For I while, I had been hearing about Elf on the Shelf. It seemed to be an American story book, that came with an elf doll, and seemed to be brilliant for two great reasons:
- The parents hide the elf doll every night so it looks like it's moved by magic (on its way back from visiting Father Christmas), increasing magical anticipation of Christmas
- The elf reports on naughty behaviour to Father Christmas, hence derailing some bad behaviour on the way.
As we are firmly in the terrible twos, anything that could stop a tantrum sounded like a good idea. And as I had a (very quick) trip to New York for work in diary, I thought I'd pick up an Elf-based present for the toddler.
Once home from the Big Apple, we opened the box with excitement, and the toddler loved reading the book... which actually is quite horrible. It seems our elf is a nasty little snitch who is watching the toddler all day and passing back any minor misdemeanor to Santa. Santa gets "sad" if you do anything wrong.
Worst of all, apparently the elf will be reporting to Father Christmas whether or not you have been "saying your prayers". Vom. We skipped that bit when we read it to her.
Seeing as we were even in two minds about whether or not to tell her about Father Christmas (as atheists, the idea of lying to a child about an omnipotent being that judges her behaviour, felt hypocritical). We decided to allow it because we are weak and want to have some hold over her behaviour. Next week, we might become fundamentalist Mormons.
Anyway, our elf is just hiding around the house, and it has to be a force 9 tantrum before we suggest that the elf will be snitching.
In the meantime, here is Scout the elf, taking a shit in the toddler's advent calendar.