Annoying vs entertaining parents on social media: Elf on the Shelf


I’m in a punchy mood today. I didn’t get enough sleep, I’m bored because my next workshop isn’t until late January (thus my trip to Paris is much needed), and I’m annoyed I’ve become such a wimp to the cold (my feet are freezing!). So I’ve decided to vent about this new holiday tradition: elf on the shelf. You see I thought this meme that I found somewhere online was great:

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 11.05.56 AM


But you know what I don’t find amusing or entertaining, but really annoying?

This guy:


(from creativecommons by mbaylor)

It’s that time of year again where parents get all crazy with this stupid elf. And to look at it, you might assume that the dinosaurs and the elf on the shelf are the same. But here’s where they differ and why the elf annoys me so much. The dinos are for pure, hilarious imagination. No agenda behind them, anyone could do something similar with the toys their kids already have, and it was an idea that came about organically, how fun!

The elf? He’s a “thing”. Parents seem to try to out-do each other with it. You have to buy this specific elf with his specific book and then the kicker? The creep factor of this snitchy little elf,  from the website:

The Elf on the Shelf® is a special scout elf sent from the North Pole to help Santa Claus manage his naughty and nice lists.

While some of the things people have done with this elf have been amusing in a less G-rated way:


(my favorite from this contest at

The majority of the instagram photos I see are mundane and seemingly pointless, and a lot of people aren’t okay with just posting one photo. Nope the elf has taken over facebook and instagram feeds, parents almost getting “caught”, kids observing the elf, wideshots and close-ups of the naughty bugger. Ugh. I think that parents have gotten into this trend mainly to post to social media about how “original” they are. Its become less of a game with their kid and more of another “look at me” attempt. I’m not a parent, so maybe this is just lost on me.

Any thoughts on elf on the shelf? Have you heard of it?

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  1. Worst thing ever! All it is is a scare tactic parents use to try getting their children to be less annoying and bratty. “Watch out! Elf on a Shelf is watching youuuuuuu! He’s gonna tell Santaaaaaa!!!”

    • Right?! You’d think that parents might try to encourage good behavior for… i don’t know… the reasons of just being a good kid? I’m soo not into the elf.

  2. I despise it for the same reasons you do. My kids were already too old for it by the time it became a thing, thank God…but it’s the daily Facebook postings by the parents who DO do it that make it so effing insipid. I don’t want my newsfeed clogged up with pictures of your weird little plastic elf doing whatever thing you think is cute you made it do. Your kids care; save it for them. Sorry for the rant.

    • No apologies necessary, this is a place welcome to rants about stupid little plastic toys! I saw another friend “giving in” to doing it earlier this week. I’m thinking, giving in to who? Is her kid asking to be watched by the creepy little toy? I think she’s giving in to all the other facebookers who are posting non-stop, I want to write “break the trend! Don’t give in! Be imaginative and positive!” Instead I’ll just hide her.

  3. I agree that the elf tradition can get out of hand. Using it as a scare tactic, posting on facebook/instagram about it incessantly, etc. But I think that it can be just a fun thing to do with your kids. When I was nannying the kids LOVED waking up and trying to find the elf. One lady I know posts some of her ideas and they’re really quite funny/creative to me. My nieces and nephew had a blast building traps and setting up a video camera to try to”catch” the elf moving at night. If you’re not a crazy person about it, I think it’s just a fun, imaginative thing to do with your kids around Christmas time.

    • It totally comes down to the intent. If it’s something you know your kids will go crazy for and it’s something really positive I think that’s cool. It crosses a line of narcissism when it becomes all someone posts to facebook and instagram. Good on the people who can make their kids really happy with this as a tradition!

  4. Nobody on my Facebook does this, thank goodness. That elf is creepy. Matt and I have a stuffed alligator that we hide for each other in funny places. Shh…right now he’s in the dish washer! It’s a joke between the two of us and doesn’t have the same “oooh! look at me!” factor that posting about a naughty elf does.

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