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What Is The 'Elf On The Shelf' Craze?

Posted on 30 March 2017

The Elf On The Shelf craze might not be an actual tradition as yet but it’s certainly gaining momentum in America and the UK. Starting in 2005 from a book of the same title, the idea is to ‘adopt’ an elf from your local store and start placing him or her (we’ll refer to the doll as ‘it’ moving forward) around the home. The elf is there on behalf of Santa to keep an eye on everyone in the house and report back to Santa about who’s been ‘naughty or nice’.

Used as a tool to keep the children in line, they’re not actually allowed to touch the elf otherwise it will disappear forever and never return. Parents gleefully move the elf at night into different positions and when the kids wake up in the morning they find it in a new spot and try to adhere to its elfish whimsy.


While some parents hail the elf as their new parenting tool for good behaviour in the lead up to Christmas, others have labelled the elf ‘creepy’ and the idea has produced lots of memes about what the elf really gets up to at night.​

    Parents gleefully move the elf at night into different positions and when the kids wake up in the morning they find it in a new spot and try to adhere to its elfish whimsy.

The book was written by a mother and her young daughter and included a puppet, which is where the elf on the shelf idea really took shape. But some have labelled the adult author a tyrant. What may have been a fun game in their household has ended in tears in another.

Some parents report their children becoming so fearful of the elf that it almost ruined Christmas. Many adults find the doll a bit sinister. Stuart Hedge from The Guardian referred to the doll as a ‘nightmarish, murder-looking totalitarian snitch’. The doll has certainly been divisive with views ranging from ‘Christmas miracle’ to ‘Christmas nightmare’. Parents who have fun with the doll create silly scenarios which you can also look up online, where the elf is driving the kids car toys or making a snow angel in Christmas confetti.


    Parents who have fun with the doll create silly scenarios which you can also look up online like driving the kids car toys or making a snow angel in Christmas confetti.

Initially the doll was priced at around $30 but many other options have become available as the new marketing craze sweeps the West. You can find cheaper versions online as well as a plethora of elf-related games and toys. The original book is also available for purchase on the website of the same name.

Wether you decide to use the elf for good or bad make sure your Christmas if fun-filled and festive!

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