Do you believe in Elf on the Shelf?

PUBLISHED: 18:54 30 November 2017

An elf on a shelf. Picture: Thinkstock

An elf on a shelf. Picture: Thinkstock


Is Elf on the Shelf a cute little Christmas helper, adding fun to the festivities, or a sneaky spy on high?

Twas weeks before Christmas and all through the land, parents were stressing as an elf got out of hand.

Elves have been helping Santa make toys in his North Pole workshop for ever, or at least since I was a child, which is pretty much the same thing.

But the job description for a modern elf extends way beyond working for Father Christmas in the world’s most magical factory.

Today’s elves are more about telling tales than fairytales.

They sit on shelves in family homes, silently watching the behaviour of the children all day, and then flying back to Father Christmas with a nightly report of who is being naughty and who is being nice.

Yes, Elf on a Shelf is a snitch. How many children can keep their behaviour sparkling throughout the festive frenzy of parties, plays and presents, for the kids, and shopping, spending and stressing for their parents?

And that stress is compounded by Elf because far from being content with his shelf, the tradition is to hide him around the house in ever more hilarious places and poses. Some elves even hide alongside small pre-Christmas presents every day. Who needs their children hunting through the house every day in the run-up to Christmas? And who is expected to source these extra elfish presents? Not Elf, he is too busy sitting on a shelf, or hiding in a cereal box, or making a trail of sparkly footprints through the house. And spying on the children.

I’m not suggesting going right back to the days when Father Christmas left a few sweets and a satsuma in stockings. I’m suggesting going back to the time when he might have left a lump of coal instead. No, I’m not! Honestly, Elf, I love Christmas, I do, and if you wouldn’t mind mentioning to Father Christmas that I’ve been ever so good all year…

But creating a magical Christmas for all the family is already as demanding as driving a team of flying reindeer around the world in a single evening.

The ever-growing army of elves on shelves is not magically making things easier. While I have managed to buy into the concept that an Advent Calendar has to include chocolate, and decorations are for December, not just for Christmas, I am thankful my children are grown and I don’t have to open up heart, my purse, and everyone’s pre-Christmas behaviour to a judgemental Elf.

However, shelve the telling tales, and hold on to a festive fairytale, and this new tradition could become fun again. An elf who draws faces on fruit, makes flour angels on kitchen tables and lines up the family’s shoes like a train, especially if he is in any way related to the wonderfully helpful elves of The Elves and the Shoemaker, could add sparkle, not stress, to Christmas.

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