WITH Christmas almost upon us, I have been feeling very amused by a new tradition that has sprung up, seemingly out of nowhere, in the last few years – Elf on the Shelf. 

It felt like one Christmas recently, Facebook was suddenly awash with this impish wee guy getting up to all sorts. 

The parents I know seemed to be competing with each other to see who could place the eponymous elf, hardly ever on a shelf despite what his name suggests, in ever more outlandish and somewhat surreal predicaments. 
As this practice continues to grow, things are becoming strange.

In the last week or so I’ve seen a bath entirely filled with hot chocolate with the elf holding up a sign declaring that he’d made “enough for everyone” and a kitchen floor covered in cereal with the elf standing in the middle of the mess with a hand over his mouth as if pretending to be shocked by his own actions.

He seems like a very inconsiderate, troublesome figure. 

One I would not like to invite into my home. 

If you’re curious as to how this became a new tradition or if you’re completely unfamiliar with Elf on the Shelf, here’s a summary. 

From what I understand, it’s based on a book which came out in 2005.

Parents “adopt” the elf from the North Pole. 

He’s not a normal elf, you see, he doesn’t make toys or anything like that, he’s a “scout” elf and about 12 inches tall. 

His job is to spy on the child, to see if they’ve been good or not, and report his findings back to Santa each night. 

Each morning, children are to look for him to see what he’s been up to while they’ve been 

Not only is the elf destructive and inconsiderate, but he also has a thirst for chaos. 

He is though, worst of all, a grass. Santa, I was led to believe as a child, is omnipotent. 

He can see what you’re up to at all times and has a direct line to your parents. 

He is a tyrant and now he has these minions, these horrible little goblin men, doing his bidding for him. 

He must be stopped. 

Elf on the Shelf is like having a member of the Secret Police of the North Pole dictatorship in your home. 

I’m joking, of course. I don’t have any strong feelings for or against the wee guy. 

Anything that gets weans excited for Christmas and gets them to have a laugh with their parents and guardians is a good thing in my book. 

I am looking forward to seeing the direction this new tradition is heading in. 

There are only so many ideas people can come up with for placing the elf in funny predicaments so they’re having to get more and more creative. 

If you start Elf on the Shelf on December 1 and run with it through to Christmas, you’ll have to come up with 25 situations to place him in. That takes a lot of creativity. 

It’s something even I, with my brain filled with infinite amounts of nonsense, would struggle with. 

It has almost become like some kind of surrealist art movement. I enjoyed Googling “Elf on the Shelf ideas” to help me write this. 

I came across someone who had taken the bones of a roast chicken and assembled them to look like an elf skeleton. 

They then left it lying on the floor with his wee hat sitting atop his greasy, discoloured, remains. 

It was the kind of thing which could traumatise a child but was, to me anyway, quite funny. Someone else, clearly having run out of enthusiasm for the whole thing, put their elf under a glass with a sign on it reading “self-isolating until Christmas Day”. 

It would have blown my mind as a wee guy to have to face an elf every morning. 

I don’t like elves and gnomes and fairies and all that kind of thing, I think there’s something sinister about them. 

Something malevolent. 

I thought for a period of time there was an army of tiny men living in the walls of my bedroom when I was younger who would watch me sleep. 
I don’t know how they would have done this or where I got the idea from, but I was sure they were pouring some kind of nightmare potion into my ears to make me have bad dreams. 

If my maw was to do Elf on the Shelf for me back then, I have no doubt I would have tried to kill the thing.

I am however quite keen to get in on the act when I have children of my own. 

I’m sure they won’t be as strange as me so I’m sure it’ll be fine.