Elf on a Shelf: Magic or Nightmare?

Christina Kuriakose, Staff Writer

During the Holiday, many families have traditions. Some like to decorate their house, go Christmas caroling, or watch movies, among other things. However, some have what I consider more questionable traditions, such as The Elf on the Shelf. The Elf on the Shelf is based on a Christmas tale told to children. The story describes how Santa’s “scout elves” hide in people’s homes to watch over events. They fly back to the north pole each night and give Santa the reports. That’s also the reason why every morning the elves are in a different spot. However, people have varying opinions on this classic tradition. 

For some, The Elf on the Shelf can be seen as a magical and fun tradition. Children get to look forward to finding their elves every morning. The Elf on the Shelf gets children in the Christmas spirit, and increases the anticipation of Santa’s arrival. Parents also love this tradition because children now have more motivation to behave well As much as children should act like this 365 days a year, let’s face it, they don’t. It’s nice to have a little ally with parents all month keeping the kids in line, which can always help with the stress of the holiday season. This tradition can be seen as a creative outlet as well. The elf can bring a wishlist for kids to fill out, candy canes, a new ornament for the tree, and more. 

Others might not see The Elf on the Shelf in a positive way. Some believe it is just a marketing juggernaut dressed up as a “tradition.” The Elf on the Shelf makes nearly 10 million dollars in sales each year, and companies have continued to make other accessories, such as an elf on the shelf dog, a gingerbread home for the elf, and different outfits for the elf.  The elf also drives some parents crazy. They have to live up to the expectations of moving it to a new place every morning, making little treats with it, and possibly wrapping presents. Speaking of wrapping presents, some people have said that their Elf on the Shelf brings a new present every night starting from Thanksgiving, all the way until Christmas. This is not only inconvenient and time-consuming for the parents, but also expensive. Lastly, The Elf on the Shelf can be seen as a creeper. You never see him move, he or she has what some have considered to be a creepy smile, and you’re not allowed to touch them or they lose their “magic.”

In conclusion, The Elf on The Shelf can be seen as both magical and a nightmare. Like every other tradition, it has some blindspots.  Despite your personal opinions, it’s up to parents to decide how they’re going to raise their children, and what holiday traditions they choose to welcome into their homes.