Elf on the Shelf: Pro or Con?


It is that time of year again where we will all be subjected to the crazy elf pictures, when many of our social media friends try to outdo one another with their elaborate poses and shenanigans.

For those of you like me, who either have older children or no children at all, the Elf on the Shelf is a book that was published in 2005 by the genius mother-daughter team of Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell. They are paired with Chanda’s twin sister, Christa Pitts, who is the co-CEO with Chanda. Chanda is a former English teacher who co-wrote the book with her mom. The pair wrote the book based on the family’s tradition, about a toy elf that monitors the children’s behavior and reports back to the North Pole each night.

The book was self-published by the trio and at first was not a hit. What prompted part of the madness was actress Jennifer Garner being photographed with the book and then The Today Show featuring it on a segment. The books, which retail for $29.95 and come with the toy elf, have since made millions. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, they have sold more than 13 million books since 2005. There has also been a CBS special that has aired twice and has had more than ten million viewers.

So what is the controversy? Some people hate it, some people love it.

Here are some quotes I gathered this morning while writing the column:

“Yes I do it, but she is still fresh.” One teacher explained that the year she did the Elf on the Shelf with her kindergarten classroom and her exact quote was, “It was magical. Everyone cooperated, followed rules, best month ever.” Other quotes were: "Stupidest thing ever invented.” “Never did it. I am sure I have caused deep holiday issues for my kids.” (One of my favorites!).

I did not know that a new thing was the Elf to have clothes and change the clothes. One busy mom (who does not do the Elf YET), of two children, ages three and six months, said, “It will be a hot day at the North Pole before I start changing an elf’s clothes. Sometimes I don’t have time to change my own!!!”

So the comments were a mixture of it becomes stressful and if you do not move the Elf, there are some tears in the mornings. However, many parents had good excuses like the Elf stays in one spot because it is the best seat in the house. Other parents said it helps with the older kids who may not believe anymore; they get into it and help, so their younger siblings can enjoy.

So it seems the good outweighs the bad. But please stop posting. We get it: you love your kids and want everyone to see you have an elf.

Have a great week everyone.