The recent introduction of “The Elf on the Shelf” ramps up Christmas hype. The simple doll that parents hide each night reminds children, “The Elf is watching and reporting to Santa.” Many parents develop scenarios, such as The Elf drinking cocoa, sitting with his feet hanging over the sink or toasting a marshmallow over a battery operated flame light. Young school children talk about their personal elf’s shenanigans

Well, some talk about it. Children whose parents who have not purchased The Elf and accompanying book hear all about him from their friends and wonder ‘why’ they do not have an elf. Therein lies the conundrum for parents: go with the flow, buy an elf and begin a nightly ritual of moving him around the house, or simply refuse to add one more thing to do in December.

One mother posted on Facebook, “I thought The Elf was passė, but maybe I’m just unaware. The children said they are the ONLY ones in their class who don’t have an elf. I want my kids to know they get gifts from us because we love them. I don’t have time to babysit an elf. I am not standing in judgment if you do the elf or Santa stuff, I’m just curious, really. Mostly I am trying to gauge the accuracy of my girls’ statements.”

Parents logged in from every viewpoint.

Parents who hide The Elf:

“We do the Elf because we thoroughly enjoy being silly with it. We don’t do anything complex. We forget sometimes, but it’s fun.”

“My kids love it. My oldest knows it’s fake. They think it’s fun to look for it every morning. Even if you explain its fake, it’s still a fun game for them to find it doing something crazy.”

Tried and failed:

“Last year I had the elf bring an act of service for the kids to try to accomplish each day. I forgot to change it out most days. This year he is somewhere in our storage unit.”

After five years of the Elf, the 8 year old caught his mother moving the Elf. “He was heart broken. He came running into the kitchen crying, ‘Tiny is a fake?’ I felt as though I had failed as a parent. It made me rethink things like Santa and the Tooth Fairy, which my parents did. I don’t recall feeling betrayed when I realized my dad dressed up as Santa or my mom put the quarter under my pillow, but the look on my babys face when he asked ‘why I had been lying all that time.’ Whew.”

Do not have an Elf:

“Everyone I know that has one is sorry they ever started it.”

“It looks fun but I don’t like the concept of it.”

“I think it’s okay for them to learn to be different and it starts in small ways.”

“We don’t do Elf or Santa for the same reasons you stated.”

“I honestly don’t have time to add that to the holidays.”

Compromised to emphasize the birth of Christ:

“One year the Elf brought a new nativity figure every morning until we had the whole scene. It was a fun way to talk about the Christmas Story.”

“We do Shepherd’s Treasure. It’s the same concept except the Shepherd is searching for Jesus. There is a different verse everyday. He does positive things to teach them how to search for Jesus all their lives and encourages them to serve through the season.”

So, not everyone has an Elf on the Shelf, and those who don’t are quite content to leave it that way.