ost of the world is painfully aware of the “Elf on the Shelf” phenomenon by now. For those of you like my co-worker, who is painfully tech-illiterate (therefore no Facebook/Twitter/etc.) and became a mommy for the first time at 48 y.o. (therefore no “young” mommy friends) the “Elf on the Shelf” is a relatively new Xmas tradition. If you’re into it, it’s something fun to do with your kids to build holiday memories for a lifetime. If you’re a Grinch, it’s another contrived holiday consumerism designed to wring even more money out of people by selling even more junk that parents feel obligated to buy because all the other parents are doing it.
Whatever camp you come from, the premise is this: Santa’s elf has come to your house to keep an eye on your kids and report back to the big man. He comes with a little book telling his story in which your kids are instructed to name the elf and never, ever touch him because he’d lose his magic. Then, each night while the kids sleep, the elf moves from place to place throughout the house and the kids have to find him every morning when they wake up. Today he’s on the Christmas tree. Tomorrow he’s hanging from the light fixture. The next day he’s sitting on the mantle. Etc, etc…
It’s a harmless bit of holiday fun that kids seem to enjoy. I’m happy to report that this year they even released a female version of the Elf. A word to the wise: If you’re going to do “The Elf on the Shelf” every year, be careful. When I was recently away travelling for work, and UnDorkMommy was swamped with all three kids by herself, I got back to my 6yo reporting “Daddy, the Elf on the Shelf didn’t move for three days while you were gone!”
As you might imagine, the potential for creativity with Elf-placement is tremendous. This morning my kids woke up to find that the elf had removed their Xmas stockings from the fireplace and replaced them with their underwear. Apparently our elf was inspired by my old friend Karen, who posted a picture on facebook of the same thing that happened in her house early this morning (before my kids were up). It seems Karen’s elf was, in turn, inspired by pinterest the previous day. Yes, I’m aware that my boxers looks like a freakin’ circus tent next to theirs. Yes, I’m aware that UnDorkMommy’s stocking is the only one still there. We don’t call her “UnDorkMommy” for nothing.
Spend any time on social media sites this time of year and you see all sorts of creative iterations of “Elf on the Shelf” placement. But as you might imagine, some people out there are a little more… creative… than others. Depending on how warped you want your children to grow up, the possibilities are endless. Babyrabies.com had their 2nd annual Inappropriate Elf Contest this year. There is an entire Facebook page dedicated to “Naughty Elf On The Shelf Photos”. For those of you out there with a demented side, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite “Elf on the Shelf” photos I’ve come across this year. By all means, feel free to share your own.
…and if you really want to freak out your kids, have ‘em sit next to you as you scroll down.