With teenagers, a husband, two dogs and a cat who I swear is related to Cato from the Pink Panther, gone are the days of all those crazy Christmas rituals leading up to the big day!

No more;

  • pressurised toy shopping on Black Friday
  • having to gem up on the top best-selling toys to avoid disappointment on the big day
  • trying to understand a chocolate advent calendar can neither be shared nor resisted by little people or having to listen to endless arguments over who ate what when and in which room!
  • having to watch the annual Christmas play with the same precocious children playing the lead parts, their pushy parents looking smug bagging front row seats from camping out like shoppers in preparation to attend a Next sale
  • having to hide the handmade Christmas decorations brought home from school on the back of the tree 
  • remembering the items for ‘the tray’ and making sure it was put out for FC on Christmas eve
  • making flour footprints from the presents all the way out onto the decking courtesy of my husband’s trainers in the wee small hours of the day itself!
  • remembering to take bites out of both the carrot and mince pies and to down the brandy in one (perk of the job!)
  • using Santa constantly as a good behaviour initiative laboring his bionic eyesight and listening skills during the month of every December

With the introduction of ‘Elf on the Shelf’, in a way, I feel relieved for not being at that parenting pressure point stage where you are expected to take on board the latest trend and not only see it through, but become an expert dedicating an enormous amount of time being ultra-creative!.

On hearing many views and much noise about the Elf who comes to stay at Christmas, feeling curious I may be missing out, I decided to find out more.

The first thing I wanted to find out was who exactly is the Elf on a shelf?

Answer; Allegedly it is a whole army of Elves who are sent directly from the North Pole to help Santa Claus manage his naughty and nice lists.

(An Elf can be found on eBay for £6.99 or Amazon Prime for a pair of them at £12.99)

Note; when an Elf arrives, at the point when it is given a name, this will trigger off its magical powers, allowing it to fly to and from the North Pole nightly to give Father Christmas the low down about what’s been going on.

After filling Santa in on all the gossip, the Elf will return, but always to a different place where it can continue its quest of monitoring, watching and generally being a nosey parker!

Its daily disappearing and reappearing act is supposed to encourage any small people within the household (Not Dennis Wise!) on waking up each day during these dark mornings before nursery or school to race around and locate it. 

There are two fundamental rules that need to be acknowledged and shared with other members of the household who are participating in this ritual to ensure a complete understanding is gained and appreciation is shown to the seriousness of the situation.

  • An Elf cannot be touched!

Christmas magic is not to be messed with, especially as due to the millions of Elves all over the world, each are only given a small supply of magic, so if the Elf is touched, it may lose all its magical powers which will stop it from being able to report back to Santa and have time out trips back to the North Pole.

The Elf then becomes redundant and literally then remains on the shelf!

Note; It has been reported some have become seriously depressed, have never worked again, are on antidepressants and it is rumoured have even appeared on the Jeremy Kyle Show!

  • An Elf cannot speak or move whilst anyone within the house is awake! 

Just based on these facts alone, the big question has to be is it a good thing to have an Elf or any Christmas related character basically spying on your children and reporting on their behaviour back to the big FC himself?

Should we use gimmicks to try to control our child’s behaviour or make them act in a more socially acceptable manner, when potentially it could worst case scenario lead to trust issues in later life and potentially haunting and reoccurring memories of the disappointment felt on discovering your creative talents were solely responsible to all their Elf’s antics and horror of horrors that the Elf isn’t either magical or even real!

I must admit, as much as I appreciate the above, having pondered on the negatives, show me one parent on this earth who hasn’t bribed their child with the 'being good for Santa' line?

Who will admit being guilty when faced with a naughty nipper in pretending their phone has become the hotline to Santa, whilst you chatter animatedly away to nothing more than a dialling tone, whilst taking great delight in telling Santa how sorry you are to hear he won’t be coming this year and all because Thomas has been a little shit!

I always used blackmail whether it be Father Christmas, the Easter Bunny or absolutely anyone I could introduce into the moral teachings or be able to throw these emotional curve balls at my brood along the way!

On reflection it probably wasn’t very appropriate to them if they ever lied, their ears would fall off in the night!  To then purchase a pair of ears from the joke shop was probably going a bit too far! 

However, I do think people take this all too seriously! 

Unlike an Elf, children are not just for Christmas!  They need constant guidance and seem to respond more positively when conveyed through the power of using someone or something they can relate to. 

Telling your son Spiderman has called and advised he is no longer free to show him how to shoot some webs due to bad behaviour or your daughter that Harry Potter has called to see if she will audition for the part of a mandrake, as one is currently poorly cannot be that bad, surely?

I believe they need imaginative incentives to provide them with structured goals all year round!

But if anything, this Christmas trend appears to be more ‘unelfy’ for the adults! 

For the ones who have bought into this concept, becoming all too consumed in the planning and preparation stages, coming up with more elaborate places to place the Elf, on anything but a shelf!

What are these crazy people doing?

As if Christmas wasn’t exhausting and time consuming enough to add an extra stress in having to outdo each other in our great British tradition and weakness of 'keeping up with the Joneses' or in this case with the Elves!