Elf on the Shelf

You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not shout I’m telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town.

The song was first sung on a radio show in November of 1934.  According to Wikipedia  it became an instant hit with orders for 500,000 copies of sheet music and more than 30,000 records sold within 24 hours.  Since then, this song has become a staple of Christmas music with recordings by over 200 artists.

He sees you when you’re sleeping…

The lyrics of this song provide a warning for children – Santa Claus has a naughty and nice list and is watching.  This becomes an interesting opportunity for parents to challenge their children to behave or face the possibility of getting coal in their stockings.

Enter Elf on the Shelf

Fast forward to 2005 and The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition hits bookstores explaining how Santa watches, through the presence elves who visit children from (American) Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve when they return to the North Pole until the next holiday season.  The book includes a small scout elf which is expected to be found in a new location every morning.

Creativity abounds

Thanks to social media, the world can look in on the antics of the scout elves as families share photos and videos revealing where these are found each morning.  There are websites devoted to highlighting “Funny Elf on the Shelf Ideas” and a quick search on Twitter gives examples like:

The controversy

Of course, not everyone is a fan of Elf on the Shelf.  Some find it overdone.  Others believe that teaching children that good behaviour is rewarded with gifts sends the wrong message.  There is also a plethora of adult humour that is mixed in with social media illustrations of Elf on the Shelf creating the potential for questions if children search #elfontheshelf.

What do you think?

Do you have an Elf on the Shelf at home?  Has become a tradition for your family?  Or do think this is seriously overdone and/or problematic?  We would love to hear from you.

Thrive! A living manual for families uses the tools of social media and food and fellowship to facilitate conversation about the blessings and challenges of being family today.  Check out http://stpaulstrinity.org/?page_id=2100 for more information or visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ThriveFamiliesManual/