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"Elf on a Shelf" debate

December 6, 2013 - Jennifer Brookens
As if there isn't enough for parents to do at Christmas time, there is now the "Elf on a Shelf" trend.

For those not in the know, this "Elf on a Shelf" trend started from a children's Christmas book that was published, and now sells these elf dolls (boy or girl) to be the watchful eyes for Santa to see if the children in the household are behaving. According to the official "Elf on a Shelf" Website, the elf reports back to the North Pole each night, and then appears on a different shelf each morning. The elf can not be touched by the children or else the elf loses its "magic powers."

But looking at some of my friends Facebook feeds, it seems these elves behave even worse than some of the children. One friend has an elf that has decorated the family's Christmas tree with her kids' underwear, toilet papered the dining room in some sort of hang-gliding attempt, and made "snow angels" in powdered sugar on the kitchen floor. (And these elves are supposed to encourage our kids to be good?!)

Then there is our family's eternal frat boy, Uncle Jim. Uncle Jim sent us some great ideas for an Elf on the Shelf. Most of them involve compromising the integrity of the elf with bikini-clad Barbie dolls and my husband's Miller Lite stash.

I admit I'm torn on this subject. While I see some families' trying to "out elf" each other as it were, I also think it'd be kind of fun. Husband thinks the dolls look creepy. And I know who would have to clean up the messes afterward, and we have enough mystery messes in our house. Plus, I know my kids: The Girl would look up all the Elf stuff and want to be in on the planning, and The Boy would likely grab the elf and torment the cats with it until the cats tear the poor elf to shreads. Not a good way to get on Santa's nice list. So for now I will use the old-fashioned verbal threats about Santa watching, knowing that I'm on a limited time with that card, too.


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The newest Christmas tradition (and hassle): Elf on a Shelf