Elf on the Shelf

For as long as I can remember I have been afraid of clowns, puppets, marionettes, ventriloquist dummies and even claymation. I’m not sure why. Nothing traumatic happened when I was a child that caused this unusual phobia (that I know of). But nevertheless it is there. If I see any of those things on TV or out in the world… I freak out, avert my eyes or flee the scene as soon as possible. I am also unreasonably fearful of nutcrackers. I think they are the creepiest things on the planet next to spiders and Donald Trump. So as one might imagine, Christmas can be a little unsettling for me what with all those larger-than-life wooden figurines standing around the stores, people’s homes and showing up unannounced in Target commercials, etc, etc. just waiting to spring to life when everyone is asleep.

Enter “Elf on the Shelf”… created for parents to use as a “fun” tool to curb the naughty behavior of their offspring this time of year when the kiddos are running rampant all hopped up on candy canes and such.

To see the official “Elf on the Shelf” commercial, click here. 

The idea is that Santa has sent his very special, magical elf to the child’s house to watch their every move and report back each night when the children are asleep (you know, with the visions of the sugar plums and all that crap) to the North Pole whether the child has been naughty or nice. And every night the parents “move” the Elf to another location in the house so that the notion of him being real persists in the child’s imagination.

Is it just me (and my unnatural fear of inanimate-objects-come-to-life projected onto this “toy elf” sitting on a shelf in the house… watching your every move) or does this totally creep the hell out of anyone else? I mean, I shudder even as I type these words.

My friend Jan is using the “Elf” and has been kind enough to send me some pictures of him in her house. I will let you judge the creepiness-factor for yourself…

The "Elf" warming his little frostbitten buns on the toaster.

And while I happen to think that any toy of this nature could be considered cruel and unusual punishment for a child, apparently the kids don’t seem to mind it too much. Some of them actually enjoy it… like Brady, Jan’s son.

There is another breed of the “Elf on the Shelf” idea in a cuter, cuddlier character named Christopher Pop-in-kins. I learned of him when our marketing director, Gina, talked about her and her husband’s nightly adventures placing Christopher around the house. And yet, for every story she shared about the creative places Christopher had “popped up”… there was a hilarious story to match of her children, Dominick and Giavonna, being more than a little freaked about him and his magic, come-to-life abilities.

Christopher Pop-in-kins

To each his own, I suppose. I just know that had the “Elf on the Shelf” existed during my childhood years… I’d probably be on a therapy couch somewhere, muttering about magical elves… and obsessing over whether or not I’d been naughty or nice.

C'mon... this IS creepy, right?

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16 thoughts on “Elf on the Shelf

  1. Yes. Extremely creepy. Also, I would think, counter-effective in the long term. If you’re only good because someone’s watching, then you don’t develop your own conscience and – presumably – when no one is watching, anything goes.

  2. I like myonepreciouslife’s comment about it not helping in developing a conscience. Very true. And I feel your pain … I’m a huge hater of clowns, et al. Is it wrong that in the pic of the elf sitting on the toaster, my immediate thought was to push him down one of the slots and turn it on? 🙂 Happy Holidays!

  3. Tomilee says:

    The idea of any doll “watching” us is very creepy. I really don’t like the idea of parents making it more real by moving the doll around the house. Also the facial expression on the first elf makes me want to push him in the toaster.

  4. The Creep Factor is CERTAINLY There for sure! I am amazed I do not need therapy after the torture my brother put me through in my growing up years. He use to tell me that my dolls moved around while I slept at night. He would creep into my room and move the dolls around – so sick! I had a hard time with dolls, puppets, clowns and closets after that. Thanks for adding some creepiness to our day!

  5. Heather says:

    Yep, I’m in the “It’s Super Creepy” camp.

    On a somewhat related note, my parents were always very concerned about how our family looked to outsiders. In fact, when I got into some major trouble when I was 15, the very first thing they said to me was, “What will the neighbors say?” From this attitude, I learned that someone is always watching me and that I must be perfect at all times, even inside my own house with all the windows drawn. It’s actually caused lots and lots of anxiety over the years, as you can imagine. In this vein, I’m not so sure it’s good to tell children that they’re always being watched; we need to allow some room for error, you know?

    • This is for everyone… including you Heather… I was amazed at how many of you shared my views on clowns, etc. being creepy… and that little Elf too! Always good to know when I’m in good company!

  6. Gina says:

    Well this is great! You are fabulous at writing and catching the imagination of so many… Now share the story of a room full of autistic kids whose worlds where shattered because sweet Marcus touched him and removed his magic! Job well done!

  7. Shawdiane says:

    I know this is relating to a fargone post, but I must just add that I am glad that it is not only myself & my husband who do not like clowns etc. We have never seen what there is to like about horrid looking creepy clowns & even worse, ventrilliquists dummies !! Urgh !
    Our stomaches turn. So Creepy all of them. As for Elf on the shelf……..

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