Is the Elf on the Shelf cute or just creepy?
via Wikimedia Commons

Is the Elf on the Shelf cute or just creepy?

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The "Elf on the Shelf" tradition is based on a 2004 book about an elf sent by Santa to monitor kids' behavior at Christmas time. Many parents see the Elf as a creative and fun Christmas ritual; others deride it a manufactured, marketed holiday tradition, plus one more annoying obligation for parents at the holidays. Some argue that a watching elf sends a messed-up message to kids about surveillance and privacy. Is the Elf on the Shelf a great tradition or just creepy? 🎄😱

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#OverElfOnTheShelf

The idea of an elf sent by Santa to monitor children's behavior creeps a lot of people out. And a doll that changes places at night sounds straight out of a horror movie. Who needs Chucky on the shelf?

Kate Tuttle says it's all a marketing gimmick—as if the holidays haven't been commercialized enough.

It's a doll that parents place around the house during run-up to Christmas. Parents warn their kids that the Elf is watching them to be sure they're being good. It's massively popular, with annual sales of $10 million and an expanding product line that now includes several versions of the Elf doll, plus book and DVD. And I detest it.
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But aren't all traditions made up? Some people love the Elf on the Shelf because he affords endless creative opportunities. If kids and parents are having fun with it, what's the harm?

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Many parents think the holidays are overwhelming enough without the pressure to come up with clever ideas for the Elf every night.

Other families get really into it, and consider the Elf one of their favorite traditions.

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