The Elf On The Shelf: Cool or Creepy?

I'm sure I'm the last to hear of this thing, but apparently it's all the rage to place a toy elf, well, on a shelf and in other spots each night and set him up for pranks. The story goes that he's keeping tabs on you and reporting back to Santa betwixt bouts of mischief (turning over furniture, coloring the milk, etcetera).

Of course I'm going to buy this elf and invent tomfoolery by the truckload, but just look at it.

Strangely terrifying!

Yet I cannot look away. I grew up on macabre European tales of caution such as Max And Moritz who get devoured by ducks and Struwwelpeter, who looked like this:


So perhaps I have a penchant for scary memes. But I'll tell you, that elf is up to no good if he works for a guy who's going to break in your house after spending all year judging you and watching you sleep.

At first I was confused as to the description of The Elf On The Shelf. The ad mentions he's light-skinned and blue-eyed, like you've got to vet your elves for racial purity before you'll allow them to mess up your couch pillows. Upon further investigation, it becomes clear you may order your shelf elf in a variety of skin tones and eye colors, along with either gender. See? Equal opportunity disturbing fun.

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  • We've used the little sucker for a couple years, our boys named theirs "Elfy," and they love him. He shows up on Dec 1, pops around the house for a few weeks and then heads back with Santa on Christmas morning.

    The key? Don't let them find "Elfy" during the other 11 months or they'll freak out.

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    Oh, but that sounds like a rad little plan for the middle of July. Mwahahahah!!

  • It will be fun to see what you come up with. And because I am lazy, I will just copy you. Everybody wins!:)

  • We bought the Elf for this year and I too thought he was a bit freaky when he arrived. I hope he doesnt freak out my tot.

  • In reply to PinkHairedMomma:

    I used to have this really weird marionette puppet I bought in Prague named Daqui. He was WAY creepier and no one here has been suffocated in their sleep by pixie dust yet, so this elf can't be that bad.

  • We've done the Elf on the Shelf for a couple of years. My daughter loves waking up in the morning and finding where the Elf is that morning. The only thing is that I get forgetful about halfway through the month and find myself waking up in a panic and running downstairs to move the elf to a different spot before the kids get up. Once I forgot to move him and my daughter was totally freaked out that maybe he didn't go to talk to Santa the night before because he was still in the same spot.

  • Couldn't I just be cheap and use something we already have? Like Rubber Duckie on the Shelf? Or.... Plastic Panda Bear on the Shelf? :)

  • In reply to ClaireB:

    YES. And what about something that is already on the shelf for extra ease? Ah, The Book On The Shelf is sure to catch on. Har.

  • Totally Creepy! It is the lamest looking elf I've ever seen. The book is nice enough but the elf is the worst. I wish that last year I'd thought to use one of the other really cute elves (or even rotated them) that I bought from somewhere like Michaels. Last year was the first I heard of it and of course I thought it was a great idea so I rushed out and bought the set. I read Daniel the book and the next morning the elf showed up on a shelf. Daniel who had turned 3 in August, took one look at it and said "That's not a real elf." Nothing I could say would convince him that it was a real elf. Yep it looks that fake. The picture doesn't do it's fakeness justice. I mean the feet don't even bend at the end, it sort of looks like a freak accident in Santa's work shop lopped them off at the ankle. A lot of kids seem to love the little guy, but I spent most of a month moving an elf that a 3 year old refused to believe in around the house hoping that sense of wonder would wear off on him. I hate to say it but I have no idea where I put him when I packed up the Christmas stuff last year. I was thinking of trying again with an elf that looked a little less like something made with all the care of a dog toy. It would be really fun if Daniel at least played along. I should add that I never heard the part about the elf pranks. That sounds like something we would all enjoy. A bonus would be if he would at least thin out all the ghosts playing in my house. They have been leaving a huge mess lately.

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    You should try Christopher Pop-In-kins. This hide-and-seek elf and book set is 20 years older, more positive, and the elf is adorable and posable. Christopher was created in 1984 by a grandmother named Flora Johnson. She wrote the book and made over 10,000 elves by hand.
    Flora passed away in 2005. Her
    elf doll has been redesigned and is no longer made by hand. But the story remains the same.
    Christopher received Dr. Toy's Best Classic Toy Award for 2011 and has received awards from PTPA, I-parenting, Mom's Best, and The Toy Man.
    See more about Christopher at
    Last year, in recognition of Christopher Pop-In-Kins 25th year, a new elf with a new story and a new tradition was intoduced: Christina Marie Pop-In-Kins (Christopher's little sister).

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