Monday, 23 December 2013

Elf on the Shelf Good or Bad?

The new sensation/holiday tradition of Elf on the Shelf can add to the excitement of Christmas but can also add some negative experiences for both children and adults alike.

As my kids are now past the Santa Claus stage, I was not aware of the Elf on the Shelf until this holiday season.  I have to  admit that he is a little bit "creepy" looking and had me thinking I met this guy before, lol. Well it turns out I have, the mid-century decor elves look the same as the Elf on the Shelf, or should I say the Elf on the Shelf looks like the mid-century elves.  So, because of this, the Elf offered me a little childhood nostalgia.  I love mid-century decor and the ornaments of the 1950's, 60's and 70's are elegant and classy.

The idea of an Elf on the Shelf is cute but the work and discipline that goes into maintaining the facade and the anxiety it can offer some children is not always worth it.  You have to move the Elf around to make the kids think that it has flow back to Santa's workshop/North Pole to report on their good/bad behaviour.  Of course there can be a little blackmail going on with parents saying, "If you don't behave, the Elf will tell Santa...."  Parents for generations have used the threat of Santa knowing if you are bad or good as a way of maintaining good behaviour, but now, there is a messenger of Santa that they can actually see--they are not allowed to touch the Elf--but they can see him and watch where he shows up next.

The internet has also used the Elf on the Shelf in negative ways--I saw one incidence where he was filming a bunch of naked Barbie dolls bathing in the bathroom sink.  Although I was amused at this, the chance of kids seeing this type of thing is not good at all!  Also once you start the tradition you are obligated to maintain it, at least until the kids let you know they are in on it!

What do you think of the Elf on the Shelf--smart marketing/money maker for the creators (based on a book by mother and daughter team, Carol Aebersold and daughters Chanda Bell and Christa Pitts) but is it a tradition worth having in your home? 

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