Mischievous Elves - Holiday Tradition

A friend of mine told me about one of her family’s holiday traditions over the weekend. It was something I’ve never heard of, but she claims it is quite popular. It goes like this…

Every year, on the day after Thanksgiving (or thereabouts), her kids each get an elf dedicated to him or her. I guess it’s a stuffed elf or something. The elves are reporting on the kids’ behavior to Santa, but, of course, is forbidden from speaking to the children. The catch is that while the kids are sleeping the elves cause mischief, such as hiding toys or making a mess of the house or something. The kids have to clean up after their elves every morning until Christmas Eve when Santa comes and takes the elves back to the North Pole. Of course, he’s also leaving presents if the children have been good.

Now, I’ve been around a while and celebrated many a Christmas, but I have never heard of anything like this. Apparently it’s the thing to do now. My friend says almost every family she knows does this. Has anyone else heard of this? Is it a new thing? Is it a regional thing? Have I missed out on some classic holiday tradition?

Never heard of it.

Sounds like an interesting way to make sure the kids help Mom declutter the house each morning.

It’s called “The Elf on the Shelf”. This is the first year I’ve heard of it, but I have a few friends doing it, one who has been doing it a couple of years.

So it is relatively new. That’s good. My friend was making it sound like an old time tradition. But I don’t feel too bad for not really getting it.

Yes it’s relatively new; 2005 to be exact. From Wikipedia…

“The Elf on the Shelf is a children’s book written by Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell. Released in 2005, it tells the story of an elf who monitors children’s behavior for Santa Claus. The book also comes with an elf figurine. Aebersold and Bell were unable to find a publisher for The Elf on the Shelf, so they published it themselves. Despite its humble beginnings, the book eventually became the number one seller at Barnes and Noble.com.”

It’s really popular down here in the south. Some parents have the elf do mischievous things at night and the kids have to clean up the mess to prove to santa that they’re good kids (one friend of mine even took the cans out of her pantry because she wanted it straightened out! :slight_smile: ) Another family I know just moves the elf around their house at night so the kids get excited and find out where the elf moved to. I think it’s a great tradition to start. All the kids I know that have one, really love it.

I know I wouldn’t have. For one thing, by the time I was capable of actually cleaning up messes (without leaving a mess behind), I already knew Santa was fake, and would feel no inpetus to engage in it.

I don’t mind the idea of hinding stuff (including the doll itself), but leaving a mess is just teaching bad habits, anyways.

That would freak me the hell out

My parents always used to say “I see an elf” whenever we were misbehaving around Christmas time, but we never got figures or had the clean up the elf’s mess…That would have ticked me off as a kid.

I wonder how we can get the Elf to make the kids change the regular tires for the snow tires?