time battling the Santa craziness this time of year. Thank goodness my kids are too old for this… and that I’m much to stubborn to give in to “a corporately made” tradition.

  30. posted by LeAnn on

    The book is new; the elf has been around for a long, long time. I grew up with one, and it was never used as a threat, it was just a cute little guy who moved around the house a lot, checking out the decorations. :-)

  31. posted by *m* on

    Right there with you, Erin! Thumbs down for the creepy spy elf!

  32. posted by Kimberly on

    I happen to agree with you on this one. It’s just something else someone exploited to make money off of. I’m not one to try to scare my child into behaving for Santa. I don’t want her to live in fear that Santa won’t come see her. She was already fretting that she was afraid of being on Santa’s naughty list. She was really worried.

  33. posted by Magic and Mayhem on

    I’m a mom of 5 and we definitely don’t have this creepy little thing in our house.

    We had lots of these little guys as Christmas tree decorations when I was growing up in the 1970’s and I loved them (I used to love to tuck their long legs into their little felt arms for some reason). They wore all different colors of outfits and had all different looks. I *hate* the new, commercial book and gimmick of this stuff though.

    I agree with all of your reasons. It’s creepy, it’s thuggery, it’s just…. ugh. And I would hate to think that some weird little doll was watching me and had my fate in its hands.

    Besides, it just seems a little sad and mean the way it’s presented. What could be a magical bit of fun for families (hide him each day and the kids have fun seeing what spot they can find him in) becomes an ominous way to try to force kids to be good for the wrong reasons (not because it’s the right thing to do, not to help the family, not to learn good habits, but because otherwise they won’t get presents?).

    Glad to see I’m not the only anti-elf mom!

  34. posted by Becky on

    My family had one of these in the 80’s but there was no book. My parents told me he watched the presents under the tree to make sure nobody tried to open one early.

    I thought he was kind of creepy then, and I think he’s kind of creepy now.

  35. posted by jasi on

    we feel that way about santa. “kids, don’t take candy from strangers, but hey, sit on that big, old stranger in red pajamas. he’ll come down our chimney and give you presents. you can take those.” creeeepy! my husband lived in 4 year old fear of a man slinking down his chimney back in the day. shelf elf just adds to the yuck factor.

    we gift modestly, thoughtfully and appreciate the winter season. evergreen up and decorated. gifts before new years.

  36. posted by Corinn Solara on

    I JUST bought this for my mother’s classroom! Apparently, she’ll buy anything if it has a chance of nudging the kids into behaving.

    All I have to say is: Erin, you forgot to mention how very, very poorly made this elf is. I mean, there’s HOT GLUE in a few places on it. -_- As soon as winter break starts, I’m making ours a new body so he can actually SIT UP.

  37. posted by chacha1 on

    agreed: best unitasker post ever.

  38. posted by snosie on

    I like the creative hiding and finding part – more so than any of the guilt/obligation etc. I mean you could make anything the thing you hide for fun in the holidays… I’m oh so tempted! (I don’t have kids, I’m 25, I’m not sure anyone in my world would find this fun…?_)

  39. posted by henave on

    @erin- In kindergarten, my now 8th grader came home and told me about the leprechaun that you could trap and he would grant your wish if you caught him, plus that he had visited their classroom and turned over their desks AND left them chocolate candy. This morphed into notes to the leprechaun, leprechaun traps made by child, me spray painting various items gold (look the leprechaun turned the rock into gold!), green hair in the trap, using barbie shoes to leave footprints….I could go on, but suffice it to say that St Patrick’s Day is much more involved than it every was back in the day- we just had to wear green so we wouldn’t get pinched:)

  40. posted by Jaimie on

    I keep seeing this thing on Pinterest and had no idea what it was until I read this! I don’t have any kids of my own yet, but I totally agree about teaching compassion and empathy rather than trying to manipulate/bribe/blackmail them into good behavior.

  41. posted by Michele on

    I have a friend whose elf (not this creepy thing but a cute elf doll) does pranks. He toilet papered the living room one night, shaving creamed the bathroom another. The kids love it. I enjoy her pictures and stories. And am glad it isn’t my house :)

  42. posted by Jessica on

    OK I love the elf. Actually more to the point my kids love the elf. They talk to him and sing to him and jump out of bed to go looking for him. It has added so much to our family that we plan to make him the tree topper (we have never had one) once the kids no longer ‘believe’ in Santa.

  43. posted by Nicole on

    OH MY GOSH!!! It’s that thing! My friend has one of these and has been including it in all kinds of holiday traditions with her kids and then posting the photos on Facebook! She calls it “Fisbee.” I’m soooo creeped out every time I see the photos. I can’t decide if I’m more or less disturbed to know now that it’s Santa’s spy!

  44. posted by Angie on

    1. I think the elf is creepy.
    2. I don’t need the stress of moving it every night.
    3. My husband barely tolerates the whole Santa thing, so I’m sure he would not put up with the whole Elf on a Shelf shenanigans.

  45. posted by priest's wife on

    something that doesn’t clutter and is nice but still ‘secret’- we did ‘Kris Kringle’ during Advent (basically secret santa)-

    5 kids and mom and dad drew names and then did good deeds in secret (trying to do their chore, making their bed, etc)for that person through the season. The older kids & Mom and dad might also leave small candies for their person. We would guess who had us on Christmas day

  46. posted by lise on

    When my kids were little we had two small wooden reindeer that flew around the house, showing up in a new spot each morning. It added to the fun of the season. But the “reporting to Santa” thing is just plain creepy. I never used Santa to get my kids to behave anyway. Telling children that the number of gifts he receives depends on his behavior kind of counteracts the idea of unconditional love that was the center of our religious beliefs

  47. posted by dee in bc on

    HMMM… I have a whole set of these elves & A wooden sleigh & plastic Santa in scale- they’ve been around my family since I was a baby ( think 1960’s). Thankfully the only reporting they do is on the frequency of my dusting ( or sometimes lack therof) depending on how early they make it to the shelf & how dusty that shelf gets over the holidays. My kids just think they’re kind of old & tacky. ( mind you mine have never moved around) We do have this little magnetic snowman that my hubby likes to move around- It’s sort of a fun game though- playing ” where’d Hubby put the snowman today.”

  48. posted by J.P. on

    “[Children are] supposed to want to hunt for the Shelf Elf each morning when they wake.”

    This is the part that creeps me out. Santa outsourcing his intelligence program I can handle. (Come on, the population just passed the 7 billion mark!) But what are the bad kids who *hunt* the elf going to do when they *catch* him? Felt doesn’t handle waterboarding well.

  49. posted by Jodi on

    I have loved this post, and the comments! Very refreshing to not have “everything holiday must be worshiped and adored or you are a bah humbug” discussion!

    Your fan who thinks Christmas music should not start in September. :-)

    (This would totally have weirded me out as a kid too)

  50. posted by Hilywatson on

    Thanks for this….I have many in my family under 15 including me sometimes.

    Happy christmas in ADVANCE.

  51. posted by TracyDK on

    We don’t do Santa in our house, but even if we did, we’d NOT have that thing. It’s too creepy. I have friends who’ve went out and bought it this year and some are having a blast with it, but others, their children are GENUINELY terrified of that thing. So, yeah, no thank you. *L* My 3 year old would be pretty scared of it, because it is creepy.

  52. posted by Alix on

    If Santa can see me when I’m sleeping, and knows when I’m awake, I’m sure he’s got a handle on the rest of my day without this busybody telling him what he already knows. I’ll bet even the other elves think he’s a jerk.

  53. posted by Alix on

    Posted by priest’s wife – 12/14/2011

    5 kids and mom and dad drew names and then did good deeds in secret (trying to do their chore, making their bed, etc)for that person through the season. The older kids & Mom and dad might also leave small candies for their person. We would guess who had us on Christmas day

    * * *

    What a sweet idea!!!

  54. posted by Thrift Store Mama on

    Agreed – best unitasker post ever.

    Loved this quote from Alix “I’ll bet even the other elves think he’s a jerk.”

    We do a very small celebration for St. Nikklaus day and larger celebrations for Advent, Christmas, and the Epiphany. But I can’t handle the elf on the shelf. Somebody gave us a lovely book and elf set a few years ago. Being new to motherhood I didn’t know what it was about, so I read the book, was appalled, listed it on Craigslist and got $10 for it ! Sweet !

    I want my kids to behave because it’s the right thing to do (and it’s also perfectly appropriate for children to be naughty sometimes !).

  55. posted by Rose on

    My kids are a bit older and both know Santa isn’t real. But – they absolutely LOVE the “hunt” for Elf every morning and finding all the funny things he does. I have to admit….I even find it fun to think up new places to put it. It is another fun tradition that we look forward to each holiday – very minimal clutter – I think too many people are taking it too seriously! A little morning fun during the holidays to take the edge off all the “stuff” we need to do!

  56. posted by Cassie on

    Finally bowed to the pressure and bought one of these this year. I just laugh at some of the things some of the other elves are doing in my friend’s homes. Ours sometimes has a problem remembering to move from one place to another each night. Funny post!

  57. posted by Cal on

    I know someone who has one and her elf is apparently really naughty because she has photo evidence of the elf doing terrible things around the house.

  58. posted by Xarcady on

    My parents did the whole “Santa’s elves are watching you!” thing without the benefit of The Shelf Elf. All during December, they’d stop what they were doing at random moments and look out a window. “I think I just saw one of Santa’s elves!” they’d cry. “He was peeking in the window to check on you! Did you see him? They are fast–you must have just missed him!”

    Or, if we were in the middle of being loud, messy, or arguing, “Oh, I think I saw one of Santa’s elves! I hope he didn’t see what you were doing or there’ll be coal in your stockings!”

    Given that there were 8 of us kids and also given that as Christmas approached we got more and more out of control (I believe elementary school teachers experience this as well), my parents were doing whatever they could to keep us under control.

    And it worked, to a certain extent. They also had a contest to see who could behave the best during Advent, and all sorts of other, little things to improve our behavior.

  59. posted by Tanya on

    We have a very mischievous elf in our house. We don’t have the book and skipped the whole tattle telling to Santa aspect. Our Elf is used as a fun way to bring humor to the kids in morning in December. They look to see what he has been up to while they slept and find him playing games, hang gliding on a kite (with fishing line) across the living room), fishing (for goldfish crackers) in the toilet bowl, drinking syrup from the bottle with a straw, etc. Once he even painted the kids’ noses red while they slept.

    For us it’s all about the fun and is a good way to start the day with a laugh. My ten year even secretly set him up one day in a very funny display and innocently asked me if I had seen the Elf, sending me off in search of him.

    Obviously the above could be done with any doll or stuffed animal and you wouldn’t need that particular Elf.

    Merry Christmas!

  60. posted by BudgetorFudget on

    @Dan Trees both hold your ornaments, give you a place to put presents, AND hold a handy secondary water bowl for your dog!

  61. Profile photo of

    posted by Anita on

    Ohhhh, so that’s what that thing is!

    A couple weeks back, the boyfriend showed me this site that had a collection of photos featuring the Shelf Elf in a variety of creepy circumstances. In retrospect, it’s much funnier now that I know what the Shelf Elf is meant to be.

    Now if only I could find that site again…

  62. posted by NettyM on

    My mom had one in our house growing up but there was never any lore behind it. It was just a creepy elf decoration that I dreaded every year. Thankfully, I never knew it was supposed to be spying on me and it never moved about so I could easily avoid it!

  63. posted by CM on

    Ironically, reading these comments has made me want to start a tradition like this! But not-so-ironically, I’m not going to buy the elf. I totally agree that the spy idea is weird, but I love the idea of having a little holiday guy who we set up every night in a different place, having some fun adventure, for our kids to find the next morning. (“Holiday” guy because I don’t think I could keep up doing it all year, but for a couple of weeks before the holidays I think it would be fun.)

  64. posted by Tammy on

    We don’t emphasize the spy element. Instead he is a magical elf who appears in different places around the house. It is a fun game to find him each morning. You never know what silly things he will get into, like the time my daughter found him in the fridge and she giggled for 5 minutes with the thought of him hanging out in there.

  65. posted by Kathy on

    My “kids” are 20-something, so I had never heard of this!

    Wow, sounds like a sick post-911 plot to train young Americans to accept domestic surveillance. “I don’t care if they put a camera in my cubicle, I grew up with a shelf elf!”

    Does the ACLU know about this?

    Seriously, I am another Mom who never lied to my kids about Santa. I wanted them to be able to trust me to tell them the truth, and I wanted them to grow up to be truthful. They are now fabulously successful & well adjusted adults, and they have always been grateful that they were never duped over Santa.

    There are so many lovely ways to have fun with your kids at Christmas.The way Tanya describes using the elf sounds great! Just a playful game of hide and seek without the abusive psychological manipulation. Kudos from me.

  66. posted by Merrilee on

    LOL! I appreciate the background information about the spy elf! Not having little ones I didn’t know the story, but, I have certainly seen evidence around the web that the book must be selling well and many families are carrying out this tradition this year. I think the hiding and finding part sounds fun for little kids. I’m with you on the spying part!

  67. posted by DawnW on

    Huh? I don’t have kids and I couldn’t care less about Santa or elves (then again,I didn’t believe in Santa as a kid,either),but I think this thing is cute.Creepy?No more creepy than Santa magically knowing what you’re doing at all times.Lighten up.I had no idea people took this thing so seriously,geez.

  68. posted by DawnW on

    BTW,I know the post is a joke,but the comments sound kind of serious…

  69. posted by mary on

    I had one of these growing up but it was never used as described; I had no idea about the history this little creepy elf! In our house it was just another Christmas decoration.

  70. posted by Kate on

    This is the very first time in my life I have ever heard of this thing. Kids are great but stuff like this makes me very, very glad I’m not a parent!

    I think moving it around and looking for it is sort of cute (although what mom or dad needs all the extra work this time of year?), but the spying part is creepy….

  71. posted by PAUL on

    We have had one of these things for four years now. Let me tell you about this elf. He is a little liar. I’m pretty sure he got social services involved with my family last year. Look, I will discipline my child however I want. It’s none of santa’s business!

  72. posted by Karen on

    Creepy, creepy, creepy. I have four kids and wouldn’t dream of introducing this “invented tradition” into our holiday season. Heck, I can barely remember to move the Three Wise Men each day between Christmas and Epiphany. (The first kid to find them each morning gets a chocolate coin.)

    Then again, we don’t have the Santa tradition either, which I find to be vaguely creepy as well, so if my kids heard about the “Elf on the Shelf” they would be puzzled as all get out.

  73. posted by Lynn on

    We don’t do the elf on the shelf. I would totally forget to move him. Plus my daughter(6) is a little creeped out that Santa is watching her all the time anyway..she’s like me..he should have something better to do like making toys..I’m tired of subsidizing his gift giving. ;)

  74. posted by ginger on

    You are hilarious! You’re over-thinking this. If you are creative, you can have loads of fun thinking where the Elf will turn up next. !. The freezer with a toe tag. 2. Under the bathroom sink, checking the cleaning supplies. 3. Sitting on the hood of your car,checking for rolling stops.4. In the liquor cabinet-seeing if you have any eggnog with your bourbon. If you don’t like it watching you, get a blindfold. ;)

  75. posted by Melanie on

    Also not a fan of the elf. The closest we got to this in my childhood was a set of letters that spelled out “noel” that we regularly rearranged to spell “leon”.

  76. posted by Tanya on

    A funny version of Elf mischief:

    http://www.lilblueboo.com/2011.....takes.html

    Note: this is not my idea or blog, but I am so very inspired to pose our Elf in similar types of scenes. LOL

  77. Profile photo of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    @Tanya — That is awesome.

  78. posted by Viv Walker on

    Obviously the creators of this are ignoring the hardworking and trusty “Santa Claus birds” who fly around your home and school for free, reporting back to Santa on your misdeeds.

    My mom taught us that any small bird this time of year is actually working for Santa. My kids were taught the same and learned to put out seeds and suet as bribes.

  79. posted by Danielle on

    Oh, I agree with your post about this elf! I couldn’t believe he cost $30!! My child is 3.5 and I’m skipping this tradition. I don’t like using Santa as a threat. Although I could be taking the whole elf thing a little seriously ;).

  80. posted by Elizabeth on

    Thank god that in England we don’t have this horror. (I don’t have kids but I have a small niece and even smaller nephew and they and their friends certainly don’t have anything like this).

    There are historic traditions in many European countries (particularly Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Slovenia) of a bad character (Bad Peter/Krampus) acting as assistant to St Nicholas as he gives out presents and giving out light punishments (or plain items eg a rod) if the children have been naughty.

    But that concept of good and bad works when the gifts are handed out by St Nicholas. Now that it’s all done by a marketing tool of the blessed Coca Cola the devil/angel role has to be taken by an elf, what a pity.

  81. posted by Jeff on

    Your Shlf Elf strikes an uncanny resemblence to Bob’s Big Boy. Coincidence? I think not… :-)

  82. posted by Laura H on

    We’ve had a little elf that we’ve gotten out for years as just part of our Christmas decor. It’s not nearly as creepy looking. But I am not an official *elf on a shelf* fan. I feel like it’s another craze gone bad. Sadly…or not so sadly…I cannot find our version of the elf and Christmas is still happening!!

  83. posted by Valerie on

    I don’t even do the tree.
    Santa has gotten out of hand.
    I started a holiday shelf. Right now it’s Christmas and it has a nativity and some cool tinsel. Its easy for the kids to help with. Next month I am making a valentine shelf.

    I love Christmas but want it fun for all and stress free.

  84. posted by Valerie on

    I also think the elf on the shelf is kind of creppy

  85. posted by Jen on

    I have seen friends post about their Elf on FB, but have never looked into getting one for our family (nor did I know the story behind it). It’s cute, more or less harmless, but not a tradition I plan to start.

    The one holiday “tradition” that I started seeing last year in stores that I really dislike: the fake Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Whoever came up with the concept obviously never watched the special on which it is based.

  86. posted by denise on

    It is people like Paul that think they can “discipline their kids anyway they want” since their kids are possessions that make people feel that are justified to abuse their kids.

  87. posted by jecathre on

    I have young children and I celebrate Christmas. I hate the elf on the shelf. It’s creepy and it’s blackmail and it doesn’t solve the problem the other 11 months of the year.

  88. posted by MizLoo on

    I’m pretty sure Paul was tongue-in-cheek.

  89. posted by Marie on

    My husband inherited a box of sentimental ornaments from his childhood, including several of these elves. He never mentioned that they were anything other than decorations. I perch a couple of them in the tree. One of them actually looks like my husband as a child, so I find that cute.

    But I’m certainly not going to start with the story of elves watching us. My toddler does not need to be creeped out by another thing “watching” her. Yikes.

  90. posted by Caroline on

    @Melanie: We had letters too! They spelled JOY. Then the cat broke the “J”, and suddenly we were a multi-cultural family who celebrated Chanukah too!

  91. posted by Sue on

    Never did and won’t do the Elf. DS is 18 so it’s a bit late to try the Santa gig on him. When I was a kid we did Brownie tasks–secret things you did for another family member. The legend of the house Brownie was that the Brownie lived in the house and if you left out little treats of bread and milk, he’d do little helpful tasks while we were sleeping. (Don’t recall any of us being traumatized by the concept.)

  92. posted by Ron on

    Loved this post because it reminded me of my friend’s daughter, a sweet, well behaved little girl who became obsessive and crazy over the Elf on the Shelf! She wanted to touch the Elf so bad she connived ways to get to him and couldn’t be in the room with the Elf without talking about it CONSTANTLY. My friend finally had to remove the Elf from her home and hide it in her office!

  93. posted by JenDay on

    Oh my. Another creepy way to manipulate your kids into behaving.

  94. posted by Jenny on

    I completely agree with you!! I think he is the scariest thing ever.

  95. posted by Michelle on

    Since I read your post I have seen two things that I know you will appreciate. I have always thought the elf was creepy myself!

    This book:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obi.....tterer-20/

    and this blog:
    http://peopleiwanttopunchinthe.....mmies.html

    Merry Christmas!

  96. posted by M on

    Your post is hilarious. However, the “Santa Claus is coming to town” song lyrics do say that he knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake–sounds like the original Big Brother to me…

  97. posted by marci lambert on

    so i’m in the minority when i tell you that we have two Elf Magic elves (not the one pictured above) and they’ve been visiting us for the past few years, much to my children’s utter and complete delight. and mine own. our tradition is that the elves do silly things at night (they aren’t spies) and the girls go find them upon wakening. i can’t imagine the holidays without them now. my girls write notes to them and put them to bed each night. and my husband and i have a great time figuring out things for them to do. it’s only for a few weeks. some nights we spend a few minutes and put them in an odd place, other nights we do things that are a little more elaborate. i can’t wait to see my kids’ faces in the mornings when they find them.

    what i find sad about all this is all the backlash against elves this year — facebook was full of it with links to that “punch in the throat” blog post. no one makes you get an elf. you choose to do it because you want to add a little magic to the season. why all the hate for the people who enjoy it? is this the season for making fun of others’ traditions? or do you do that all year long?

  98. posted by Michelle on

    @ marci lambert – I can only speak for myself, of course, but the reasons I posted were out of my own humorous observations, and the discovery that I was not alone in my thoughts about the elf’s look all these years. =)

    But never, ever, do I bear criticism of parents who maintain some magic for their kids, I think that is worthwhile, and incredible, and I don’t think anyone is “hating” that.

    I get uneasy around clowns but I do love the circus!

  99. posted by msue on

    My mom and I shared a goofy shelf elf tradition that lasted until her death. We’d take turns hiding the elf in the most unlikely of places – inside a pocket, inside a closed umbrella, etc. Part of the fun was coming up with a ridiculous hiding place and, of course, not getting caught. Now that she’s gone, that elf is about the only Christmas decoration I display.

    I can see why something so silly might be one person’s unitasker, but for me, it is a great way to remember being loved.

  100. posted by Kitty on

    I have been saying the same things to everyone I know this season! I’m glad to see I’m not the only one disturbed by this creepy thing! I drive a school bus, so I hear all the frightening things done by my students’ elves, and shudder!

  101. posted by Kim on

    I seriously hate this stupid elf. I’m so glad I’m not the only one! My daughter thought I was a terrible parent for not letting this creepy thing into our house. And she doesn’t even believe in Santa!

  102. posted by Marie on

    I have never heard of this creepy thing before reading this post. I blame you for the nightmares I am anticipating tonight.

    Even if my parents knew of this, I highly doubt they would have used it. I was an annoyingly logical child. I probably would have been calling ADT and demanding a refund for their crappy home security system not catching the little bugger.

  103. posted by falwyn on

    Let me preface this by saying, we actually do the elf thing at our house, though not in this form (more like Marci above, actually, she’s where I first heard of it, hi Marci!), and enjoy it very much. (It probably helps that the Elf Magic elves that we use look more like little ragdolls, and are not about spying.) The funny thing is that, before reading about elves on Marci’s blog, my mom sent us an Elf on the Shelf kit. But when I tried to introduce it to my kids, they were immediately freaked out and we (haha) shelved the idea. They were all about the other elves, though. I think there may be an almost generational gap between people for whom the Elf on the Shelf face reminds them of kewpie dolls or other such things from their childhood (thus nostalgic), and other people who have no such pleasant associations and find it creepy.

  104. posted by Tracy on

    My parents did this to me when I was a kid, and I loved it! Well, actually, I hated the fact that I had to behave and not fight with my brother when it was around, but we bought the whole story, hook, line, and sinker! My dad would wait till we weren’t paying attention, take the elf and hit the ceiling fan so it would move, and then he’d say he saw the elf fly, and we’d be like, “Yeah, I saw it fly! It went from there to there!!” And if my brother and I were fighting we’d say “Stop! The elf will see and tell Santa! We won’t get any toys!” It was a tiny little babysitter! Best Christmas tradition ever!

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