to think Elf on the Shelf is an awful concept!

(76 Posts)
5Foot5 Sun 20-Oct-13 18:40:25

I had never heard of such a thing until I saw the phrase bandied about on Mumsnet. I didn't really know what it was all about but thought the name sounded quite sweet, if a little twee so, as a dyed-in-the-wool Christmas-aholic I decided to look it up. I was appalled at the idea shock

Basically he is some sneaky Big Brother who is going to spy on your kids and then grass them up to Father Christmas if they don't behave! I think that is sinister and horrible. And the way he is meant to keep moving around the house under the cover of darkness is just a bit sinister.

Hmm! Even if the idea had been mooted to me when DD was small I would not have wanted anything to do with it thank you very much.

ICameOnTheJitney Sun 20-Oct-13 18:41:12

YANBU he is a twat.

edam Sun 20-Oct-13 18:42:37

I was given one. Was a bit perturbed by the whole spying on children thing - and they look really creepy, too. I asked ds (who was nine) whether he wanted it and he said yes. It's fine but YANBU, I still think it's disturbing.

edam Sun 20-Oct-13 18:44:15

Mind you, FC is a bit dubious as well when you think about it - an old man creeping into your bedroom in the dead of night, when your parents are asleep... I love Christmas and FC btw, just don't think too hard about those aspects!

Floggingmolly Sun 20-Oct-13 18:48:07

Yes. It reminds me of the hideous wickerwork monkey (hmm) my granny had in her house, which sat on a high shelf. It was one of those actually designed to sit on a shelf, iykwim, the legs hung down as if it was just casually perched there.
I was petrified of it as a toddler, always thought it was watching me with it's orange glass eyes.
The bloody elf brings it all back! <traumatised>

Nasty little grass.

We use Elmo for all our dirty work in this house. He is currently in the house because DD gave up her dummy. He only came because she was so brave <sighs>

Lilicat1013 Sun 20-Oct-13 18:56:33

As someone mentioned, Father Christmas is a bit dodgy as well. If I found some man in my kids room at night I'd be smacking him over the head with something!

I liked the idea of Elf on the Shelf when I first heard about it, not the spying aspect, the fact they do naughty things. That amused me, I like the concept of a naughty little elf playing tricks. Then I looked them up and the actual toy looks like it is out of a Christmas themed horror film. I really don't want to picture that thing wondering round the house.

I know there are cuter option for elves but that has really put me off.

wem Sun 20-Oct-13 18:59:39

YANBU, it's really weird, but in keeping with the naughty list I guess. We don't use that either.

Is that what the elf does ? I thought it suggested Christmas craft activities and went out on Christmasy outings.

Trills Sun 20-Oct-13 19:01:41

It's creepy and weird and I wouldn't want one, not least because it's foolish to make threats that you are unable to follow through on (unless they contain a video camera - you can't actually tell if the children have been naughty while the elf was "watching).

But different people like different things.

Mellowandfruitful Sun 20-Oct-13 19:02:37

For me it just seems to unnecessarily complicate things, and in all other ways I love putting extra frills on Christmas. So I don't do it. Even more reason not to if the elf is actually creepy looking!

SoupDragon Sun 20-Oct-13 19:05:51

I agree.

I have, for the month of December, hissed Father Christmas is watching! at my children though.

I told DS2 last year that he'd been so bad this year FC was bringing him coal and potatoes. He cheerfully told me that, in that case, he'd make chips. grin He was 12 though and didn't actually believe in FC - I wasn't being mean.

WestieMamma Sun 20-Oct-13 19:06:42

We used to live near the Woodley aerodrome signal, ie the point where planes turn into landing position for Heathrow. As they turned there'd be a row of white lights with a red one on the end. I had my daughter convinced for years that this was santa and the reindeers flying over to check she was behaving.

Guitargirl Sun 20-Oct-13 19:07:31

We have done Elf on the Shelf for the last two years. We don't focus on the whole 'the Elf is watching you' element of it - it's just a bit of fun for December and the DCs love looking for him every morning and to see what he has been up to. Last year they remembered him from the year before and greeted him with great excitement and giggles.

Don't really see the difference between Elf and the Tooth Fairy/Father Christmas/Easter bunny - kiddie magic.

And I am always bemused at how Elf on the Shelf gets some MNetters frothing at the mouth. If you don't like it then don't do it <shrugs>.

Chivetalking Sun 20-Oct-13 19:08:50

I'd never heard of it until a couple of years ago via the wonder that is the interweb. It certainly wasn't a tradition back in the day.

Have just looked it up on Amazon and it's close to thirty knicker shock Thirty knicker for a book and a bit of wool and plastic shock

Spirulina Sun 20-Oct-13 19:10:41

Sounds like it's more for the indulgent parents than the child. Sounds horrible

littleomar Sun 20-Oct-13 19:10:58

Yanbu it's vile. It's the trademark sign that gets me - cynical and contrived. I've got my own Christmas traditions thanks, don't need to buy another one.

Pixel Sun 20-Oct-13 19:12:52

No creepy elves in our house but I did used to tell dd they might be about when we were out shopping to make sure she was behaving blush. She once spotted something that she liked when we were in a toy shop and I sneaked back and got it for her for her stocking. She noticed it was from the toyshop (it was one of those independent ones not a chain so a distinctive toy) and as I wasn't ready for her to stop 'believing' I told her that an elf probably saw her looking at it and as she was being so good he told Father Christmas, so that was how all that started. It sounds terrible now she's 17 but she was always very good when we were shopping, she was too busy trying to spot elves grin.

BeanoNoir Sun 20-Oct-13 19:13:23

I just google imaged it. Jesus Christ that thing is scary.

Feelingannoyed Sun 20-Oct-13 19:15:05

We've got an elf, not an elf on the shelf, a cuddly cute one.

He comes on the 1st Dec and gets up
To mischief every night. Ds2 loves it but I do get a bit fed up come Christmas Day of thinking of things for him to do.

He had his own Facebook page with loads of friends on there.

Coupon Sun 20-Oct-13 19:22:37


parakeet Sun 20-Oct-13 19:27:14

YANBU. I'M responsible for the discipline in this house, not some plastic toy.

And I second whoever pointed out that the first rule of discipline is you don't make threats you aren't prepared to follow through.

I don't do it, but it bothers me not a jot if others do, so on that basis YABU. Live and let live.

YANBU. I have no problem with other parents doing it but that elf is a creepy little fucker and there is no way I will ever have one in my house!

I do wonder though, if you use the elf as a threat/bribe to ensure good behaviour in the run-up to Christmas, what do you do the rest of the year?

gintastic Sun 20-Oct-13 19:32:45

We don't have an elf. We have smoke alarms, that's where FC watches you from in this house...

Lagoonablue Sun 20-Oct-13 19:35:11

Yes the burglar alarm sensors are santa's way to spy in this house. Red light means he is there. WAtching.

MadeOfStarDust Sun 20-Oct-13 19:35:51

So people do elf on the shelf - but don't actually DO elf on the shelf... how peculiar....

he gets up to mischief, but doesn't tell.. what if the kids touch him.. is the magic lost like in the ACTUAL elf on the shelf... no shouldn't think so...

it is a modern day "tradition" from the noughties designed to get folks to spend yet more money buying yet more crap and diluting the message of Christmas even more and more by spreading things out for a month....

but haven't met anyone in RL who does it.... or would admit to it anyhow...

englishmumcominghome Sun 20-Oct-13 19:39:30

Yep - can't stand EOTS but the burglar alarm motion sensors are SantaCams.

Currently renting a place without any, so the smoke alarms are having to do.

That said, DS1 is 7 and DS2 is 5 so still believe massively.

Feelingannoyed Sun 20-Oct-13 19:49:46

Ds is allowed to touch our elf, we got him before the elf on the shelf came out. He takes him everywhere with him and the elf leaves his bed at night when he's asleep to do some mischief.

It's not a tool to create good behaviour it's just a bit of fun and Christmas magic. I did have to reign it in a bit last year because Ds was concerned the elf would be in trouble with Santa.

DuchessofKirkcaldy Sun 20-Oct-13 19:59:45

As a child, I was always told that the birdies in the garden looked through the window to see if I was being good,then flew back to tell santa.
Never scared me though. I made a career working with birds smile

5Foot5 Sun 20-Oct-13 20:00:18

And I am always bemused at how Elf on the Shelf gets some MNetters frothing at the mouth. If you don't like it then don't do it <shrugs>.

Do they? I had never even heard of it until today. And given my DD will be 18 before Christmas I would be unlikely to do it anyway!

I don't do it, but it bothers me not a jot if others do, so on that basis YABU. Live and let live.

Doesn't bother me a jot that other people do it either but I was surprised that something that sounds cute and playful actually turns out to be a bit creepy.

Actually I love that some Mnetters have told their children that the burglar alarms and smoke detectors are santa-cams. I think that is hysterical. You might say that is no different to the EOTS idea but I think at least it shows imagination and at least they are not being suckered in to paying, what was it, £30 for a doll and a book.

5Foot5 Sun 20-Oct-13 20:01:40

DuchessofKirkcaldy I am a bit bird-phobic so that would have scared the hell out of me.

pootlebug Sun 20-Oct-13 20:03:47

Agree it's a vile concept. Also hate the idea of telling kids if they're not 'good' they won't get presents

SugarHut Sun 20-Oct-13 20:07:13

YANBU. It's creepy and weird. And just another unimaginative overkill idea. Smacks of Easter crackers. Soon just to keep up with all the traditions and to outdo year on year there will be some kind of "Reindeer on the roof" and "Penguin in the port" hmm

MadeOfStarDust Sun 20-Oct-13 20:10:03

ooooooo - reindeer on the roof - £30 quid for a book and a stuffed toy!

have you copyrighted that one!!? hmm

dementedma Sun 20-Oct-13 20:13:22

Creepy, tacky and exists for those with more money than sense.

Guitargirl Sun 20-Oct-13 20:19:49

This is another thread on it from today but there have been quite a few already this year and probably lots more before Christmas. This is what I mean about the frothing. And the price argument - it doesn't have to cost anything at all. Anyway, am not going to get all Elf-evangelistic...just saying that I can't understand what provokes such ire about a Christmas Elf. Am starting to feel a bit sorry for the poor bugger to be honest.

edam Sun 20-Oct-13 20:41:02

I certainly wouldn't have paid £30 for the creepy little fucker! Quisling, that's what he is. You'd think they'd have made him look cute, or jolly, not like a dodgy toy from a horror movie that is going to help the real serious baddies.

As he's a freebie, and ds knows about how FC works, I thought I'd ask ds if he wanted to do it. Otherwise, no way!

OldRoan Sun 20-Oct-13 20:47:28

What I don't understand is that the elf is naughty and plays tricks, but reports to FC about the children being naughty.

How is that fair?! I wouldn't trust a naughty person to report on someone else's behaviour, why should a child trust a naughty elf?

OldRoan Sun 20-Oct-13 20:49:31

I'm sure there's a MNer who has a burglar alarm sensor that happens to be aligned with her naughty step, and she told her DC that FC counted how many times they sit on it... I think that is genius.

ChoudeBruxelles Sun 20-Oct-13 20:50:35

We just have Father Christmas's phone number. Don't need an elf. I can call him myself if ds is really very naughty. Which he generally isn't

Pagwatch Sun 20-Oct-13 20:50:53

It's creepy as fuck.

PervCat Sun 20-Oct-13 20:51:12

we just dont mention christmas all the bloody time

hence we dont have hysterical kids.

greenfolder Sun 20-Oct-13 20:52:09

i really really wanted dc to believe in FC, so kept it really simple. FC comes on christmas eve and leaves a few gifts in the stocking you put out. a few mince pies and carrots for reindeers. never threatened them with FC not coming. elf on a shelf? really ?

Altinkum Sun 20-Oct-13 20:54:56

yabu, each to their own, my DC LOVE HIM.

but then my dc believe in the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny, jack frost etc... its all magical and non scary!!!

landofmakebelieve Sun 20-Oct-13 21:02:44

YADNBU, I feel the exact same! I'm a lover of all things Christmassy, and it's my favourite time of year BUT that Elf concept is just freaky deeky! grin
I wrote exactly what I thought of it here last year...

(I'm an extremely regular poster, been on here all day today, oops!) I just name change for blog posts as they potentially out me... smile )

Guitargirl Sun 20-Oct-13 21:06:03

<glances protectively at Elf hidden away in Christmas cupboard>

<shuffles off thread back to Christmas bargain one>

2tiredtocare Sun 20-Oct-13 21:16:56

My Dd used to be terrified of FC

I just can't imagine ds believing for a single second that a toy elf comes to life at night, he just wouldn't even though he's only 4 and has an active imagination and has seen toy story a million times.

tabulahrasa Sun 20-Oct-13 21:34:15

"And given my DD will be 18 before Christmas I would be unlikely to do it anyway!"

That made me think, actually it might be quite fun thinking of slightly sinister things to do with it with a teenager...grin

<wonders if she should get one and start hiding it above doors ready to fall on them and in the shower and other weird places>

WoTmania Sun 20-Oct-13 21:35:56

YANBU - my aunt sent one over for my DC. I hated it on sight. It's the stuff nightmares are made of. The one time we put it up they put it back in it's book where it belongs

bababababoom Sun 20-Oct-13 23:28:56

YANBU, it's awful. Mind you, so is the concept of "Father Christmas won't bring presents unless you're good" - would you want a present if someone said "you can have this if you do as I say?"...far removed from the Christmas message to me.

AnaisHellWitch Sun 20-Oct-13 23:34:43

At least the creepy elf is only around for one month of the year. I was brought up as a Catholic and God was watching me every minute of every day.

1944girl Sun 20-Oct-13 23:41:08

When I was a child many moons ago my DM would scare us round about Christmas with the Black Fairy.This Black Fairy hung around the house watching for naughty children so he/she could tell tales on them to Santa.

Shaky Sun 20-Oct-13 23:41:19

I just bought a cuddly elf toy from the supermarket and we called him Edgar.

We always put him on the shelf in the evening and in the morning ds would be up, washed and dressed in seconds because he was so eager to find out what Edgar had been up to in the night. He loved it, one morning, Edgar was wearing a pair of ds' underpants, he thought it was hilarious.

Didactylos Mon 21-Oct-13 01:36:15

but we have tomte and julenisse in our house anyway
and they can play some havoc
certainly they dont have any trademarks

cory Mon 21-Oct-13 15:34:03

In Sweden, "tomte" is an old tradition and keeping an eye on the family is precisely what he does- but not just the children, the adults too.

We had a tiny "tomte" figurine stood under the wardrobe all year to keep us under control- until one year my mother hoovered him up by mistake. We all laughed cruelly and foretold all sorts of disasters.

Wibblytummy Mon 21-Oct-13 15:40:26

I personally can't wait to do Elf on the Shelf with my DS as I think it is the kind of thing he will enjoy, seeing him move about each night. Also it is the first Christmas DS will really understand the concept of Santa brings presents for well behaved children so I don't mind using the elf to help him get this concept.

My DF though thinks it is evil. He thinks it will create paranoia if a doll is constantly 'spying' on my son. In my eyes, it can't be worse than my brother, who in a bid to get his kids to behave told them that when the light of the movement sensors on the burglar alarms were on, it meant Santa's elves were watching... at least the Elf is only in one place.

GruffBillyGoat Tue 22-Oct-13 10:04:05

I thought the point of Santa was that he doesn't need spies, he sees you when your sleeping, he sees when you're awake, he knows if you've been good or bad, he don't need no elven spy for fucks sake.

maybe3x Tue 22-Oct-13 10:23:26

Not keen here. I try to keep the whole Father Christmas etc as simple as possible in the hope that they'll believe for longer (now 7&5). I think EOTS would lead to lots of questions and blow the whole thing, mine would be far more likely question something like the elf than FC.

CallMeNancy Tue 22-Oct-13 10:26:45

Like gintastic here he watches though the smoke alarms, and also the burglar alarm sensors.

ShriekingGnawer Tue 22-Oct-13 13:55:44

this is how scary the elf would have to be to make my lot behave.

wamabama Tue 22-Oct-13 16:53:03

Aw yabu! I think the elf is cute but I do have a warped sense of what is cute. I love our little elf. We don't focus on the whole "He's watching you so you better behave!" side of things, it's more just the fun of where he's hiding in the morning. They also find it exciting when he arrives and it really adds to the Christmas spirit throughout December and they love the little hamper he leaves behind when he vacates on Christmas eve too.

It's all just a bit of extra fun so I fail to see the issue.

ringaringarosy Tue 22-Oct-13 16:59:03

Ive got one for this year.I like the creepy spying aspect of it,but then i like creeping out the kids and scaring them,you should see my mask ive got for halloween.

MuffCakes Tue 22-Oct-13 17:08:29

We have a christmas fairy, she's lovely. She eats the chocolates and brings them christmas crafty stuff and writes notes for ideas we can do. She also likes pants.

But I am that awful type that puts decs up on the first, apart from this year now my hours have changed and I'm always bloody tired.

misskatamari Tue 22-Oct-13 17:13:35

There seem to be a lot if Christmassy things around this year that I have never heard for before.

I agree the elf is creepy and i don't think I'd do it as i think £30 is a rip off and I don't think I could be arsed thinking of imaginative things to do with it every night! I think it could be quite an exciting thing for kids tho so understand people doing it but I agree I'm not keen on the "reporting to Santa".

One thing I've never heard of until recently is "Christmas Eve hampers" which loads of people seem obsessed with. I think the idea is an elf delivers a hamper with tasty food and chrimbo PJs and DVDs etc on Christmas Eve for everyone. I guess it's quite nice to all sit down as a family and get excited about Christmas but the thing I've been shock about is loads of mentions of "reindeer food" and "Santa keys" and special plates for putting the mince pies on etc. People are actually buying glittery keys and the like to put in these hampers and it just seems like such a waste of money when the next day everyone is getting presents anyway. Maybe I'm just a big old Scrooge tho!

We're doing it this year, I can't wait (first timer).

Mim78 Tue 22-Oct-13 17:56:58

Freaky! I think I once said Father Christmas watches everyone via the internet, but not sure that was a good plan as it sounds a bit pervy!

I do the whole burglar alarm being santas CCTV thing. And the other year when the sibling rivalry and bickering was seriously adding to my grey hairs I downloaded the sleeps lite app on my iPhone and recorded a message for them both from Santa, saying just how disappointed he was in their behaviour and did they think that x and y (things they had done/said) was the right way to behave?
I have never had such well behaved children as in the run up to Christmas that year, it was bliss. Sadly they are even more horrible to each other now and since they have asked some rather pointed questions about Santas existence recently I don't want to push my luck trying it again.

SarahAndFuck Tue 22-Oct-13 18:35:34

Ringaringarosy just became my favourite MNer ever grin

I didn't realise the EOTS was meant to report back and I think that he might do well to remember that nobody likes a tattletale.

But a healthy dose of scariness does a child good. I used to love playing in the garden after dark and looking for witches, because after reading Rapunzel I was convinced that one was going to come after me. A better parent that I am might have told DS that vampires aren't real but I don't want to spoil the magic of the undead so I've told him we eat too much garlic in this house for them to bother with us. grin

I think with the glittery keys and plates thing, once you've bought them you've got them for years, so not much different to any other decoration you might buy.

Christmas Eve hampers seem to split opinion but in our case, when we were small we would visit my grandmother on Christmas Eve, which was her birthday. She would open her birthday presents, we would have a sort of buffet style tea, then she would give us our Christmas presents and we would give her hers and we would all open them together.

We didn't always see her on Christmas day, so it was nice to open them with her, and because it was Christmas eve she would often give us new pyjamas as part of the present so we woke up in new ones the next day.

My Mum likes to carry that on now as we don't always see her on Christmas day, or my brother isn't there with his kids.

We don't go as far as special food and DVDs in hampers but my Mum always puts together a gift bag with pyjamas, a soft toy, a book and some hot chocolate as part of the Christmas present she gives DS and his cousins, bought from the budget she has for their gifts. It's not extra.

But it doesn't bother me that other people have hampers. People still have to eat on Christmas eve, and if they want to eat something from a basket that some creepy little elf has had his paws on then that's up to them. I like the buffet food my Mum does, others like takeaway, each to their own.

I'm fairly sure we have some old Star Trek figures lurking about in the shed. I might have a nosey in there tomorrow and see if I can construct some kind of 'Spock on the Clock' in time for Christmas. grin

misskatamari Tue 22-Oct-13 18:41:47

Sarah - Spock on the clock sounds awesome! Now THAT I would do!

The Christmas Eve thing - I really like the idea of all having a nice family Christmas Eve together as a family, I think it's just because I've seen so many Facebook "what do I put in a Christmas Eve hamper" post that I get a bit annoyed that it's such a big deal - like it's one more "thing" you "should" do as opposed to just having a nice evening together. As I said tho I'm probably just being a grinch smile

SarahAndFuck Tue 22-Oct-13 18:57:50

No, it should be about the nice evening misskatamari, that's the best bit smile

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MissBetseyTrotwood Tue 22-Oct-13 19:27:51

PMSL at the smoke alarm Santas! Brilliant.

That Elf on the Shelf is well sinister. Creepy little simpering face.

Did just Google Image him again though and some wag has posed him in various inappropriate situations with a couple of Barbies. What'll Santa have to say about that then eh?

Mittensonkittens Tue 22-Oct-13 19:42:07

I have a cute little elf. He doesn't sit on the shelf though. He sleeps in ds's bed in December, supposedly he's having a little holiday after making lots of toys in November and he goes on Christmas Eve to help deliver the presents. Last year he hid in a few places and ds had fun finding him, he brought then advent calendars and a couple of christmas craft sets. That was about it. It wasn't a massive deal, ds was 3 last christmas and has asked if Jingle elf is coming back this year. He probably will. He wasn't a snitch though, he was a cute friendly little elf. Pretty sure ds knew it was me and dh doing the hiding etc but it was nice to play along!

ringaringarosy Tue 22-Oct-13 23:57:31

we need a thread of things to do with the elf,unless theres one already!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now