Over the past decade, the “Elf on the Shelf” has become a tradition in many homes. According to online research, the Elf was born in 2005 when a mother and daughter decided to write a book.
After being rejected by numerous publishing houses, the pair decided to self-publish the book – first printing 300 copies. By the end of 2010, more 1.5 million copies of “Elf on the Shelf” had been sold.
The basic premise is that Santa sends his "Elf scouts" to families’ homes. Once the family reads "The Elf on the Shelf” book, it is directed to give the elf doll (which comes with the book) a name and register it on a website to make "the adoption" official.
From then on, the Elf lives with the family and watches the children’s behavior every Christmas season.
But children can’t touch the Elf! If they do, it will lose its magic. And without its magic, it cannot travel to the North Pole to relay its "naughty/nice report" to Santa each night.
This is a cute concept and one that seems to have become very popular among young families. Who doesn’t want another technique to get the kids to behave?
Do you have an Elf on the Shelf? Upload your best Elf on the Shelf poses here and share your ideas for fun Elf on the Shelf locations in the comments. If you haven't bought into the $29.95 phenomenon of the Elf, tell us why.
Websites have been established listing “101 Ideas for Your Elf on a Shelf,” and Pinterest is popping with Elf poses, including pillow fights (feathers everywhere), floating around the house on a helium balloon, and being tied up by mini Lego people.
Our family, however, has not caved to the Elf craze. Maybe I’m just lazy and the thought of having to configure said Elf into precarious situations every night doesn’t appeal to me.
Maybe I know I’d feel even guiltier adding another lie to the holiday season (and this year, my 10-year-old is finally aware that Santa doesn’t actually slide down our chimney, so we’ve got him "lying" to our 5-year-old too about Santa too).
It just doesn’t feel right. In my opinion, it’s one more distraction from the true reason for the season.
Facebook is full of daily "Elf on the Shelf" poses and stories. They’re clever and comical, but after a discussion with my 5-year-old, it was determined that Jesus is always watching, so Elf or no Elf, we should always be on our best behavior.
He suggested we find a Jesus doll to sit on the shelf. I thought that was cute.
We do have an old plastic elf that I inherited from my Nana when she passed. I never looked at it as anything but a special keepsake that rests on a shelf at Christmas.
But every now and then I catch my little guy glancing at it with a touch of concern in his eyes as he wonders if the elf is really watching.