Thursday, December 6, 2012

Elf on the Shelf

 elf on a shelf

I don't have any siblings that are still children.
I don't have children of my own yet.
My Aunt & Uncle keep Santa to a minimum for my cousins, so they sure don't participate in Elf on the Shelf.

I heard about it last year, but didn't really pay attention.
This year, it seems to be everywhere! So I actually took the time to learn what the heck this creepy little red elf was for.

If you are new to the concept of Elf on the Shelf - 
it's this book that comes with an elf that parents hide around the house each night.
In the morning the kiddos wake, and look for the elf and whatever trouble he/she/it got into the night before.
Said elf, spys on the kiddos and reports on their behavior to Santa.
...modern day "you better watch out, you better not pout..."

Initially, I was really hesitant to the idea.
{honestly, I still don't like it}
It has nothing to do with Jesus or the real reason for Christmas.
It's very commercialized.
{not dogging on commercialized traditions, we'll happily incorporate Santa into our traditions while keeping the focus on Christ}
It's a way to coerce your children in to conditional behavior...
What if your kids aren't behaving in December and Elfie sees it, reports bad behavior?
It's a pretty empty threat that Santa isn't going to bring them presents for acting poorly.

A couple of my friends with kids are doing Elf on the Shelf this year and their reasoning makes me think we may have to break down and do it (when we have kids of course). I was less than Thrilled.

My first friend broke down and started with the Elf because her children were questioning whether or not Santa cared if they were good or bad if Elfie wasn't there to check on them.
After all, Elfie was visiting all of their friends from school.
She wanted them to keep buying into Santa, so they went with the new social convention and bought an elf.

Our other friend was somewhat forced into it.
{this is the one that was most upsetting for me}
Teachers are using Elfie in the classroom. Some are just setting the elf up to pose, like parents are at home.
It's a fun activity and book to read (no issues here...)
Others however, are assigning Elf on the Shelf as projects!
It's required reading, Elfs are expected to be in the home and photos are brought to school.
It's used as prompts for creative writing lessons
and a way to talk about the "Holiday Season" without ever having to mention Jesus.

I have to say, it really ticked me off.
I hated the idea of teachers instilling a "holiday" tradition into our home at Christmas time.
As I was blow drying my hair pondering how to write about this,
I remembered writing letters to Santa at school.
It just so happened that my family included Santa in our Christmas celebrations,
but I'm sure there were families out there that didn't.

We still have roughly 6 years before this would be an issue,
{considering I'm not expecting now and we wouldn't have to mess with it until child #1 was in kindergarden} but after much thought, we've decided that for us, it's pretty much a non-issue.
If it just so happens that we need to do this to keep our children fitting in with social norms,
then where is the harm?
If we can escape one more thing for Mommy & Daddy to mess with during an already busy time - then, great!!

What's your take on Elf on the Shelf?
Good, Bad, Indifferent?

elf on the shelf- in the stocking

1 comment:

  1. I don't mind him now but when I was a kid an older cousin scared the daylights out of me by telling me the elf on the shelf was a monster. I was only 5 and he babysat me for my parents one night. Let me watch Child's Play and Poltergeist 1. Yeah..I was so paranoid about that elf killing me because of my cousin David...hahaha funny memories now but part of me gets a creepy chill up my spine when I look at him.

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