Elf on the Shelf – Creepy or Cool?

Elf on the Shelf Creepy or Cool momspark.net

A couple of days ago, my good friend Haley Shivers explained the story behind the “Elf on the Shelf” fad to me.

If you are in the dark (like I was, apparently), “Elf on the Shelf” is a book for children that includes a retro-inspired elf doll (available in various eye and skin colors) who is essentially a spy for Santa Claus. The elf makes sure your children are behaving and reports such behavior back to Santa Claus. The parent moves the elf each night to a different location because, you know, HE IS REAL AND WATCHING YOU.

I seriously thought the elves were just fun toys to photograph in hilarious situations.

I even wanted one this year to join in on the fun fest.

After taking a moment to grasp the concept, I found it a bit creepy. Actually, a lot creepy. Of course, this may be from the fact that we do not celebrate Santa Claus in my home, but even still, it’s creepy, no? From a discussion I had on the this topic on Facebook, I am not alone, either.

BUT, I heard about something amazing in that same Facebook discussion. Something that made Elf on the Shelf SO not creepy and even a bit cool. Something that made me totally order an elf on Amazon right then.

This. InappropriateElfPrizes131

Yes. A contest for inappropriate elves. Also? There are prizes for the winners. THIS makes Elf on the Shelf okay for me. Learn more about the contest by visiting Baby Rabies.

So, what are your thoughts? Do you participate in Elf on the Shelf with your kiddos or are you more of an “inappropriate elf” user?

disclosure: this post contains one Amazon affiliate link


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Amy Bellgardt

AMY BELLGARDT is a wife and mom of two boys, as well as founder and lead blogger at Mom Spark. Amy also manages Mom Spark Media, a social media marketing firm, as well as a thriving essential oil business.

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25 Responses to “Elf on the Shelf – Creepy or Cool?”

  1. #
    Laura — November 14, 2012 at 11:01 am

    We have not tried the Elf on the Shelf. It took me a long time to understand what it was. I would love to do this with my kids..I know my 4 year old would love it. Having the inapproiate elf is hilarious, but I probaby wouldn’t do that.


    • Mom Spark replied: — November 14th, 2012 @ 11:04 am

      Yeah, the inappropriate aspect is for PG-13 audiences only.


      • Laura replied: — November 14th, 2012 @ 11:16 am

        Cool :) I’m sure it’s hilarious and will check it out!

  2. #
    Cat Davis — November 14, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Our kids adore the Elf on the Shelf, which to them is a game. They know he’s not real but it’s still fun. What’s kind of creepy to me is to see a children’s toy turned into disgusting adult humor.


    • Mom Spark replied: — November 14th, 2012 @ 11:07 am

      Are you referring to the contest?


  3. #
    Pam — November 14, 2012 at 11:18 am

    i want the elf on the shelf more for me than my kids. my kids are teens, and they’d probably like the elf considering we look at it a lot while we are in barnes & noble. and while i’m all for the inappropriate elf, i wouldn’t use this particular one if i entered the contest. plus, i don’t have this elf or any elves at the moment anyways lol


  4. #
    Jill @BabyRabies — November 14, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    I do both in our house. I move “Jake” every night for my son, and he loves it. It’s fun for him, but the Inappropriate Elf idea came from my sarcastic side. And that is probably even more fun for ME. Thanks for the shout out!


    • Amy replied: — November 15th, 2012 @ 9:22 am

      No problem! ;)


  5. #
    Andrea — November 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    I would totally do this so I could be inappropriate;-)


    • Mom Spark replied: — November 14th, 2012 @ 8:15 pm

      I insist.


  6. #
    Elaine Griffin — November 18, 2012 at 6:30 am

    We love to do Elf on the Shelf. It’s fun and silly and magical! I’m totally going to participate in some sort of inappropriate elf behavior, though. I think there are a couple of websites for shaming.


  7. #
    Ellie Augustin — November 23, 2012 at 11:11 am

    We Love our Elf . She 1st visited last year and actually this Morning was her return back. I love to hear the fun giggles from my kids & for us it’s not about OH she’s watching us but a new little friend with messages and small treats. Not creepy at all. I love the memories that are created and if I can grab on to a bit more of innocence in my kids by doing it then why not. Times flies and I want to be able to enjoy their childhood as much as possible with them. :)


  8. #
    Robyn Wright of Robyn's Online World — November 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    He is CREEPY CREEPY CREEPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It freaks me out!!!!


    • Mom Spark replied: — November 23rd, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

      *high five*


  9. #
    Emilie — November 23, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I pondered this two years ago and wrote about it. We decided then not to participate and still don’t. http://www.babylovingmama.com/2010/11/help-i-need-your-opinion-on-the-elf-on-the-shelf-a-new-christmas-tradition.html

    If I was going to do it, I’d go with an Elf Magic tradition instead. A lot less creepy in my opinion. http://www.babylovingmama.com/2010/11/goodbye-elf-on-a-shelf-hello-elf-magic.html


    • Mom Spark replied: — November 23rd, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

      Awesome, Emilie. I’ll check out your article!


  10. #
    Karen — November 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Fifty years ago (sigh) my mother did Elf on a Shelf with my siblings and I every Christmas. We loved it…it added to the excitement of the holiday, much in the same way that some people use advent calendars with little gifts in them. We didn’t find it creepy at all…but then again I remember our elf as looking a lot more friendly than the one packaged with the new book. (But then again, forty-fifty years ago, we didn’t have the weird movies where dolls come to life and kill people, either.) When my son was born, nearly 19 years ago, I continued the tradition with him. It was always fun to guess where the elf would show up…and imagine the horror when mom forgot to move him and he still sat in the same spot the following day. (smile) That ranked up there with the tooth fairy being so busy she couldn’t make it to the pillow until the second night.


    • Karen replied: — November 23rd, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

      Believe me…I wish I thought to write that book a few years ago. But I guess I thought this was a tradition most people did anyway. What did I know?


  11. #
    Sally G — November 23, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    more creepy than fun; I get it that some families could keep the fun in it, especially if the elf became an ally of the child in leaving little treats, child telling elf what he/she would like for Christmas (though if those communications were done in private, the message might not get through; something to consider there). But as it was describe to me, as a snitch for Santa, totally bad news.
    (Never heard about the EotS until last year; never had it at my house as a child. However, my parents made my stuffed animals so real to me that I still make sure that animals I buy can breathe on their way home from the store (packed 3 into a grocery bag for a customer at a rummage sale that I worked recently, you can be sure they all had air!), so the creepy aspect could get too real for health pretty easily.)


  12. #
    Teri H — November 24, 2012 at 9:44 am

    This is so so like my life in fast forward…..
    Though my kids are young and we keep things E {for everyone} around them, my husband and I find humor in the creepy. So have to go all Elf on the Shelf inappropriate this year. {yes, it will be behind the curtain not for children’s eyes – geez!}


    • Mom Spark replied: — November 24th, 2012 @ 9:46 am

      You are awesome. :)


  13. #
    Stephanie — November 25, 2012 at 5:37 am

    Sooo, the Elf is creepy until it is made sleazy???????????? Wow, you have some cleaning to do.


  14. #
    Kim — November 25, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    My mom did EOTS every Christmas season when my siblings & I were little (50ish years ago!) and I continued the tradition when my boys were little (they are almost 30 now). We always looked forward to it and never once thought of it as creepy. Now we do it for our grandkids and they LOVE it! If they ever disappeared from our house we’d have some very disappointed kids :(


  15. #
    Julie — June 22, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    You should check out The Pajama Elves by Hayden Edwards. It is the story of elves at the North Pole who sew magical pajamas that help children sleep on Christmas Eve, so Santa can visit unnoticed. Another fun Christmas tradition for families!



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