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The Elf on Our Shelf is Terrorizing Our Kids

Credit: Lamar Tyler

I was very excited when I first learned about The Elf on the Shelf® Christmas tradition last year. I thought, this is such a clever idea and something that my kids will enjoy next year. But when I saw the scout elf in person for the first time, I thought…hmmm, this little elf is kind of creepy. The face looks like one of the puppets or clowns that were always in the scary movies I saw as a child. And I did not like the fact that it did not have any feet. I never said it out loud..it’s just something I thought in my head.

Needless to say, I was still very excited about this tradition (that was started in 2005) and wanted to introduce it to my kids.  So I decided to purchase the book and buy my own elf…..one that I thought was cheap cute.

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, like clockwork, the kids and I put up the Christmas tree. We were feeling the holiday spirit all day long singing Christmas carols, wearing Santa hats…everything. By that evening, I thought, it’s time for the girls to meet their Elf. I hadn’t purchased the book yet…but I was sure that I could find the story on the Internet. Because quite frankly, you can find everything on the Internet.

Sure enough, I found someone, on YouTube, reading the story of how the elf serves as Santa’s eyes and ears. And every night, it travels back to the North Pole to tell Santa if you have been naughty or nice. Our 6-year-old was bubbling with excitement. But our 4-year-old displayed a nervous type of excitement. She was wide-eyed and her mouth was open. She was smiling…but quiet.

And you know how YouTube suggests other similar videos on the right of the screen. Well, my 6-year-old saw one and said: “Mommy, let’s watch that elf video.” It was a video where a person “caught” an elf on the shelf moving at night and video taped it. In that video, the elf jumped off of the fireplace mantel, walked down the hallway, went into the bathroom, used it, and flushed the toilet. The kids were amused (well, so I thought).  So we watched a couple of those “elf spotting” videos and then it was time to meet their elf.

They named their elf Harold. I put Harold on the fireplace mantel and they literally stood in front of the fireplace talking to him most of the night. They even told him what they wanted for Christmas so that he could relay the message to Santa.

When it was time for bed, they said goodnight to Harold and went upstairs. But my 4-year-old was moving slow. And she kept asking about Harold, and what he would be doing at night, and if he would be coming upstairs. Finally, I got them into bed. And about 15 minutes later, our 4-year-old ran down the hallway and burst into our bedroom, crying: ” I can’t sleep…I am scared of that elf…he’s going to get me.”  And, then our 6-year-old followed her into the room.

First, I said I would take Harold away until our 4-year-old was ready for him. But then our 6-year-old started crying. Darn…now I have two crying little girls in our room. So, finally we all came to a compromise. Harold had to sleep with me at night until he flew off to the North Pole. And in the morning, we all could look for Harold in the house to see if he returned. Our 4-year-old liked that option and only went to bed after she saw Harold lying beside me in my bed.

So Harold has been in our home for about 5 days now. Our 4-year-old refuses to come downstairs in the morning until one of her older sisters finds Harold. So she has this love/hate thing going on with him. She wants him around..but he makes her very nervous.

Have you started The Elf on The Shelf Christmas Tradition in your home?  Did he scare you your kids? Be honest. If you do start the tradition in your home, don’t make the mistake of showing the elf spotting videos to your kids….they were amused by them. But when you think about it…it is kind of creepy.

Read more from us at our award-winning website BlackandMarriedWithKids.com.

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