According to parenting blogs we’re doing Elf on the Shelf all wrong

Let’s get one thing straight; I’m not one of those people who’s going to make you feel guilty about having an Elf on the Shelf.

You’re not lying to your children; I think you’re keeping the magic of Christmas alive. They’re little! Let them use that gorgeous imagination! I’m just here to flag there’s a new way to use your new little house guest IF you want to. For those with a bare shelf; The Elf on the Shelf is a doll that will set you back about 60 bucks. He or she is dispatched from the North Pole at the start of December to keep a watchful eye on the kids and make sure they belong on Santa’s “nice” list.

The box suggests there are rules to the elf’s stay at your place. They have to maintain a distance and provide a watchful eye for Santa. Kids are not allowed to touch the elf or they “lose their magic”. Also, the elf must never move when people are home or awake but can shuffle from place to place when no one is around.


    I’m sure your Facebook feed has been full of hilarious images of elves doing mischievous things to the delight of the children. I’m told on some occasions they fart glitter. Me too.

    I don’t have children but I do teach dance to little people and I can imagine a carrot like the little Elf would come in very handy. Hell, the Elf would live at my house all year round if it was a winner. A little Christmas joy along with an easy way to keep the children behaving?! It’s a gift!

    Or so I thought.

    Some Mums and Dads are worried the concept of The Elf teaches kids that if they’re good they get lavish gifts. Period. Good behaviour is rewarded with ‘stuff’, when being well behaved, caring and generous should be the reward.

    So, some food for thought. Here’s the new thinking around how to use our friend, the Elf on the Shelf.

    The Elf doesn’t live on the Shelf; he goes outside with the kids who report back to Santa if there’s anyone in their community who are ‘doing it tough’ in the lead up to Christmas. This way, the kids are almost working as Santa’s helper and growing a social conscious. In turn, hopefully, this develops a level of gratitude towards their lifestyle.

    The Elf doesn’t play up or leave a mess. He can move when everyone is asleep, but leaving a mess isn’t painted as a ‘fun’ or a ‘cool’ idea. Maybe he might leave a note praising the way one of your kids ’helped’ someone else yesterday or ‘listened’ to their siblings to encourage them to do more of the same. Just no messes around the house.

    The bottom line is; it’s your home, it’s your family and it’s your choice. The above are just ideas on parenting blogs and mother’s groups who are sharing what’s working for them.

    Maybe the magic of Christmas is enough in your household and the thought of moving something around under the cover of darkness every night for a month seems like a headache!

    But if you’ve got little people at your place who are super focussed on getting the iPad for Christmas and nothing else, this may help take the blinkers off.

    You’re doing a great job. Merry Christmas.


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